Thursday, 20 February 2014

SALISBURY CATHEDRAL


So I've posted my walk around Salisbury (here).  Here are some pics of the cathedral.

Construction began as soon as the city was founded in 1220 and the main body was completed in just 38 years.  This makes it unique among cathedrals as being built in one architectural style (instead of being added to over the centuries).

 

It is an imposing building, standing in 80 acre grounds, the largest open green space in Britain.  The most noticeable feature however is the spire, which was only added in the 14th century.


The spire weighs over 6,000 tons and was destined to suffer the same fate as many other mediaeval spires - the supporting pillars began quite early to bend inwards under the stress - until reinforcing tie beams were added in 1668 by Sir Christopher Wren.  You can see on the floor of the cathedral where the centre of the spire was remeasured in 1737 some 12 inches from the original centre.

 

Anyway, as you can see, it has survived and is now the tallest spire in the UK. 
 
Inside the cathedral is the largest cloister in Britain.


Although quite ornate, I thought it rather elegant.  It contains two large fir trees.


The nave seems quite narrow, but leaving it open makes it the more impressive.

  

The tombs and memorials are an interesting slice of British history.

 

This is the earliest tomb, of Bishop Osmund (died 1099), moved here after the cathedral was finished.

 

This is the tomb of William Longespee, illegitimate son of Henry II and half-brother of King John, the first to be buried in the cathedral.  He attended the foundation of the cathedral but died in 1226.

 

 Here is a typical plaque on another tomb.


The tombs would originally have been decorated, like this one from the 17th century.

 

 A more modern one.


And this is the famous 'Walking Madonna' by Dame Elisabeth Frink (1981).


The original bell tower was removed in the 18th century, so this is now one of the only cathedrals without bells.  But the 1386 clock is still running, ringing bells every 15 minutes, making it the world's oldest working clock.


Two other features make this cathedral unique - it has the longest surviving original choir

 

and it houses the best preserved of the only 4 surviving original copies of the Magna Carta - no pics allowed unfortunately, so here's the one in the British Library.
 
  
The decoration on the  pillars fascinated me.  Even between cats and dogs there can be love!
    
 

I also liked the font, a modern structure, but impressive for all that.



And I liked the angels that decorated the walls at Christmas but which still hang there.
 
























3 comments:

  1. When you say cloister do you mean a group still lives there and serves the locals somehow?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. It's the structure itself - large green area with arched walkway round it.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for sharing this great work of art .

    ReplyDelete