Friday, January 22, 2016

Salisbury Cathedral, Part A - Anglophile Friday

Salisbury Cathedral

 Salisbury, just 1 hr.24 min. from London's Waterloo Train Station,
and just a large stone's throw from...

 ...but that's another story for another day.

There were a few things that I found most notable about Salisbury Cathedral. The amazingly tall spire, the medieval clock, the Magna Carta, the baptismal font...okay, I guess there were several things. But today we'll start with the exterior of the cathedral, and its remarkable spire.

Salisbury Cathedral, west front

The foundation stones for Salisbury Cathedral were laid in 1220, and most of the main work on the cathedral was completed within 40 years. That is amazing, in itself! The spire was added later.

'The main body of the cathedral was finished by the consecration on 29 September 1258. But the whole project also included the West Front, the Cloisters, the Chapter House, and the (now demolished) detached Bell Tower, which stood between the High Street Gate and the Cathedral. All of these were probably completed by 1266.'

Salisbury Cathedral, tower and spire
Tallest spire in England - 404 feet!

'...the Cathedral was enlarged upwards between 1300 and 1320, by the incomparable tower and spire. This development was not unique to Salisbury – the cathedrals in London (old St Paul’s) and Lincoln both had taller spires, if only of timber and lead – but this one has proved the longest-lived, and since the late 16th century has been the tallest in England, standing at 404 ft/123m. It seems likely the spire was severely damaged within a few years of completion, and so needed repairs for which the still-existing internal scaffolding was built.'

So how'd you like to be the one climbing up the internal scaffolding to work on that spire?! 
Today, a lunatic conservator climbs out onto the outside of the spire and scales his way to the top to change the anemometer.  If you're squeamish about heights, I wouldn't recommend that you watch the following short video. But if your curiosity is greater than your fear of heights, be sure to watch it. It's incredible. BTW, There's no amount of money that could entice me to take that job. And I do hope he gets paid a ton!

'In 1921 the weather vane was removed from the top of the spire and replaced with a cross. The cross you can see on top of the spire today was made in 1950 and is 12’ high. It is made of copper with brass finials protruding from each point of the cross.' 

Another interesting bit about the spire, is that in the years following WWII, some were wondering why Salisbury hadn't been bombed. It seems that the German Luftwaffe, approaching from the south, had used Salisbury Cathedral as a landmark to guide them as they made their way to more strategic targets, for example, turning northeast toward London.

 Salisbury Cathedral, buttresses and cloister

Such intricate stonework!

Are these all starting to look alike? :-)

Sitting on eighty acres, Salisbury Cathedral has the largest cathedral close of all cathedrals in England. Also, unlike other cathedrals, it has no crypt because it rests so close to the water table. In fact, while Mr. C. was off wandering about the cathedral, he saw a guide lift a cover from a hole in the floor and use a rod to measure how far they were from the water. It measured FOUR FEET!

Cathedral, north side:

"A cloister is a covered walk, open gallery, or open arcade running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle or garth." (garden)

And a couple photos of the cloister garth below.  I wonder if Garth Williams knew that his name meant 'garden.' I would mention Garth Brooks, but I don't want you to have to live with that word association.

Cloister Garth

There are so many more photos of Salisbury Cathedral in my photo files*, but we'll stop with these for today. (I can hear you breathing a sigh of relief.) I think we'll go indoors next time. It's an amazing building. (And yes, I know I use the word 'amazing' far too often. But really...)

All information in quotations is from the cathedral's website,, with the exception of the definition of cloister. That's from Wikipedia.

There is so much more information on the cathedral website. I hope you'll visit!

My favorite photo is yet to come, in the interior.

*Aren't we all so grateful for camera cards! Imagine what it would have cost to have about 3,000 photos (on film) developed, and not know how they were going to turn out until they were printed! Does anyone out there remember film??? or is it just me.


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Have a great weekend, everyone!



MadSnapper said...

I rarely took photos when i had my Minolta camera and film. when my granddaugher was born, i took one roll of 12 pics every Saturday since I kept her on Sat morning. to watch her grow. that same thing now would be hundreds.
this is am amazing cathedral and the photos of it are wonderful... we just watched a movie this week about King John and the Magna Carta and the Knights of the Templar.

Elizabeth said...

Love the photos! Looking forward to seeing the interior!

Denise said...

such beauty

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Oh, I do remember film, and yes those SD cards are wonderful! I couldn't agree with you more that amazing is the word for Salisbury! The video made my feet tingle. It's a good thing I don't have to do his job to make a living...we would starve! You always give me teases to return to beautiful England! Thank you! Have a great weekend, Judy! ♥

Elizabethd said...

It is one of our favourite Cathedrals, and we have often been to an Evensong service there. The choir is always so beautiful.

Vee said...

Beautiful cathedral and very interesting about the water table. Obviously, they keep an eye on that. Has it ever been a problem for them?

Film...I do remember. Way too costly. Still, I often wish that I had more photos printed.

Your post did not disappoint!

Debbie said...'s a bit nippy, not too bad...hehehe, that's what i would expect from someone who does this!!! the view is stunning but the motion was a little difficult for me!! it is indeed a beautiful building!!!

and yes, i think it is a definite, we will be getting snow or all weather men/woman should loose their jobs!!!!

Pamela Gordon said...

This cathedral is really beautiful and, no, I didn't take the video tour from the spire due to my fear of heights. I do hope the poor soul that has to climb the spire gets a good salary and a parachute on his back for his job! I do remember film and that is how I took photos of our trip to England.....used very sparingly at that! Are you under a storm watch or has it passed by already. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

L. D. said...

That is a beautiful building. I really appreciated seeing all the different shots. It is amazing how old the original foundations of the structure are and the additions were great works of art in themselves. I think this is a must see if I ever make it to England.

Terri D said...

Oh yes, I remember film and the anticipation of getting back that envelope/folder full of your prints...hoping they were good.

I say it every time you post these ancient building photos....I just shake my head at how they could accomplish such beauty and stability without the modern tools used today! What a beautiful Cathedral and grounds (garth!).

Susie said...

Judy, The cathedral is so beautiful I could cry ...I just am in awe. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

sweetbriardreams said...

A beautiful Cathedral and given the option, I would have been up there like a rat up a drainpipe. I do have a tendency to climb the odd Cathedral (but usually I use the scaffolding!). I am sure I have been to Salisbury but it would have been my younger primary school years. I'm now itching to start climbing again!! xx

Paula said...

Such amazing attention to detail in the construction of this masterpiece! Words can't quite describe the magnificence.

Linda said...

What an AMAZING tour!!! Yes, I use that word a lot myself!!!
You can NEVER have TOO many pictures!
The memory cards changed my world!

Marcia said...

Thanks for the tour. Maybe someday I'll get there to see it in person.

Amy at love made my home said...

I know Salisbury and the cathedral very well, it is a beautiful place isn't it. So glad that you enjoyed it so much. xx

The Furry Gnome said...

Beautiful pictures, and such a spectacular historic site. I saw it once, and really enjoyed Richardson's book 'Sarum' which tells the story of its building in fiction. Look forward to the rest. And yes, i remember film, and have several 1000 slides to show for it. Got to figure out what to do with them.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful post. The photos are wonderful. I love the history and the deep meaning of places like this. If I traveled over the ocean, I would like to see Wales. My Grampy's people were from there, and of course, Scotland, Ireland, and England. But, his father said to never confuse Wales with the others.

Lowcarb team member said...

Such a lovely post ... it's a few years since I visited Salisbury, so bought back memories, thank you.

I haven't a good head for heights but the views on the video was amazing, and what a climb!

Have a good weekend

All the best Jan

This N That said...

Beautiful post..Lots of history..So interesting..Thanks for sharing

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

Beautiful. The cathedrals of Europe are magnificent. It's so long ago since I've been to England that I would have to pull out the photos on paper! I went by Stonehedge, and basically, I was unimpressed and thought it much smaller than imagined. I really enjoyed the ruins of Glastonbury. xoxo Su

Linda Kay said...

Judy, such spectacular architecture!

Tom said...

what detail...amazing!

Unknown said...

England certainly does Cathedrals " right " don't they Judy - just magnificent - ( mind blowing that it's from the 12th century )
Can't wait to see the interior of this beauty !

Gerald (SK14) said...

Wonderful shots - I only passed through Salisbury briefly some 30-odd years ago so didn't appreciate its brilliance at the time - and yes one couldn't afford to take so many photos then.

Daniela said...

I live in Italy, but my heart belongs to England, so I wonder if you can immagne how much I enjoyed this post of yours which filled my heart with so much joy !
Have amost beautiful Sunday,
with gratitude and love

Jaśmin said...

The beautiful Gothic cathedral.
I love the Gothic buildings.

Elizabeth Edwards said...

gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!! i have seen the fake Stonehenge (called foamhenge here in VA, it is so cool!)

( :

Jackie McGuinness said...

This is on my bucket list for our next trip to England.

Jeannie Marie said...

The church is so magnificent, words fail me. I am in awe of the beautiful photographs and the shapes and shadows. Just lovely!

TexWisGirl said...

just wow...

Billy Blue Eyes said...

Wonderful visit, that place is high on my list to visit, nearest I have been is Old Sarum where it was originally

eileeninmd said...

Hello, what a gorgeous cathedral. I would love to see the cathedral and Stonehenge. Great collection of photos and post.
Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

This had to be such a grand tour and the architecture is absolutely stunning. I look forward to seeing the interior image shares~

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

This is an amazing cathedral, Judy! I watched the video and marveled at the height of that spire and the views--can you imagine the men who built it? I saw the Magna Carta on display in NYC once. That was a wonderful sight to see. I look forward to seeing more interior photos of Salisbury Cathedral next week.

Christine said...

It is an amazing piece of architecture and to think it was started in the 13th century! No way I would go out on the steeple!
Thanks for sharing!

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Lovely photos of one of my favourite cathedrals ~ thank you!

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Wonderful architecture, and a good thing the cathedral served as a landmark guide during the war.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Our cameras now allow us to take as many photos as we want! I love it! And what details you've gotten on this beautiful clear day. Hugs!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I'm still a bit dizzy from the video, so forgive any typos. Good grief! One thinks of conservators as quiet mole-like people working among dusty relics at a desk or n a sort of lab .., not(Eek!). .... Beautiful cathedral and I really loved seeing the video. I didn't know hat about Salisbury serving as a landmark for the bombers during the War.. Makes you think ...

The pictures ..of course I remember film and developing ...I think about it all the time. I take so many pictures now. That's the blessing and the curse of a digital camera! But your post doesn't look like you ever take a bad one! Everything is beautifully done!

DeniseinVA said...

This is a fantastic post, so very interesting and a touch of nostalgia for me as I remember visiting the cathedral when I was a child with my family. A very special memory for me, thank you :) Have a great week!

Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

Dear Judy
Oh I'm so excited to see your wonderful photos of Salisbury Cathedral.
My son was living in London in 1999 when we did a trip around the Cotswolds and we visted Salisbury Cathedral after spending time at Stonehenge.
I took lots of photos but that camera was lost...sadly.

Thank you Judy you've resurrected some beautiful memories for me!
Shane x

Sara - Villa Emilia said...

Thank you, Judy, for this amazingly beautiful, interesting and fun post!
I started to take digital photos very late, but life is so much better now with digital cameras and photo editors. :)
Have a lovely week!

J_on_tour said...

Wonderful exterior shots.
The spire climb was literally quite breathtaking, one thing to climb and do the task in hand but another I'm sure to descend. He certainly needs to put a lot of faith in the hooks on the spire wall.
I remember the last time I was there in my pre digital days (maybe about 9 or 10 years ago) the difficulty I had in capturing the whole building with a 50mm lens.

Donna said...

I adore old cathedrals such as this so this was wonderful to see and learn so much about!

and LivingFromHappiness

Teresa S said...

I just love an old architecture. It would be impossible to get that kind of massive stonework in now days. Old masters are gone. Thank you for sharing these lovely pictures. I just enjoyed them very much!

Teresa S said...

I just love an old architecture. It would be impossible to get that kind of massive stonework in now days. Old masters are gone. Thank you for sharing these lovely pictures. I just enjoyed them very much!

genie said...

These pictures of Salisbury Cathedral are out of this world The close ups and that collage.....gorgeous. I did not know the story about why the Germans did not bomb it. Now it makes sense. I just love your blog. You make it possible for me to go back across the pond without ever setting foot out of my warm little house.


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