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On the way to Coventry town centre, we had breakfast at a nearby Toby Carvery. Although quite satisfactory, it was not up to the standard of the Hilton Watford! As has been the case with almost everywhere we have been, it was not easy to find somewhere to park in Coventry. On the way to the cathedral we visited Holy Trinity Church. This is a fine building dating from the 13th century (some parts are Norman). There are many points of interest including a 15th century painting of the Last Judgement.
Holy Trinity, Coventry
Interior of Holy Trinity, Coventry
The Altar and Reredos
Painting from 1430 showing the Last Judgement
The Ceiling at the Crossing
Detail of ancient painting on the ceiling
A piece of furniture which was of interest was called the "Tall Chair". This was constructed in 1833 when the vicar of the church, Rev. Walter Hook, wanted to invite a friend of his, the Bishop of Ross, Moray and Argyll (Scotland) to visit Holy Trinity. Church of England law at that time forbade Scottish clergymen from "setting foot" in its churches so the vicar had his friend carried in on the chair, thus not contravening the rules!
The "Tall Chair"
Sadly, the medieval cathedral was bombed during WWII and only the tower and external walls remained. The decision was made to leave it as a ruin and build a new Cathedral next door. The result is a stunning piece of modern architecture. To walk through the ruins was a sobering and moving experience but that feeling changed upon entering the new building.
The Old Cathedral Spire (viewed from inside the ruins)
Incredibly, some fragments of glass survived the bombing and still "hang on" today.
The Old and the New
The Archangel Michael subdues the Devil (sculpture by Jacob Epstein)
This bridge was created as part of the "Festival of Imagineers". A thousand primary school children contributed decorated paper rolls. Very impressive!
The huge baptistry window (designed by John Piper) is full of color and light.
Behind the altar is an enormous floor-to-ceiling tapestry of Christ in Majesty (designed by Graham Sutherland). There are many other modern artworks and beautiful windows.
As you may have seen from the photo of the nave above, when you enter the cathedral, it seems that there is only the baptistry window but, when you move down towards the front of the church and look around, you see all the other windows!
St Mary’s Guildhall is considered to be the finest medieval guildhall in the country with over 600 years of history. Known to have been visited by Shakespeare, it offers a snapshot of medieval atmosphere, architecture and fine artwork.
Edward, the Black Prince
The Council Chamber
Satoshi and a "friend" on the minstrels' gallery
Detail of one of the windows
On the way to Kenilworth Castle, we saw a sign to Stoneleigh Abbey and decided to go have a look. This is what we found:
The Abbey was founded by the Cistercians in 1154 but very little remains apart from this 14th century Gatehouse.
The guide mentioned that these stairs are cantilevered. According to him, when the stairs were built, the family refused to use them for six months as they felt they were unsafe!
The plaster on the ceiling in this room is considered to be among the finest in England. This is because parts of it such as the leg above, are actually in 3D! The leg comes right out of the ceiling.
The Library was my favourite room
This 2D version of a maid was used as security. She was placed near windows by day and between a candle and windows at night so it appeared from outside that someone was present in the room!
How times have changed! This illuminated manuscript was given to Lord Leigh by his tenants in grateful thanks....
for being allowed to catch hares on their own farms!
This oak tree in the grounds of Stoneleigh is thought to be at least 1,000 years old so it would have been a mature tree BEFORE the Abbey was founded in 1154 - it's hard to get one's mind around that!
From Stoneleigh we moved on to Kenilworth Castle. The weather was perfect - sunny and (almost) hot! The sun on the forlorn ruins made them even more picturesque. If you want some facts, figures and history of the castle, click here.
Some of the gardens have recently been reconstructed.
I think it has been quite a while since that fireplace had a fire in it!
An attempt at an artistic photo
The view from the top of the castle
Another attempt at an artistic photo
We wanted to get back to Coventry Cathedral for Evensong so we had to leave the castle before we were quite ready but we did see all of it and climb all the (many) staircases. As usual, the roads were very busy and "Siri" took us to the wrong car park so we were a little late for the Service. Only the boys of the choir were singing but the music was of a high standard. The setting was Malcolm Archer's Salisbury Service, the responses were by Aston and the anthem was The Call by Vaughan Williams.
We spotted this grey squirrel (actually native of USA not England) on the way back to the car.
I was very ready for bed when we got back to our accommodation!