Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Hops and Vines Part 4......

I know it's been a while but I finally got round to writing about the last day of our Hops and Vines trip in October.

The last day found us leaving the hotel and heading for the Roman City of St Albans, the last place to visit on our weekend away.

Click on photos to bigify.

The city was renamed St. Albans for Alban, a citizen of the Roman city of Verulamium, who became a Christian after having sheltered a visiting Christian priest from persecution.   He was put to death in the 3rd century AD for refusing to renounce his new faith.  Alban was buried on the hillside and is honoured here as the first Christian martyr of Britain.  There is a shrine to St. Alban in the magnificent Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban, which dates back to 1077.

The Cathedral and Abbey Church of St. Alban

The splendid high altar screen was erected by Abbot William of Wallingford in 1484.

The statues in the recesses and the crucifix were restored in the late 19th century.  The altarpiece showing Christ's resurrection is by Sir Alfred Gilbert, who also designed the 'Eros' statue in Piccadilly Circus. 

Tapestry depicting the history of the Cathedral

In the Nave the pilgrims prepared themselves at altars in front of the Norman pillars for their visit to the Shrine, where they prayed for the healing of body and soul.  The paintings on the west side of these pillars can be interpreted as altar pieces.  The paintings were hidden after the Reformation under whitewash and rediscovered in 1862.  Removing the lime-based wash destroyed much of the colour and detail.  If you biggify the photo above you will see the faint outline of some of the paintings on the pillars on the left hand side of the pews.

The stained glass in the Rose Window was designed by Alan Younger and given by Laporte Industries in 1989.  It was unveiled by Diana, Princess of Wales.

Replica of the Wallingford Clock

This is a replica of the 14th century clock which is depicted in the tapestry on the north wall of the Nave.  The original clock was designed and constructed by Richard of Wallingford, who was Abbot here from 1327 until his death in1336. It was amazingly advanced for its time, being one of the very earliest mechanical clocks.  In addition to striking the hour, the clock incorporated an Astronomical section which showed the current position of the stars as well as the Sun and Moon and also the current phase of the Moon.  Not only this, but he clock also predicted Lunar eclipses.  A symbol represented the mythical Dragon, which was supposed to have eaten the Moon whenever an eclipse occurred.

There is so much more to see in this beautiful Cathedral, so if you ever find yourself in St Albans do go and visit it.

Leaving the Cathedral behind we ventured round the quaint streets of the City looking for somewhere to have something to eat and a little retail therapy.

After a nice meal we returned to the coach and completed our journey home.

I hope you enjoyed our Hops & Vines Trip as much as we did.


Lorraine said...

What a lovely looking place and that window is fantastic. Always interesting Pearl. You should be a tour guide as you're far more interesting than most of them!
Great pics. again too. Have a happy new year and I hope things feel a little better as time goes on for you.
Much love, Lorraine xx

Beach Bum said...

Great pictures and post. The clock was fascinating.

Akelamalu said...

So glad you enjoy my little travelogues Lorraine and thankyou. xx

Yes the clock is really interesting Beach, glad you enjoyed it.

Valerie said...

A most enjoyable post, Pearl. I would love to see that tapestry close-up. Yes, I agree - you would make an excellent tour guide.

Akelamalu said...

The tapestry was beautiful Valerie and thankyou. x

Ron said...

Fascinating post!

I love when you post about your travels because you have such a wonderful way of sharing it through your photos and narratives.

AWESOME photos! Especially enjoyed the ones inside the cathedral. I so enjoy visiting various churches, cathedrals and temples, because you can feel the presence of a higher power in each one of them; regardless of the denomination.

Thank you so much for sharing, m'dear! Thoroughly enjoyed!

Have a lovely day.....X

Banker Chick said...

A fitting end to a lovely tour. I love the cathedral pictures.

Daryl Edelstein said...

That was great fun and I learned a bit too .. its fun sharing your retirement ..

Akelamalu said...

I find churches fascinating too Ron. I'm so pleased you enjoyed the photos. x

Glad you enjoyed it Bankerchick :)

I'm having fun in my retirement and I'm happy to share it with you Daryl ;)

CrystalChick said...

Love all the great history!
That Cathedral certainly is magnificent. Sounds and looks like a very enjoyable trip. Thanks for sharing it all with us.

Deb said...

Love being transported to faraway places from the comfort of my home ! You are a fabulous tour guide. Someday I hope to travel and see many of new places I have seen on people's is a huge world out there and I can't wait to explore it !

Akelamalu said...

The Cathedral wasn't as big as Canterbury but was just as interesting CrystalChick.

I hope you get to see the places that interest you Deb. Glad you enjoyed it. x

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i love that you take these trips!

smiles, bee

Linda said...

I need to come over to your side of the Atlantic if no other reason than to visit some of the cathedrals and abbeys and churches!

Not that there wouldn't be a ton of other stuff I'd want to see but ah, the architecture and stained glass and beauty ... be still my heart!

Cloudia said...

Cathedrals do lift the spirit!
And emerging churches do need martyrs....

loverly post!

Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >


Anonymous said...

The cathedral looks absolutely beautiful, and as for that stained glass window....

Beautiful post, thanks for sharing the trip and these photos.

CJ x

Mama Zen said...

What a gorgeous place!

Maddy said...

The rose window is fabulous. Love stained glass. Can't say we're likely to visit any time soon as it's much too far away from our annual Poole hop.

Anonymous said...

Your pictures are amazing. I really enjoyed the stained glass one!

Anonymous said...

Your pictures are amazing. I really enjoyed the stained glass one!

Akelamalu said...

So do I Bee ;)

You really must come Linda, you would be in your element with your camera!

Indeed, on both counts Cloudia

The window was truly A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. CrystalJigsaw!

Yes it is Mama Zen :)

It is indeed Maddy. Who knows maybe you'll find yourself there sometime in the future.

Glad you like them pegbur7 :)

bobbybegood1 said...

Happy New Year! Those pics are gorgeous. Very beautiful city. Cheers!!

Smalltown RN said...

How breathtaking..I can't imagine seeing what you have seen. I remember my visit to England and one of the things I did was visit many many cathedrals and churches, I was always amazed at all of the history.

I noticed you mentioned St. Alban's..I just finished a book by Phillipa Gregory (author/historian) who writes fictional books based on English history and she speak about St. Alban's in her latest book...I just found this such a coincidence.


Mel said...


Travis Cody said...

That's sure some beautiful architecture and artwork.

Akelamalu said...

Thanks bobbybegood2, glad you liked them.

I always find it strange that when I have just read about a particular place it is mentioned on the TV or by someone soon after RN.

Thanks Mel

Yes it is Trav :)

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Anonymous said...

If you biggify the photo above you will see the faint outline of some of the paintings on the pillars on the left hand side of the pews.