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Room with a pew: Businessman builds replica of Herefordshire church on 21st floor of Japanese skyscraper

Published by admin on October 24, 2009


Room with a pew: Businessman builds replica of Herefordshire church on 21st floor of Japanese skyscraper

It’s hard to imagine a more romantic place to marry than All Saints Church in the village of Brockhampton.

Nestling in the beautiful Herefordshire countryside, the arts and crafts style building looks like something from a fairytale, has wishbone arches in the chapel and is one of only a few thatched churches in Britain.

It certainly caught the eye of one Japanese tourist. In fact, the businessman was so swept away by its charms that he has built an extraordinarily detailed replica on the 21st and 22nd floors of a skyscraper hotel 6,000 miles away in the city of Osaka.

The multi-millionaire developer stumbled upon the 107 year old church near the market town of Ross-on-Wye accidentally after getting lost on a sight-seeing tour.

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Church on high: The replica chapel which has been built on the 21st floor of the Hotel Monterery in Osaka, Japan, after a Japanese property developer fell in love with the original in Brockhampton, Herefordshire

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Love at first sight: A couple tie the knot at the replica church (left) and the original 100-year-old All Saints church (right) which the Japanese businessman was so taken by

Western-style weddings have become increasingly popular in Japan since the 1980s and are considered more cheerful and fashionable than traditional Shinto ceremonies.

The replica All Saints built inside the Hotel Monterey Grasmere in Osaka is three-quarters of the size of the Grade-1 listed original but otherwise exactly the same as it (except for the setting, of course). The developers took measurements from the original on laser cameras to ensure the replica was perfect.

The Reverend Will Pridie, vicar of All Saints Church, said: ‘The replica looks stunning. The attention to detail is quite staggering.

‘Even the slightest imperfection and mark on the stone work has been reproduced.

‘The stained glass windows are all exactly the same and they’ve even built a scaled down bell tower with a bell which is rung on wedding days.’

Attention to detail: Every last aspect of the English church has been recreated at the Japanese copy, including the stained glass windows
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Rev Pridie was approached by Japanese developers European Connections Ltd after the group visited the church last August.

He said: ‘The developers said a group of Japanese tourists were visiting Britain and they stumbled across our church by mistake.

‘They were travelling through Herefordshire and, I don’t know if they got lost or not, but they happened to pass by the church.

‘One of the group was a developer and was so taken with the church he decided to build an exact replica in a development in Japan.

‘English-style weddings are apparently extremely popular in Japan and our church captured their imagination.

‘The Parochial Church Council agreed to have the church reproduced and the developers came armed with laser cameras and computers and examined the church inch by inch.

‘We are a very tiny village and congregation. I think everyone is just astonished that anyone would do such a thing, especially when you consider it is 21 floors up.’

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Arch rival: To recreate the three-quarter scale model developers used high-tech laser cameras to measure the iconic wishbone arches

Japanese couples can now get married in civil ceremonies in the replica church which even includes an exact copy of the church yard and railings which circle the original. It costs up to £8,000 to hire out for weddings compared to £400 in the original.

On the same floors as the reproduced church are photographic studios and restaurants along with a hotel and honeymoon suites.

The developers spent months trying to find the same type of stone to use for the replica church and eventually found a similar one at a quarry in Honshu island. The replica church, which can accommodate up to 60 guests, then took four months to build.

A spokesman for the hotel said: ‘It would have been too expensive to import the stone from England but the recreation is loyal to All Saints Church.

‘Young Japanese couples love themed weddings and the hot style at the moment is the traditional English church wedding. The ceremonies are civil but the registrar wears a dog-collar and confetti is thrown afterwards. The service is as authentic as possible.

‘The church has been block booked since it opened in July and we are already taking bookings for weddings up to the end of next year.’

Completed in 1902, All Saints Church in Brockhampton was built by renowned architect William Lethaby, a leading light in the arts and crafts movement. The architectural critic Sir Nikolaus Pevsner called it ‘one of the most convincing and most impressive churches of its date in any country.’  ( source: dailymail )

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