November 15, 2010

Visiting the Brookes' Memorial in Sheepstor (2)

Articles about St. Leonard's Church at Sheepstor have appeared in Sarawak newspapers and in Sarawakian blogs because of its connection with the White Rajahs of Sarawak.

My own visits to this church have been very fruitful. Each visit always gives me a great sense of wonder and marvel.

I hope these photos may help you in your curiosity and perhaps fan some more interest in the history of Sarawak.

At the back of the church is this copper plate which introduces the Brookes of Sarawak.

This is a beautiful stained glass church window.

Tim MacDonald the Senior Warden of the Church showed us around the inside of the church. Because it was an organised tour (Mrs. Janet Tomlinson liaised with Tim) we were given a lovely tea. I suppose the church members were a little taken by surprise that there were two of us from Sarawak - and both of us were able to speak English. However it was certainly very hospitable of Mike Williams to speak a few words with us in Bahasa Malaysia. Mike had worked in Kuching for three years.

The interior of the church is a great example of splendid interior Church decoration: carved wood and great wooden beams and granite stone masonry. The church windows have been dedicated by loved ones in memory of their dearly departed. These are good examples of social norms of the Victorian days.

Pipe organ in the front part...I don't think there are many of these around now in England.

Here is a bust of James Brooke. Mrs. Williams a really dear lady who used to be in Sibu stands beside James Booke. The smiles are quite similar. Mrs.Williams actually came from Burma. She has been living in Cornwall which is her husband's birthplace.

Here's a lovely cushion with pua kumbu design in one of the pews.

Mr. Wiltshire and Mr. Johnson explaining to Mrs. Dennis Capes that they taught Dato Seri James Jemut who present this pua kumbu to the church.

Exchanges with Michael Williams at the back of the church. the pews are all hand carved . Each pew has cushions which are hand made and embroidered.

This is the older Brooke coat of arm with the badger above the crown. The colours of the crest are different too. Dum spero spiro is the motto of the Brookes as well as many other families and states e.g."As long as I breathe I hope". It is Latin.

This is the newer Brooke's Coat of Arms. See the badger above the crest .

I hope you like these few photos. Going there with my friend Pauline a second time and with my friends who were former missionaries and teachers in Sarawak has really been very impactful. When Pauline and I  went there the first time more ten years ago I did not know that I would have a second chance to visit this beautiful place.

Perhaps it is true for me : As long as I breathe there is hope.


Anonymous said...

"Brooke Coat of Arms. See the bear on top"

it is a badger !

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Anonymous...thanks for the correction!! Appreciate it...

Bengbeng said...

this is new to me. interesting. i had no idea abt this at all

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Bengbeng

May be it is because you are W.Malaysian and any way lots of Malaysians do not know much about the Rajah Brooke history of Sarawak. In schools most teachers teach history from the Second World War....

God bless.

Daniel Yiek said...

nice Sarawak touch with the pua kumbu!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yes the Church has tried its best to put some Sarawak touches in its interior decor. With a good tour guide like Mike people will appreciate the history here more.

vivienateng said...


nice blog. was wondering is that Mrs Williams is another unknown Brooke relative from Burma?

best regards.

vivienateng said...


nice blog. was wondering is that Mrs Williams is another unknown Brooke relative from Burma?

best regards.

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