St. Augustine’s Chair, Canterbury Cathedral
Just testing the photo posting, it wasn’t working for me before but I searched around the help forums and there it was! I was using the page url not the photo url. Doh! I’m still finding my way around WordPress.
Shrine of Thomas Beckett
Canterbury Cathedral is a beautiful cathedral, one of the loveliest I’ve been to even without the Thomas a Beckett connection. If you’ve read Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, you may remember that near the end of the book, he takes Prior Philip to Canterbury to meet with Beckett and Philip ends up witnessing the murder in the cathedral. Now I’ve seen the cathedral and the spot where the murder happened, it makes it all the more vivid. The shrine, left, is modern and is just to the left of the quire and down a few steps near the entrance to the crypt.
There used to be a large shrine up in the quire and pilgrims would stream to it, but Henry VIII had that torn apart in the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s. (My other main interest is history, especially British and the Tudor era in particular)
The other memory this photo evokes is that it was during the trip I made to London in 2008, when my mother traveled to England for her first ever visit. She wasn’t sure at first she wanted to go and didn’t think there would be all that much that would interest her. I lent her a guide book and she came back to me with a list as long as my arm! We saw a couple of shows, did some shopping, and though she didn’t think she would find churches or cathedrals interesting, I insisted that she see St. Paul’s in London. She was duly amazed.
Canterbury Catherdal nave
We also booked a day tour with a tour company that stopped at Leeds Castle because that was on her list, to see a castle and another stop was in Canterbury. When she walked into this medieval cathedral with the vaulted arches soaring above her, her jaw dropped. She talks about it to this day and I think this was the highlight of her trip.
My mother will probably never go overseas again but we made some wonderful memories.
I love cathedrals. My first proper medieval one was Salisbury though I had seen St. Paul’s first. Salisbury is lovely but I think Canterbury tops it and another of my favourites is the old cathedral, St. Mungo’s in Glasgow. It’s smaller, square, dark and kind of gloomy inside (maybe that’s because both visits were on rainy days) but for some reason, I felt very comfortable in it and really loved the atmosphere.
The basilicas and cathedrals in Rome and elsewhere in Italy are quite something to see, many are gloriously grandiose, many others are more sparse. Montreal’s Notre Dame is a blue glow! Most of the cathedrals and basilicas I’ve seen are in the U.K. or in Italy for the most part and I prefer the older ones, rather than those built in the last 100 to 150 years. It’s amazing how each one seems to have it’s own personality and ambience. I can’t say I haven’t met a cathedral that I haven’t liked because I have been in a small number that left me cold but mostly they are one of my favourite things to visit where time permits, mainly for the art and architecture as I’m not particularly religious.
We’re visiting Rome in a month or so and I look forward to seeing some. In Rome there’s a danger of over-churching ourselves so we’ll have to pick and choose, aside from St. Peter’s of course. That’s a must-see since my partner has never been to Rome before. Stay tuned!