A great weather weekend in the fall calls for a road trip, or train trip, as it might be, since we own no cars here in London to take out on the road. We headed out early on Saturday to see the town of Salisbury with its famous medieval cathedral, known for having the tallest spire in all of Britain.
The town of Salisbury was delightful with its half timbered Tudor houses
medieval gates, Georgian mansions and Victorian villas.
Taking our guided city walk, we came across the smaller parish church of St. Thomas built for the cathedral workmen in 1219, and named for Sir Thomas Becket.
We stumbled upon a market cross built in the 15th century that sheltered the Poultry Market.
But in this century, Paddington quickly followed his keen nose to the homemade do-nut stand in the modern market where we all got a treat,
and then shopped the vendors, stopping to buy fabric from this nice man for a couple of tablecloths.
Approaching the cathedral, we passed the Matron's College which was built as a home for the widows of the clergy.
The cathedral of Salisbury was amazingly built in just 38 years, from 1220-1258. Famous for many reasons, including having the oldest mechanical clock, having the finest of only 4 surviving copies of the Magna Carta,
and the largest, and what some consider the most beautiful, Cathedral Close in Britain that is surrounded by beautiful houses, all unique in style.
It is the seat of a bishop, who is seen here exiting the cathedral that day after an ordination of new deacons.
Once inside we marveled at the Early Gothic structure
and paused at this model long enough to wonder what it must have been like to live during those days and
give your heart and soul to building such a magnificent edifice. Have you read Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth? It's a fictional account of the building of a cathedral in the Middle Ages very much like Salisbury, and ranks as one of his best novels. I highly recommend it. You might remember hearing about it as one of Oprah's picks a few years back.
We loved the beauty and clarity of the stained glass,
the colors and light of the ceiling and arches,
the actual seat of the bishop,
and seeing effigies like these
and this one of John, Lord Cheney, a Knight of the Bath who was a giant of a man, 7 feet tall, who died in 1499.
We admired the Audley Chapel, where prayers were offered for his soul
then strolled outside to view the cloisters, the largest of any cathedral in Britain.
I hope someday you get to see the earliest surviving complete choir stalls (circa 1236)
like we did, and gaze at the carvings of little musical angels that we found.
Speaking of musical angels, as we wrapped up our tour, the Cathedral Boys Choir began to practice. Made up of boys between the ages of 8-13, the young boys live and train at the school there at the cathedral. I recorded a bit of it, and I think you might enjoy hearing them as much as I did. What sweet music they make.