Salisbury - Stockbridge - Winchester
Trip Start Jul 06, 2011
16Trip End Aug 04, 2011
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
This morning after a fine Full English Breakfast my friend, our next door neighbor from my days of living in London, and I toured Salisbury Cathedral. I have been there many times, as had she, but it is always amazing.
Salisbury Cathedral was begun in 1220. The quire, transepts and nave were completed in only 38 years and the west front was completed by 1258. Because it was built so quickly it is all in one style, Early English Gothic. That means fairly simple, pointed arches. The tower and spire were added in the beginning of the 14th century
The first person buried in the cathedral had the unfortunate name of William Longespee. He was a half brother of the cruelly evil King John and was one of the advisers in the making of the Magna Carta (see below).
The cathedral houses a medieval clock, dated 1386, and reputed to be the oldest clock in the world. I am fairly certain that I have seen a clock in China predating that by quite a bit, but the western world ignores eastern history just as the eastern world ignores the west.
The cathedral also contains some very modern artwork: a hanging that looks rather like a model of a molecule made with coat hangers,a very beautiful baptismal font which acts as a fountain, the Amnesty International candle, and several modern embroidered altar frontals.
The cloisters are lovely, but no monks have ever resided at the cathedral. Off of the cloisters sits the Chapter House
By 1215 King John had virtually destroyed the lives of his subjects through cruelty and taxation. The great barons of the land drew up a treaty, the Great Charter or Magna Carta, as a basic bill of rights. Basically they forced the king to sign it. It was promptly annulled by the pope, but later reinstated. It forms the basis for English law. Its most famous chapter reads: 'No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or deprived or outlawed or exiled or in any way ruined ... except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land.' Sound familiar? It is written in abbreviated medieval Latin on a piece of vellum which is prepared calfskin, and written incredibly small. How they kept a quill that sharp is beyond my knowledge!
After a bite to eat at the cathedral cafe we started across Salisbury Plain towards Winchester, stopping in the lovely village of Stockbridge for a cream tea at Lilly Langtree's. Once in Winchester, which is really not very far from Salisbury, we had the most difficult time finding the actual city center which housed the cathedral and my hotel. After asking we were pointed in the direction. We stopped again and it turned out to be at the end of the street. My hotel is a hop, skip and a jump from the cathedral. I am on the 2nd floor (which is the 3rd by American counting), up a very narrow, curved stairway with steps shorter than the length of my rather short foot. I hold on for dear life going down those stairs!