Canterbury & Rye

On Monday we day tripped to Canterbury & Rye, two places we’ve talked about getting to for a very long time.

Finally – a train station piano. They were everywhere in France.
St. Pancras train station

Canterbury town, from the west train station

What changes a century brings. The baroque bit on top is dated 1697.

Canterbury Cathedral, the Church of England’s seat, is the primary draw for visitors. Canterbury is to Anglicans what Rome is to Catholics, and multitudes still flock here on pilgrimage. The cathedral is enormous, set in almost 30 acres of church-owned grounds.

Fortunately for them – unfortunately for us – the cathedral received two large restoration grants this year. Exterior and interior were swathed in scaffolding and temporary supports as lead and stone were removed for treatment.

Alas, most of the cathedral’s fine collection of gargoyles and grotesques were not visible. (Lucky you.)

The cathedral’s architecture ranges from early Norman (11th century) to Gothic perpendicular (14th century – high gothic, to non-Brits). Glorious stonework!

Below are Victorian era stained glass windows, depicting people important to the history of the cathedral. The people are shown on one end of the chapter house, with their exploits in the window opposite.

Note Thomas Becket’s being murdered before the cathedral altar in the lower left image.
St. Thomas a’ Becket’s modern shrine. The original was destroyed by Henry VIII.
Glass in the lower registers in this window are early medieval. They were originally placed high up in the cathedral, and their location saved them from destruction during the English civil war.
Note Zacharias being hauled up to heaven by the hand of god on the right.

The Trinity Chapel, where pilgrims came to pray for miracles from St. Thomas.
Early medieval windows depicting stories 0f St. Thomas’ miracles. Note the green box in the bottom image (where the sick man rises from his bed). Featured prominently in nearly every story, the green box was the monks’ unsubtle reminder to give generously.
Tomb of the Black Prince, whose death while heir to the throne triggered the family infighting we know (thanks to Shakespeare) as War of the Roses. (They called it the “Cousins’ War”.)
His “funeral achievements” (important possessions), suspended over his tomb.
The Bossanyi Windows, commissioned post WW2 to replace glass sucked out by a bomb. Bossanyi was a Hungarian Jew who fled from the Nazis to England. “Salvation” shows a man freed from prison by an angel, with Nazi symbolism on the prison. There is controversy about the appropriateness of a political statement in a church window – ironic, that.
“Peace” depicts Christ in Glory, welcoming the children of all nations to his bosom. Apparently, Disney artists use this Hungarian style of drawing – hence their resemblance to familiar cartoon faces.
Modern pilgrim lodging and conference center.
Memorial to the 8 million+ horses killed in WW1, most of whom passed through here on their way to the slaughter.

Canterbury Cathedral grounds, which host a school and a large administrative complex.

Leaving Canterbury, we detoured 3 stops to Rye on our return trip to London.

We were just in time to climb the bell tower in St. Mary’s church.

St. Mary’s features one of the oldest still functioning medieval clocks (installed 1561).

Rye is visited for its (very hard to walk on) cobblestone streets and quaint architecture. It was late in the day and drizzling, so we didn’t venture the 2 mile walk to Rye’s harbor.

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