Dec 5, 2012

And While the Gingerbread Is Baking...

The joy of having the desk close to the kitchen is that I can get to the posts I wanted to write while doing some holiday baking! I've finished up several banana breads, three Cinnamon Streusel coffee breads and have the gingerbread well underway. Now that I'm feeling a bit accomplished, I thought it could be a good time to visit the Bristol Cathedral (as promised in my last posting). Instead of a smilebox slide show, I'm going to pick and chose some of the more interesting nooks and crannies and share photos that way. I'm not sure how the smilebox slides go over with those who may read these postings. Let me know in a comment what you think- slides or individual photos!?

So on to the cathedral:

Walking to the Cathedral Entrance

One of the first things one notices are the magnificent organ pipes

The stained glass windows throughout the Cathedral are simply beautiful

This is the Elder Lady Chapel- it is older than the main part of the Cathedral and holds the icon of St. Augustine and his companion St. Jordan of Bristol. It is also home to some very strange stone carvings.

Saints Augustine and Jordan

Those strange carvings I mentioned: look above the somewhat ordinary human head and you will see a monkey!
It seems the stone mason who did the carvings was fascinated with monkeys. Why he thought to carve them in a chapel is a mystery.

Yet another chapel within the Cathedral

The Eastern Lady Chapel. This chapel was started in 1298 and was an integral part of the design of the choir.
The Stained glass dates to the 14th century and the two candlesticks were gifts given in thanksgiving of the safe
return of the ships The Duke and The Duchess, 1712.

The badges (see photo above for a better view) on the reredos are badges of the Berkeleys and the Royal Arms of England. Prominent people from the life of the cathedral are buried in the star shaped niches. 

The Nave: This is a great pillared hall: the entire roof is the same height, and it is the only one of its kind in England. The alter of the Nave is the focus of worship on Sundays and on great occasions- the heart of Christian worship.
Carvings above the alter in the Nave

I was fascinated with this bit of science within the Cathedral. It is the St. Mary of Redcliffe Chaotic Pendulum.  Recycled water flows into the center of the cross beam which then tips to let it out. However, no one can predict exactly how it will move minute to minute. Thus: chaos.  The plaque notes:
"Knowledge will never provide certainty". 
As with most Cathedrals, tombs can be ornate. This is the tomb of John Newland (or Nailheart),
Abbot, 1481-1515.
"Here lyeth the bodies of Sir John Young Knight and Dame Ioane, his wife..."

Another of my favorite spaces within the walls of the cathedral, these are the "night stairs".
Generations of Monks would enter the abbey via these stairs for prayers. The monks prayed every 3 hours day and night!

The quilter in me fell in love with these needlepoint kneelers! These are just some we observed on our visit. They bear various coats of arms. There were also kneelers depicting biblical events. 

We were excited (and a bit surprised) to find one with the seal of New York State!

I hope you enjoyed this short tour of the Bristol Cathedral. I love old churches and couldn't have enjoyed my brief  time there more. With my next post we will leave Bristol behind and travel to Bath- a most glorious city and home of the Roman Baths. 

Oh yes, and in case you were wondering- the gingerbread turned out fabulously if I must say so myself- I had to taste test in between my photo loading! Until we next meet...


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