04 April, 2009

A visit to Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral
So next in our day was the enormous queue of traffic to get into Canterbury town center (multiple roundabouts following the line of the ancient city fortifications) we parked in one of the car parks just inside the city wall, checked the handy city map nearby and then walked, a little disappointed, through the historic city streets (which closely resembled Crawley - the town planners have a *lot* to answer for) -
Canterbury Cathedral
- packed with huddling crowds of foreign students, clutching activity sheets, stopping for lunch in one of the few remaining picturesque parts of the town, the old butter market square (where we both had passable burgers - Flyingpops one was a bit too spicy and mine was overcooked - in the nearby pub)-
Canterbury Cathedral
- and then into the Cathedral itself under the amazing entranceway ("donating" another £14 for the pleasure - this was turning into a rather expensive day!) -
Canterbury Cathedral
- but it was worth our contribution for the spectacle, the place is absolutely incredible, founded in 602 AD by St. Augustine on his mission to convert the naughty Anglo-Saxons to Christianity, all it has done since then is expand in it's magnificence -
Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral
- it is a colossal building, through the doorway from the cavernous nave -
Canterbury Cathedral
- you step into the Choir stalls, which alone could easily house many whole "normal" churches (with room to spare) -
Canterbury Cathedral
- and then on to Trinity Chapel, scene of the martyrdom of Thomas Becket (in the north-east transept) following the famous outburst from King Henry II "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?", tragically misinterpreted by three over-eager knights, the Corona Tower was built at the eastern end to contain the top of St. Thomas's head (which was apparently sliced off during his murder), interestingly though, it was his death that was responsible for the massive income from pilgrims (of whose journeys are described in Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales") which paid for the incredible Cathedral we see today...
Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral
Others are buried here, including the tomb of Edward, the Black Prince (of Wales), which sits nearby -
Canterbury Cathedral
- although there is no evidence that he was ever called that during his lifetime, it is suspected that he earned the name from grumpy French historians stinging after the ruinous and numerous military punishments he rained down upon them during his virtually constant campaigns on the other side of the pond...we finished our visit with a little trip down to the Norman crypt (to examine the huge collection of silverware down there, complete with a snoozing guard), sorry, no pics, photography is forbidden down there, and then out through the gift shop (where Flyingpops bought a sliver charm model of the building to mark the occasion of our Anniversary and visit)...and then we had a little while to burn, so we decided we would head to the village where we were staying to ponder the menu in the pub for our evening meal (before checking in time at the B&B)...

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