Friday, October 22, 2010

Peterborough Cathedral

altThe East of England has several great cathedrals, raised above the Fens centuries ago and lovingly embellished across the years.  I’d heard a lot about the Peterborough’s Cathedral\, but it’s an hour outside of Cambridge, too far for a casual outing.  But, when Amazon inexplicably left a book for me to pick up there, it was a good opportunity to visit the edifice.

altFrom a distance, it looks like most gothic churches, all sand-colored spires against the blue skies.  But the West Face, viewed from across the Close, is amazing.  There is a square Norman block foundation, embellished with the Gothic arches and points: I think that Carcasonne had a similar church-upon-a-church.

Inside, the stone galleries support a richly ornamented ceiling.  The modern icon suspended over the chapel feels out of place, but the wood- and stone-work throughout is very graceful.  There is some fanwork ceiling towards the back and warm light throughout: the criss-crossing arches give a lot of depth and interest to the ceilings and the tomb of Queen Katherine was a surprise to find her here rather than Westminster.

 Peterborough Cathedral 03 altalt Peterborough Cathedral 49

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The outside grounds are worth a stroll: the Cathedral looks smaller around the exterior but the statuary and gardens are an intimate contrast to the soaring vaults inside.

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