Right in the heart of Newcastle sit the historical foundations of the city. As the name of the city implies, there is indeed a “new” castle here. It was built by Robert Curthose, son of William the Conqueror, in 1080 and even by British standards I think that qualifies as “old”.
The cathedral started its life as a wooden Anglican parish church in 1091, but burned in 1216. It was rebuilt in stone in 1359, and named a Cathedral in 1882.
The tower has a complete ring of twelve bells, including the two ton tenor bell, and still rings for services every day.
The building sits on the side of a hill, and because we came in from the higher street side, under the tower, we didn’t realize how big it actually was. When we entered, my daughter and I were both a bit stunned by the enormity of the nave and surrounding passage ways.
The stained glass windows behind the nave are massive, and glowed beautifully in the mid-morning light.
The interior was badly damaged during a Scottish invasion in the seventeenth century, and barely escaped being entirely destroyed during the siege in 1644. When Scottish prisoners were moved into it the invaders decided not to bombard their own people, so the church survived.
Because of all the fires, battles and ravages of time, the inside looks very different than it did when it started, but the general layout is the same. There are still loads of artifacts from every different century and the feel of the place is still one of sacred peace, and historical grandeur.
We spent about an hour wandering around to look at all the details before we left to go see the nearby castle keep, but could have happily spent two or three hours if we’d had time that day.
I would love to know more about the lives of each of the people memorialized by effigies, plaques and statues.
I would love to know more about the sculptors and artists themselves. How long did it take to carve this stone likeness? By hand?
Who taught the carvers their trades? How long did it take to learn the skill well enough to make something like this?
And my most pressing question of all…
What is down there through this trap door? Is there a tour available?
And would you be brave enough to take that tour?
Tuesday Around the World
Our World Tuesday
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