Wednesday, 2nd November, 2016

Today we drove to Grantchester, a little town not far from Cambridge. This is where the TV series "Grantchester" is filmed. It is a quintessential English village.


The Church of St.Andrew and St.Mary, Grantchester



The Nave



The Pulpit (over 300 years old). Note the little door above which has not been used in about 400 years! There used to be a screen dividing the chancel from the nave and the door gave access to the top of it. The screen was removed at some point in time, leaving the door!



The lectern - no eagle this time



This part of the church was built in the 14th century.




This mosaic depicts a pelican piercing its own breast in order to feed its young. The pelican was believed to pierce its own breast with its beak and feed its young of its blood. It became a symbol of Christ sacrificing himself for man – and because of this was frequently represented in Christian art. The belief probably came about because of the pelican’s red-tipped beak and very white feathers, and because long-beaked birds such as the pelican are often to be found standing with their beaks resting on their breasts. In addition, the Dalmatian pelican's pouch turns red during the breeding season.




The Organ


This tea party is taking place at The Orchard Tea Room which was founded in 1897. It served afternoon tea to those who had punted up the River Cam from Cambridge.

apple tree

Some of the trees were still bearing apples.



The garden was lovely!



A duck in the River Cam, just near The Orchard Tea Room.




Did you notice the cormorant at the top of the tree in the previous photo?



A stile is used to get over a fence easily without letting any livestock out.


old vicarage

This house is known as the Old Vicarage. The poet Rupert Brooke lived here for some time.



No prizes for working out who this is in the front garden of "The Old Vicarage"!

Then it was back to Cambridge.


round church

This is the imaginatively-named Round Church. The lower part was built in 1130.



Note the huge and very solid Norman columns and round arches.




A window showing the body of Jesus being placed into a tomb.



A window (!)



This is St.Clement's Church in Cambridge (built in the 13th century). At this point, you might be wondering just how many churches there are in Cambridge, a city with a population of 124,000. The answer is over thirty!


The church is showing its age and needs a lot of work done. The roof is leaking, causing damage and a very musty odour.



coffin lid

This is a coffin lid from the 13th or 14th century. It might be a representation of the Grim Reaper (note the hour-glass in his right hand).



The River Cam and the punts looked great in the evening light.



I have seen this swan and cygnet on the river several times.




Did you notice the rooftop restaurant in the previous photo? It's the Varsity Hotel. We visited the establishment and took some photos of the sunset. Indoors, I had the best gin and tonic I have ever tasted. It was Portobello Road No.171 gin with 1724 tonic water and some zest of grapefruit. Absolutely wonderful! (Should be too - it cost £6.25 - about $13!)




After this pleasant interlude, we headed to St.John's College for the All Souls' Day service. This was a Sung Eucharist in which people were invited to remember loved ones who have passed on. The choral setting of the Service was Faure's Requiem with orchestra. The choir and orchestra were in the sanctuary of the chapel and a portable altar was set up in the centre. The chapel was lit by candles (with a very minimal amount of electric light).

Faure's Requiem is well-deservedly very famous for its beauty and it is often sung. I have heard it in a number of concerts over the years but have never heard it sung with anything like the skill and musicality that I heard this time. The music was indescribably beautiful. Every note was perfect. Every phrase was perfect. The three soloists (from the choir) were perfect. Words cannot possibly convey what it was like. At the end I could not even speak. It sounds a bit strange, I know, but it was so beautiful that it was almost too much to bear. It was a very special moment, easily the high point of the trip so far.

After the service we had dinner at the Strada Restaurant and then we went to Corpus Christi College for another All Souls' Day service with... Faure's Requiem again! This time it was 9:00pm. This chapel was also lit with candles but, sadly, that is about the only similarity with the previous service. There was no orchestra. The baroque-style organ of the chapel was not really suited to the style of the music and the choir was... OK, even quite good... but just not up to the standard of St.John's.

< Back   Forward >

Back to Calendar