Friday, May 9, 2008

05-07-08 Canterbury Cathedral

This is the courtyard in the city surrounding the gates of the Cathedral. The shops in the square actually act as a wall for the cathedral. The gates are literally encompassed in the wall of shops and is rather unnoticeable until you realize what it is.

The left door (it's massive probably four or five of me, if not more)

The right door.

The gates to the cathedral from the square.

Close-up of the Christ statue. This is actually a replica of the original statue that stood there... I think this one was placed up there within the last century (and I am wanting to say it might even be within the last 20 years).

Another shot of the rather creepy copper Christ figure above the portal entrance.

The Cathedral from the outside.

This is the entrance to the Cathedral.

This is only a small portion of the ceiling that is beneath the archway shown above (the entryway).

From left to right--Jenny, Jessi, Me, Whitney, Josie

One of the aisles as you walk into the cathedral. Did you know that before the reign of Henry VIII and the splitting of the Catholic church, that this entire cathedral was painted from top to bottom? After Henry split with the church and the Catholic cathedrals of England became Anglican, Henry had all the Catholic images painted over. At one point, the entire inside of this building would have resembled the paintings below.

These paintings are from the 12th or 13th century and can be found in the crypt of Canterbury... I think these are the right ones. I wasn't allowed to photograph it, so I had to get an image off the web.

PS-- I haven't researched this info myself (and I intend to, eventually), but Dr Talbot is... well, crazily educated and a little enthusiastic about..... everything. He is a true scholar--and by that, I mean he embodies everything you could possible imagine an over-educated human being embodies. But I think he is AWESOME. And hilarious!

Stained glass is one of those amazing things that I can't fathom creating myself. I hope everyone gets a chance to study a 500+ year old window made of lead and bi.

I don't know what you call this--the pulpit?--but I imagine it's the same thing in the Anglican church as the Catholic church.

Pretty decor!

I don't know if you can tell, but those flags are made of lace. They looked ancient. I have no idea how old they are, but they were incredibly delicate in appearance.

A close up of the flag. Sorry, guys, I have a point and shoot---it doesn't lend to beautiful photos and relies entirely upon a flash... someday, I will own an SLR.


Um, not sure what this is called, but is it the Alter?

The nave of Canterbury Cathedral.

The area where the shrine to Thomas Becket stood.

The candle marks where the shrine stood before Henry VIII had it destroyed.

A tomb of an archduke whom I don't recall the name of.

Another view of the same tomb.



Edward Plantagenet (1330-1376), the Black Prince, is buried here. The stuff in this picture that he is wearing are copies. The originals are pictured below.

If I took the photos correctly, this is the tomb of John Peckham of the Orders of Friars Minor, Archbishop of Canterbury... he wasn't anyone I know of, but the awesome part of this is that this tomb originates from 1292 AD.... amazing, eh?! That means he has been buried for 716 years. WOW.

Henry II... At least, I THINK this is Henry II. Blast, I don't remember, but the history behind this tomb and the one in the background (the Black Prince's) is interesting. Essentially, these two were arch rivals and couldn't stand each other in life. The one in this picture essentially usurped the throne from Richard II, Edward's son. Now they lie together for eternity within several feet of each other. Curiously ironic, eh?

These steps were once flat stone. Just to let you know, Canterbury Cathedral was built on the foundations of an Anglo-Saxon church that originated roughly around 597 AD. It became a center for pilgrimage after the murder of Thomas Becket, which I recounted below. Think how many thousands of people--of pilgrims--had to cross these steps to wear down the stone so? 1411 years... thats how long some of the stones of this church have been standing on this ground. Incredible, eh?

Another Archbishop's tomb, this one originating from around the end of 1100s.

The grave of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Close up.

This is the door that leads out to the cloister (a covered walk often found in cathedrals that have an open arcade or colonnade that opens onto a courtyard.) From what I understood, Thomas Becket was murdered on the other side of the door, in the cloister. However, it might have been next to this door, in the little chapel-esque area... I got a little confused which it was. It's a fascinating story, really. Apparently Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was friends with King Henry II. From what I understand, Henry believed that by having Becket in the top post of the Church, he could easily impose his will upon the church; however, he was sadly mistaken. Becket's allegiance shifted from the court to the Church. To make a long story short, Becket and the king fell out with one another, and the king became very angry with Becket. Becket initially fled to France and stayed in exile for six years. In 1170 they seemed to resolve their dispute. However, earlier (one of the causes of their initial argument) Becket had excommunicated several bishops belonging to London and Salisbury and when he returned to England he refused to absolve the bishops. This news threw Henry II (still in France) into a rage in which he was said to shout: "What sluggards, what cowards have I brought up in my court, who care nothing for their allegiance to their lord. Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?" Four of Henry's knights seemed to take this as an OK to rid the king of Becket. The four knights sailed over the Channel and arrived at Canterbury during the afternoon of December 29 and immediately searched for the Archbishop. Becket fled to the Cathedral where he was brutally murdered. This caused a huge sensation throughout Europe and Becket was quickly sainted and eventually had a shrine built to him, which is why so many of the pious went on a pilgrimage to Canterbury. This is where Geoffrey Chaucer got his inspiration to create the Canterbury Tales about the varying people going on a pilgrimage to Canterbury. Interesting, huh? Speaking of interesting, here is something that you might find enlightening that I found on the web:

Observations of a monk, Edward Grim, observed the attack from the safety of a hiding place near the altar. He wrote his account some time after the event. Acceptance of his description must be qualified by the influence that Beckett's sainthood had on Grim's perspective. However, the fundamentals of his narrative are no doubt true. We pick up the story after the knights have stormed into the cathedral.

"The murderers followed him; 'Absolve', they cried, 'and restore to communion those whom you have excommunicated, and restore their powers to those whom you have suspended.' "He answered, 'There has been no satisfaction, and I will not absolve them.' 'Then you shall die,' they cried, 'and receive what you deserve.' 'I am ready,' he replied, 'to die for my Lord, that in my blood the Church may obtain liberty and peace. But in the name of Almighty God, I forbid you to hurt my people whether clerk or lay.' "Then they lay sacrilegious hands on him, pulling and dragging him that they may kill him outside the church, or carry him away a prisoner, as they afterwards confessed. But when he could not be forced away from the pillar, one of them pressed on him and clung to him more closely. Him he pushed off calling him 'pander', and saying, 'Touch me not, Reginald; you owe me fealty and subjection; you and your accomplices act like madmen.' "The knight, fired with a terrible rage at this severe repulse, waved his sword over the sacred head. 'No faith', he cried, 'nor subjection do I owe you against my fealty to my lord the King.'

Then the unconquered martyr seeing the hour at hand which should put an end to this miserable life and give him straightway the crown of immortality promised by the Lord, inclined his neck as one who prays and joining his hands he lifted them up, and commended his cause and that of the Church to God, to St. Mary, and to the blessed martyr Denys. Scarce had he said the words than the wicked knight, fearing lest he should be rescued by the people and escape alive, leapt upon him suddenly and wounded this lamb who was sacrificed to God on the head, cutting off the top of the crown which the sacred unction of the chrism had dedicated to God; and by the same blow he wounded the arm of him who tells this. For he, when the others, both monks and clerks, fled, stuck close to the sainted Archbishop and held him in his arms till the one he interposed was almost severed. "Then he received a second blow on the head but still stood firm. At the third blow he fell on his knees and elbows, offering himself a living victim, and saying in a low voice, 'For the Name of Jesus and the protection of the Church I am ready to embrace death.' "Then the third knight inflicted a terrible wound as he lay, by which the sword was broken against the pavement, and the crown which was large was separated from the head. The fourth knight prevented any from interfering so that the others might freely perpetrate the murder. "As to the fifth, no knight but that clerk who had entered with the knights, that a fifth blow might not be wanting to the martyr who was in other things like to Christ, he put his foot on the neck of the holy priest and precious martyr, and, horrible to say, scattered his brain and blood over the pavement, calling out to the others, 'Let us away, knights; he will rise no more.'

The cloister and courtyard. There are people buried in the courtyard and cloister... and everywhere in the church, for that matter.

The cloister. The courtyard is to your left.

Wall of the cloister... wonder what is bricked up?

View from the cloister.

Those flowers are literally growing out of the building... there is no pot!

Another view from the cloister.

Another view from the cloister.

Another view from the cloister.

This is called the Chapter House. I believe this is where the important clergy of the church meet for meetings or something. It was built much later than the rest of the cathedral. The door to it is out in the cloister.

The School and private houses where the clergy live are behind the cathedral.

Not sure what this is... but it's part of the complex of houses. I thought it was pretty.

Canterbury Cathedral from the outside again.

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