Monday 12 August 2013

A Whistlestop Tour of Lincoln Cathedral.

I was most taken with Lincoln cathedral-  the sheer quantity and quality of the Gothic carvings are simply stunning. What I particularly liked was that the modern grotesques and gargoyles sit alongside the original ones and are very much in keeping- there's one inside that dates from 2008 and depicts various scenarios following the ban on fox hunting. The political statements of some of the older ones might be lost on me but I can still enjoy the visual humour they present.
This example is one of the more modern ones.

The next two are wooden carvings- according to Anthony Weir in his book "Images of Lust" mouth pulling figures denoted a warning to those viewing them about improper sexual conduct whereas the second chap is suffering from toothache!

Unusually the cathedral does not have seats. This gave me a far greater impression of what it would have been like in its heyday when the congregation had to stand- only those who were frail or ill were allowed to sit on the seats along the wall hence the phrase "going to the wall".

 One of the many eye catching windows.

As ever it's the real history of the people who worked there or visited that strikes me the most- the groove worn in the floor where pilgrims over hundreds of years have knelt in front of St Hugh's shrine or the misericords [mercy seats] mainly carved and signed by the same Frenchman whose work is also found in the French cathedrals. Following an outbreak of plague he returned to the Continent never to return to complete his task- some of the seats remain in their original plain hewn state.

Finally you cannot help but notice the fuss made of a certain little chap- folktales abound about  him. This one [taken from Wiki] is the most common one.

According to a 14th-century legend, two imps were sent by the devil to do evil work on Earth. After causing mayhem in Northern England, they  headed to Lincoln Cathedral, where they damaged furniture and tripped up the Bishop. When an angel came out of a book of hymns and told them to stop, one of the imps brave started throwing rocks at the angel, but the other imp cowered under the broken tables and chairs. The angel turned the first imp to stone, giving the second imp a chance to escape. It is said that even on still days it is always windy around the Cathedral, which is the second imp circling the building looking for his friend. So to prove that I followed the well beaten tourist path to his door here he is the very same!


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