Friday, 27 March 2009

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury's Cathedral is hardly a well-kept secret, but both the building and setting are stunning all the same. It celebrated the 750th anniversary of its completion in 2008, as befits the finest 13th century Cathedral in the UK. The list of superlatives for Salisbury is truly impressive: At 404ft (123m) it has Britain's tallest spire, Europe's oldest working clock (1386), the best preserved copy of Magna Carta (1215), the largest Cathedral Close, the largest Cloisters...

Unusually built 'all in one go' between 1220 and 1258, it is a classic of the Early English Gothic style. And the setting - famously painted by Constable - is incomparable (and thankfully now preserved from intrusive development). But as well as the grandeur of the building, it also has a very fine collection of monuments, to both secular and ecclesiastical worthies, as well as some original mediaeval glass.

Like all Cathedrals, it's more than just a building, and one should not forget the music and worship. I would strongly recommend you try to attend a service or concert: the acoustics are superb, the organ is recognised as one of England's finest, as is its 750-year old Choir School. Whether you are religious or not, you'd be hard pressed not to be moved by the haunting impact of its music.

Truly magnificent.

1 comment:

  1. I agree very much with you. A couple of other things near the cathedral here also stick in my mind. A statue of the Virgin just outside: she's not on much of a plinth, I seem to remember she was less tall than I am, and is shown walking along: I found it very moving. Also Mompesson House in the mews is very interesting and had a gem of a garden.