Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Grantham St. Wulfram's Parish Church

St. Wulfram's is another five-banger. It was near Peterborough, and we'd been there before, way back when, and we couldn't find a place to park our Roadtrek. Something about Sir Isaac Newton. This time we found street parking with ease, just a few hundred feet from the church. St. Wulfram's gets it five Jenkins stars largely for having the tallest of all English steeples, 283 feet. It was erected, so to speak, in the first quarter of the 14th century, and Jenkins speculates it may have been the tallest building in England until the 20th century. I've noticed that nearly all of the five star churches we've visited so far have something to do with size.... Be that as it may, our visit to St. Wolfram's was altered somewhat by our arriving after visiting hours and touring during the rehearsal of the mixed young person's choir, I mean, quire. The church was interesting and impressive, and the music, though halting and repetitious, was beautifully punctuated by giggles. A treat we didn't want to intrude upon. St. Wulfram, BTW, was bishop at Sens in the 8th century, and a missionary to the Frisians, the original speakers of what we now know as English. They murdered him. In any case, it really ties so many things together. The steeple notwithstanding, what I found most interesting about St. Wulframs was the line of funny faces, grotesques, that wrap around the building. Some of the best we have seen on this campaign and worthy of a separate post.

North aisle, off of which the north porch is the visitor center

Helpful model

Ad majorem gloriam Dei

Some work still to be done on the north porch addition

Interestingly carved chair

In the south aisle

Quietly peering over into the chancel and quire


Click to enlarge and read about the gendered first editions of James I's Bible, as
produced by the King's Printer

Original organization chart

Looking into the gallery

Rare view into font hood

We are all works in progress

Across the street, The King's School; what they don't tell you is that it was from
the steeple at St. Wulfram's that young Isaac dropped apples and oranges,
attempting to gather evidence for his Theory of Differential  Gravity

Peterborough Cathedral, 2

Continuing our visit to Peterborough Cathedral...
Well, Mary Queen of Scots was buried here, by Old Scarlett,
but her son, James I, had her moved to Westminster Abbey

The Hedda Stone, kept near the altar, a relic of the earliest abbey on the site,
Medeshamstede, dated to 870 CE; shows people with halos

Rare dorsal view: more halos

Katherine of Aragon definitely is buried here; flowers still arrive daily from the
Spanish embassy

Peterborough's clock, a relative youngster compared with
Wells or Salisbury

A few images from the painted ceiling...there are scores

Peterborough main square outside the cathedral grounds

Many pretty, mostly Georgian sights; ignore the cell tower...

Peterborough Cathedral, 1

Peterborough Cathedral is one of the great Romanesque (aka Norman) cathedrals in Britain, nearly as old as Durham, and something we wanted to see. Peterborough itself was new to us, the new market center in the east, not at all a small city.
An abbey church first, of course, then a cathedral

Damn! We missed both the gin and rum festival and the prosecco and gin festival!
Hopefully we'll be back in May for the Everclear and absinthe festival! 

Pano of the beautiful old yard west of the cathedral

Nave view

Painted wooden roof; last painted in the early 2000s, after a
nearly disastrous fire

Elevation; the usual huge gallery we are getting used to in
these English churches

Old Scarlett, the beloved town gravedigger, who buried two
generations and three queens: Mary Queen of Scots, Katherine
of Aragon, and his own wife, Margaret; he remarried the year
after she passed away, when he was 89; lived to be 98;  in the
cathedral's interpretive program, you're always "digging deeper"
with Old Scarlett 

An aerial of the church, in its educational center

Love the entwined arches

And other possibly Celtic bits



Still pretty Romanesque, right? 

But then you get to the eastern-most and, behold, it's not Romanesque anymore!

So not Romanesque!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Peckover House And Wisbach

Peckover House was another that did not spark joy. In fact it was at this point we began to re-assess our goal of seeing all the National Trust's estates and houses and gardens. Nonetheless, the compact gardens at Peckover were of interest, there was a special exhibit on Mr. Peckover's book collecting, and an especially interesting exhibit of book art by one of the volunteers. The Peckovers were a prosperous Georgian merchant family that rose to some eminence in the 1800s. After the house and gardens, we spent another hour or so in Wisbach, mostly looking at the numerous charity shoppes.

From the garden

Family travels

Late 15th century book of Ptolymaic maps

Peckover library...widely dispersed at auction, much being reassembled for an

And the book art, by one of the volunteers; pretty interesting, we thought

Into Wisbach and the River Nene

Low tide