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Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Visit to Salisbury

The other day I took the train down to Salisbury for a quiet day and to view the magnificent Cathedral which was built very rapidly by medieval standards. The spire (the tallest decorated Gothic spire in Europe) was added later and still leans significantly about 30 inches to the South West. The Tower weighs about 6400 tons. Apparently, present day structural engineers would be allowed to use the columns to support only about a tenth of that weight.

In the photo above, you can see how different such Churches look from different angles. From the West door, the Cathedral looks squat and massive whereas from almost any other angle it is graceful and perfectly proportioned.

Inside, the limestone is contrasted with the slender Purbeck marble shafts creating an austere beauty uplifting the gaze.

The odd living-water style font in the centre of the nave shows that no matter how beautiful a Cathedral may be, the 20th century would find something to disrupt it.

In the south aisle, there is a magnificent cope chest. Sadly, we haven't room for such an item of furniture at Blackfen so the copes have to be hung in a wardrobe.

In the market square, I took the above photo for the benefit of North American readers from the Salisburys in North Carolina and Maryland. Apologies for the concession to Euro-correctness. We don't think in Kilometres here either.

I attended Choral Evensong in the Cathedral, particularly attracted by the promise of the Byrd responses, and the Tallis Nunc Dimittis. In a distraction I began to muse on what our Sacred Liturgy would be like if the Reformation had not effectively extinguished the Sarum Use. Perhaps it would be a good project to get permission for a High Mass in the Sarum Use at Salisbury itself...
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