Our visit to Wells last May would not have been complete without a visit to the cathedral there. One of the many that we have not visited previously and a main reason for choosing to stay in England’s smallest city. Not that either of us is remotely religious, but we can’t help admire the craftsmanship that goes into these beautiful buildings, and even I can appreciate the peacefulness that can be found inside.
Master mason William Joy proposed the Scissor Arches (below) to prevent the collapse of a tower after a lead covered wooden spire was added in 1313. This proved to be too heavy for the foundations. Put in place between 1338 and 1348, they still stand today and are one of the most magnificent architectural features of Wells Cathedral.
The Scissor Arches
The Scissor Arches
The Scissor Arches
The ‘new’ church which was to become the cathedral of the Bishop of Bath & Wells was the first to be built in the Early English Gothic style, during 1175 – c. 1250. It was built on a new site to the north of an old minster church. Over the following three hundred years there was extension and revision, in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles in turn, as architectural fashion dictated.
corbel of the dragon-slaying monk in the chapter house stair.
keep this way…
Clock and figure of Christ risen from the dead is carved in yew by E J Clack and placed here in 1956.
The famous Wells clock is considered to be the second oldest clock mechanism in Britain, and probably in the world, to survive in original condition and still in use. The original works were made about 1390 and the clock face is the oldest surviving original of its kind anywhere. When the clock strikes every quarter, jousting knights rush round above the clock and the Quarter Jack bangs the quarter hours with his heels.
With its intricately painted interior dial depicting the Earth surrounded by the sun, moon and stars, it’s unique in showing a geocentric worldview – when the clock was created in 1390, most people still believed that the Earth was at the centre of the Universe.
Lincoln Cathedral: Choir Screen was written in February 2017 – one of several posts about this lovely cathedral which we visited in 2016 on a road journey up the east coast of England culminating in Scotland.
The †13C limestone choir screen is a marvellous example of decorated Gothic architecture with pinnacles and arches with tiny carved animal heads.
The walls of the screen are covered with carvings of leaves and flowers. Traces of red and blue paint can still be seen on them.
Carved head of a tongue-puller journeyman in his leather cap.
I only wish I lived closer as I could spend many an hour focussing on the details of this screen.
This post is a contribution to Fandango’s Flashback Friday. Have you got a post you wrote in the past on this particular day? The world might be glad to see it – either for the first time – or again if they’re long-time loyal readers.
The new January Squares challenge, hosted as ever by Becky, the Queen of Squares, is all about ____light. In this often dull month light of any kind is what we all need to lift our spirits as we wait impatiently for spring to begin. Click on the link to find out more.
A votive candle or prayer candle is a small candle, typically white or beeswax yellow, intended to be burnt as a votive offering in an act of Christian prayer, especially within the Anglican, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic Christian denominations, among others The size of a votive candle is often two inches tall by one and a half inches diameter though tealights are commonly used.
candlelight (noun) = dim light provided by a candle or candles.
After two lovely sunny days in Lincoln we were ready to carry on northwards. Instead of heading for the A1 immediately we decided to drive through the Lincolnshire countryside via Gainsborough and Bawtry and get onto the A1 near Doncaster. A lot of this region is familiar to me as I grew up in Retford (Notts), Scunthorpe (Lincs) and then moved to Doncaster (S. Yorks) on my return from South Africa. I still managed to get confused on the outskirts of Doncaster though as many of the road routes have altered since I was last there. And then we hit an accident on the A1 and were at a standstill for about an hour!
Eventually though we were about to hit Durham, another city that although I have passed by many times I have never actually visited. My intention was to find the park ‘n ride and bus into the city, but obviously my directional awareness was totally absent on this day as I couldn’t find the site and finished up almost in the city centre where more roadworks were taking place. Heading back out of the city we eventually found the right road (it is next to the A1 but not very well signed) and caught a bus back into the city. It was a very hot day and by the time we had walked up to the castle and cathedral area we were feeling very warm!
First stop was to get some lunch and relax! We saw a nice looking café on the Palace Green and found a table outside. After 10 minutes we moved inside to get out of the heat. Now bear in mind this was mid-September in the north-east of the country!
Durham Castle – opposite the cathedral
The story of the Dun Cow, as depicted in an eighteenth-century panel on the north facade of Durham Cathedral.
The Pemberton Building
You are not charged to enter the cathedral, though a donation is suggested, and you are not allowed to take photographs inside either, which was rather disappointing. I did see a few people surreptitiously taking a few shots with their phones and a couple who had cameras were approached, rather more gently than my Lincoln experience.
I did make a few notes and sketches though: Prior Castell’s clock – a highly decorative wooden clock; the shrine of St Cuthbert; huge pillars carved in a diamond or chevron pattern in the nave; coloured marble floors and a lectern stand with pink and green marble pillars and heraldic lions at the base. Inserts of patterned marble and bands adorn the upper columns. Shrines with traces of the medieval paint in red and blue… Lindisfarne Gospels
On entering the cloisters, where the monks would have once passed daily on their way to the Chapter House, the Monk’s Dormitory, Scriptorium, Refectory and Great Kitchen, I decided the photography rules no longer applied. The shadows on the stone slabs were far too tempting and how could I resist the flat wooden ceiling with shields at the intersections of each cross beam and the golden angels near the Chapter House.
More notes: Arched shadows form on the wide stone floor as the hot sun beams down on the cloisters. Wooden pews line the walls and marks in the stonework indicate that possibly a recess has been blocked up. Maybe where the monks stored their books? A pipistrelle bat flies down the passageways and surprises me – I have never seen one at this time of day before. Maybe the darkness in here confuses it into thinking it is dusk. Dust motes float in the air and I can almost imagine the slapping of the sandals of the monks from distant times in the all-pervading silence.
We exited the cloisters into a Memorial Garden which stands on the site of the Monastic buildings. A young lad sat peacefully on the bench studying his text book in the sunshine whilst we soaked in the colour and the beauty of the roses still flowering in September.
Brought back from Ypres in 1917 by Lieutenant H J W Scott 5th BN:DLI. Since then it has travelled with the Scott family from Essex to Surrey and to Cornwall. Presented to this garden of remembrance by his son Mr O T Scott. Planted on Remembrance Sunday 1978.
College Green is a quiet area on the south side of the cathedral, it has a very beautiful secluded village like quality to it, with the houses being the home to members of Durham’s Dean and Chapter. Many of the buildings surrounding the Green originated in the Middle Ages.
An arched gateway on the east side known historically as the Abbey Gates also called Prior Castell’s Gatehouse of 1495-1519 leads into the street called the Bailey. The gate is still locked each night. It has some delightful carvings on the ceiling.
The south western corner of the College is the home to the Durham Chorister School. This was originally established as a song school around 1390. Former pupils of this school have included the former Prime Minister Tony Blair and the actor, Rowan Atkinson most noted for his role in the BBC comedy Blackadder and as the comedy character Mr Bean.
The Abbey House
As usual, colourful doors and interesting windows caught my eye as we made our way back to the Palace Green where we could catch the cathedral bus back to the Park ‘n Ride stop.
For some inexplicable reason I failed to get a shot of the full west face of the cathedral (I have a vague recollection that there was scaffolding around some of it). To see some images of the cathedral then please visit this site.
These memorial crosses near the cathedral did manage to catch my eye. I was particularly drawn to the rather arts and crafts style of carving on the larger cross.
IF YOU ENJOY A WALK, LONG OR SHORT, THEN HAVE A LOOK AT JO’S SITE WHERE YOU ARE WELCOME TO JOIN IN WITH HER MONDAY WALKS.
There’s a lot of stained-glass in Lincoln cathedral. Many different dates and styles from medieval (†13C) to the mid-nineteenth century. The nave is lit by intense colours from the mainly mid-nineteenth century windows such as these memorial windows.
Several different studios made the windows on the south side of the nave, which explains the variations in style. The windows in the Chapter House were all by one studio, Clayton & Bell, to give a more cohesive look.
Boole is a name that I am very familiar with and not in a good way! It was George Boole who devised the Boolean Logic system, based on the idea that a thing cannot simultaneously have a set of properties and not have them. The power in an electronic circuit is either on or off. Sounds pretty simple. Boole converted this concept into abstract symbols to help solve complex problems. In the Boolean system ‘true’ or ‘on’ is represented by 1 and ‘false’ or ‘off is 0. Known as Boolean Gates. His ideas laid the foundation of mathematical logic and provided the theoretical underpinning for all modern computer logic.
So why do I dislike Boole? Because part of my computer degree was in mathematics, more precisely, Boolean Algebra. Not only did I find it impossible to understand, it almost caused me to fail my first year math’s exam! But I did seek out his memorial window.
At the crossing you find the Dean’s Eye to the north which contains some original pieces depicting the Last Judgment. This window survives from the time of Hugh of Avalon’s re-building between 1192 and 1235.
To the south is the Bishop’s Eye filled with a kaleidoscope of ancient glass. It was most likely rebuilt circa 1325–1350 after the completion of the Minster and shows the beginning of the decorated style with the flowing tracery representing leaves – a unique pattern.
The impressive West Window is from 1859 and contains Old Testament kings and prophets. (Augustus and Frederick Sutton)
The Great East Window was only the second nineteenth century window to be installed in the cathedral and subject of a great debate. Such is its size that it is not possible to photograph it without tilting the camera upwards – hence the peculiar angle.
The nearby Service Chapels allow a contrasting glimpse of modernism on stained glass in the twentieth century.
Memorial to a Rhodesian Airman
And in the Chapter House an oculus showing ‘The Council at Jerusalem, surrounded by various other scenes from The Acts of the Apostles’. In memory of Jacob Clements, (1820-98) sometime SubDean at the Cathedral. (Clayton & Bell).
And another window in the Chapter House depicts the 12th century cathedral burning (Clayton & Bell 1874)
Moses prays before the bush which burns but is not consumed (Augustus and Frederick Sutton, 1860)
So many scenes catch my eye, and the colours are incredible.
Below, Dean Kaye escorts John Wesley on his last visit to Lincoln Cathedral in 1799 (Clayton & Bell 1909) in the Chapter House.
Familiar Old Testament and New Testament scenes are depicted. My eyes are drawn to the different styles, the stylised flowers, the geometric shapes and patterns.
Scene from the Uppleby memorial window
And finally I have a question for you, the viewer. I’m not entirely happy with showing the full length of the windows, because they are narrow and not very easy to see, which is why I select portions to enlarge. However I do realise that it is nice to see the whole window as then you get a sense of the patterns and tone. So I would be grateful for any feedback you can give me on this subject. In future should I just select samples of the windows so you get a better view, or not?