Inspired by a colleague’s great photo blog on Canterbury Cathedral, I paid a visit a few weeks ago. This site has been a centre of worship since the Roman occupation of England, and the cathedral is closely associated with Saint Augustine – the first archbishop of Canterbury – whose original building now lies below the present Gothic site.
Inside the Cathedral, ceilings soar, English Saints are celebrated…and an English King and Queen attract bystanders..
Cathedral number two is somewhere I walk past every day but had never visited: Westminster cathedral, I think most people are unaware of this site’s varied history – from marshland, through ownership by the monks of Westminster Abbey, through market, fairground and prison before coming into the ownership of the Catholic church in the 1800s. The Cathedral was built in the early 20th Century to serve as a central home for the Catholic church in England.
And the scenery gets even more modern across the road…from the aptly named Cardinal Place
There are a lot of the same saints celebrated here as in Canterbury – so again we find representations of Anselm, Augustine et al. But in a very different – almost Byzantine style. So while its near neighbour, Westminster Abbey, has the soaring vaulted Gothic ceilings of Canterbury, this is a very different experience – with round arches, gilt, and almost icon-like representations. There’s a nod to the influence of Constantinople in St Andrew’s chapel, while those of us from across the Irish Sea find St Patrick equally celebrated!