Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Britain from A to Z - S

For the letter S in our photographic tour round the UK, we have a host of Saints, churches and a cathedral.

We begin in the north of England in the city of York, with a view of the ruined St Marys Abbey.
St Marys Abbey
The Abbey of St Mary is a ruined Benedictine abbey in York, England and a Grade I listed building. Once the richest abbey in the north of England, it lies in what are now the Yorkshire Museum Gardens, on a steeply-sloping site to the west of York Minster. The original church on the site was founded in 1055 and dedicated to Saint Olaf II of Norway. The abbey church was refounded in 1088 for Abbot Stephen and a group of monks from Whitby by the Anglo-Breton magnate Alan Rufus, who laid the foundation stone of the Norman church in January or February that year. The monks moved to York from a site at Lastingham in Ryedale in the 1080s and are recorded there in Domesday. The surviving ruins date from a rebuilding programme begun in 1271 and finished by 1294.
St Edmund Of Abingdon
We then move south to Oxford where we find the statue of St Edmund of Abingdon, after whom St Edmund Hall College is named. He was born Edmund Rich in the town of Abingdon, just south of Oxford, in about 1175. After studies at Oxford and Paris, he taught in Paris and in Oxford. Outstanding priest, administrator, teacher, and man of peace and prayer, Edmund was in charge of the finances for the great cathedral of Salisbury, then being built, and in 1234 he was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury. The church in the background is now the college library.

Keeping the connection with St Edmund, we next visit Salisbury Cathedral.
Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral is officially called the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is an Anglican cathedral in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, and one of the leading examples of Early English architecture. The main body of the cathedral was completed in only 38 years, from 1220 to 1258. The cathedral has the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom (123m/404 ft) and also has the largest cloister and the largest cathedral close in Britain. It contains the world's oldest working clock (from AD 1386) and has the best surviving of the four original copies of Magna Carta. In 2008, the cathedral celebrated the 750th anniversary of its consecration.
St Cyriac's Church 
Travelling back to the north of Wiltshire we reach the beautiful old village of Lacock where we find St Cyriac's Church. The original church was Norman and while the dedication to St Cyriac is unusual in this country it is not in Normandy. A major rebuilding took place in the late 15th century by which time Lacock was a thriving township involved in the wool trade. Although the main part of the church as we see it today was built about 1450, the Lady Chapel predates it by about 30 years. The spire was added in the 1700s. Further restoration took place in 1861 when the transept arches were raised to their present height and old box pews replaced by the present pews.
St John The Baptist
Finally we continue north to Burford, in north Oxfordshire, twenty miles west of Oxford, and considered the southern gateway to the Cotswolds. Here we find the Parish Church of St John the Baptist which dates largely from the 15th century. The church has a Norman tower capped by a slender 15th century spire. Lengthy restoration of the church took place in the 1870's. In 1649 mutineers in Cromwell's army (Levellers) were imprisoned in the church - one of them carved his name on the font! - before being forced onto the roof to watch their ringleaders execution in the churchyard. Those executed are commemorated on a plaque close to the porch.

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