A Glimpse of Wells Cathedral

In August I had the opportunity to visit the ancient Cathedral City of Wells in Somerset.  Its iconic Cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of Bath and Wells.  The Cathedral is formally known as the Cathedral Church of St Andrew but it is better known as Wells Cathedral.

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The Ornate West Front of Wells Cathedral

On a large green to the front of the Cathedral Close sits Wells Cathedra, offering a magical view of the West Front.  This part of the cathedral is believed to have influenced the design of the West Elevation of the much larger and later built, Salisbury Cathedral.  In total there are 300 external medieval statues most of which are part of the West Front.

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The Nave looking East towards the Scissor Arch and the Crossing

The present Cathedral commenced construction in 1175 and was finally completed in 1490.  The nave is impressive having a height of 67ft (20.5 m).  Where the Nave meets the Crossover there is an impressive Scissor Arch inserted to provide support for the addition of the Tower.

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A Close-up of the Scissor Arch

The view through the base arch to the Crossover shows an Organ Loft and then onto the Choir and Altar at the East End.

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From The Choir to the Alter and Jesse Window

The East elevation contains the Jesse Window, a splendid example of 14th century European stained glass.

The window is believed to date back to circa 1340 and has survived both Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries and the later Civil War.

Major repairs have recently been carried out to help ensure the survival of the Window for future generations.

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The West End of the Nave and West Elevation

There was an early church on the same site dating from around 705.  Wells Cathedral is referred to as a medium size medieval English Cathedral and described as “unquestionably the most beautiful Cathedral” and “the most poetic of English Cathedrals”.

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Two of the Icons from the Fourteen Station of the Cross

In 2000 Silvia Dimitrovs, a Bulgarian artist in residence at Wells Cathedral was commissioned to paint the fourteen Stations of the Cross as a project for the Millennium.

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The Icon of St Andrew

An Icon to St Andrew was painted in 1999 by Aleksandre Gormatiouk of the Grabar Institute in Moscow especially for Wells Cathedral and dedicated to St Andrew.

 

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The Cloisters

Not much exists of the original cloisters as they were substantially remodelled in the 15th century with a bequest from Bishop Bubwith.

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The Gate House entrance to the Bishop’s Palace

The Bishop’s Palace has been the home of the Bishop of Bath and Wells for over 800 years.  The crenelated gate house with stone drawbridge and portcullis provides access to the palace,

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The Moat

The substantial Moat provides protection to the Palace.

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Moat Panorama

The presence of the moat tells its own story, for in the Middle Ages the powerful Bishops of Bath and Wells were locked in bitter conflict with the townsfolk of Wells. The Bishops, fearful for their safety, thought it prudent to protect their palace with a wide moat and allow access only by way of a drawbridge which could be lifted in case of threat.

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The Bishop’s Palace

This view is of the front of the Bishop’s Palace. The large building towards the centre is the Bishop’e Private Chapel and the ruins to the right are the remains of the Great Hall.  The green in front of the palace is used for croquet.

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The Vicars Close

Vicars’ Close, adjoining Wells Cathedral, is believed to be the only complete medieval street left in England. Built in the 14th century under direction from Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury, the Close was designed to provide communal accommodation for the Vicars Choral, who sang at daily worship within the Cathedral. This centuries-old tradition continues today and is a unique and much valued part of life at Wells Cathedral.

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Wells Cathedral in Sunshine

I hope you have enjoyed this brief look at Wells Cathedral.  It is a magical place and well worth a visit if you ever happen to be in Somerset.

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Stonehenge

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located 2 miles west of Amesbury and 8 miles north of Salisbury in the County of Wiltshire.  Archeologists believe construction took place 3000BC to 2000BC.

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Stonehenge 

A World Heritage site, Stonehenge consist of a ring of stone, many of which are 13ft high, 6ft 11in wide and weighing between 20 tons and 30 tons each.  The stones are located within an area of substantial neolithic and Bronze Age monuments including several hundred burial mounds.

It is now believed that the bluestones used to construct the henge came from the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, which means that  that the bluestones traveled approximately 160 miles from the quarry to the site.

As a small boy I visited Stonehenge on many occasions and was allowed to play around the stones.  Now unfortunately this is not possible to do this as managers of the site, English Heritage, keep visitors well away from the stones.  They also charge around £19.00 per adult to visit the site.

A Close Up of Salisbury Cathedral

One of the great joys of living in the City of Salisbury is of course Salisbury Cathedral.   Its Tower and Spire at 404ft in height dominates the city skyline and can be seen from several miles in the surrounding countryside.

The major part of the construction of the Cathedral is a type of limestone, which has a reflective quality that slightly changes colour in different light conditions.  This can be seen in the following images.

Please click on the address below to see my images and some interesting statistics concerning this iconic Cathedral.  I hope you enjoy.

A Close Up of Salisbury Cathedral

 

Christmas in Cincinnati

Despite temperatures of  -15c I still managed to make some images over the Christmas and New Year, whilst enjoying a family Christmas in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Sourcing a turkey proved difficult for Christmas lunch as only four weeks before Thanksgiving had required some 46 million turkeys.  In researching this statistic I also found that over the Thanksgiving holiday something like 48.7 million Americans travelled 50 miles or more to be with their families, that is a minimum distance of 2,435,ooo,000 miles and producing a huge amount of carbon dioxide.

Here are two images made in Cincinnati: –

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Cincinnati Skyline

This was taken on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River at a viewing station at Devou Park, Covington just before sunset.

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Sunset at Cincinnati

This fine sunset was taken from the 22nd floor balcony of an apartment block overlooking Eden Park and the Ohio River.

I shall be posting more images of Cincinnati on my web site, which can be fond at http://www.chrishotton.com .

Salisbury

As many of you will know,  we have recently moved to the Medieval City of Salisbury.  This City has many photo-opportunities not least of all the fabulous Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, construction of which commenced in the year 1220 and opened 100 years later in 1320.

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A Winter Portrait of Salisbury Cathedral

This is a  view of the north elevation of Salisbury Cathedral.  Evidence of restoration work can be seen to the eastern end of the Cathedral.

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A late afternoon image with the final rays of the sun lighting up the 123m high Cathedral Spire.

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The Great West Door and Cathedral Spire in Evening Sunlight

Dusk is falling and the rays of the sun will soon disappear.  The beautiful west elevation was believed to have been influenced by the earlier Wells Cathedral in Somerset.

The Ancient Ceremony of Swan Upping

For the last nine centuries, during the third week in July, the ancient ceremony of Swan Upping has taken place on the River Thames.

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The Flotilla approaches Marlow

Queen Elizabeth II as Sovereign is the official Seigneur of the Swans, which means she is the owner of all unmarked swans on Britain’s open waters.  However this right is now only exercised on the River Thames.

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The Queen’s Swan Marker David Barber MVO approaches Marlow

There are now only three other owners of swans in the United Kingdom apart from the Sovereign, the Ilchester Family who own the swan colony at Abbotsbury, Dorset and two City Livery Companies, the Worshipful Company of Vintners and the Worshipful Company of Dyers.

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Cllr.Suzanne Brown, former Mayor of Marlow, catches a lift in a Dyers skiff

The Vintners and the Dyers provide crews of Swan Uppers to join the crew representing the Queen under the command of the Queen’s Swan Marker –  David Barber MVO, who has held the appointment since 1993.

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The Queens Swan Marker enjoying a well earned pint at the Two Brewers

This year the ceremony commenced at 9am on Monday 18th July at Sunbury Lock and ended at around 5pm  on 20th July at Abingdon Bridge, a distance on the river of around 80 miles. Traditional skiffs are used  each containing a helmsman and a number of oarsman.

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The Flotilla in Hurley Lock

The crews are distinguishable by their uniforms. The Queen’s Swan Uppers ware red shirts with the royal crest embroidered on the front, The Vintners where navy blue shirts and the Dyers where white shirts. All have white trousers and white sailing shoes.

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The Skiff Crews work together to Corral the Swans

These days the Swan Uppers only check families of swans with cygnets.  These are rounded up  and corralled by the boat crews and once captured taken on shore to be health checked and ringed.  Once this is done they are released back on the river.

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Captured Swans are taken on to the River Bank for a  Medical Check and Ringing

On Tuesday evening at around 5.30pm the flotilla moored for the night at Marlow Bridge where the crews enjoyed a well earned glass of ale at the Two Brewers, the pub where Jerome K. Jerome wrote part of his famous book “Three Men in a Boat”.  This evening is always very popular with the people of Marlow and attended by the Mayor of Marlow and Town Councillors.

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Family of Swans released back into the River

If you would like to see more images of Marlow, the River Thames or River Wildlife please visit  http://www.chrishotton.com/

Sunrise

Sunday 31st July 2016.

Having woken early this morning I decided to get up and head to the river in the hope of finding a spectacular sunrise.

These are two of my captures made between 5.15am and 6.15am.

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Dawn over Marlow Bridge

This is a quiet and peaceful time on the River Bank with only the river birds for company, OH!! and the very loud snoring coming from one of the boats moored for the night.

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Sunrise seen from the Compleat Angler

Yes – that’s how you spell it.