A Peek at the Cutty Sark

The hoardings around the Cutty Sark in Greenwich have been removed enough this week to see a bit of it peeking out the top.

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A good look at the stern between the hoardings.

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Just for good measure, here’s one of the foot tunnel entrance under construction as well.

The ol’ clipper is certainly looking better than it did four years ago.

The Church vs. The Tower

I was having a look around on the internets today for any events of interest coming up and spotted something for this very evening. All Hallows by the Tower, the church by the Tower of London, was having its triennial ‘Battle with the Tower of London’. This is an extension of Beating the Bounds that happened earlier.  It’s a rather old tradition where young and old folk walk the boundaries of each parish. Partly for ceremony and partly so everyone know just where the boundaries were.

Here’s a blurb from ianvisits.com on this evening’s ceremony:

The ceremony involves a ‘confrontation’ with the Resident Governor and Yeomen Warders of HM Tower of London at the boundary mark shared by the Tower and the Church.

During the middle ages the boundary was always in dispute, and this meeting commemorates an occasion in 1698 when a riot took place between the people of the Tower and those of the parish.

I was a little bit late getting there as I though it started at 7pm when it was actually 6:30pm. Still I don’t think I missed too much.

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Some kids on the side of the church.

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And here comes the procession from the Tower.

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Yeomen Warders

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Hats off!

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And they’re off to walk the parish boundary.

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I didn’t know the route and ended up meeting the procession whilst walking down the approach to Tower Bridge.

Want to see more photos? Of course you do! They’re over on Flickr.

Who’s Got Two Thumbs and Is the Oldest Reigning Monarch?

Somone's Nan

This lady that’s who. The Queen is 85 years old today. For a few years now she has been the oldest reigning monarch after passing Queen Victoria at the 81-year mark. As of May 12th this year she will over take George III as the second longest reinging monarch. She can steal Queen Victoria’s no. 1 spot in 2015. Bring on the Diamond Jubilee.

Cathedral Checklist: Rochester

Ages ago I made a list of all the major cathedrals in England with every good intention of getting around to seeing all of them. I managed to check a few off the list since living here but I should probably put a bit more effort in to it. Especially now that it’s easier to get to other parts of the country now that I’m in London.

A few weekends ago I took the 45 minute-ish train ride from my house down to the Kent coast to have a look around Rochester. It has a Norman cathedral and castle, score!

The cathedral is the second oldest in England after Canterbury, though the nave is the oldest in the land; building work began on it in 1083.

Rochester Cathedral

You’ll have to forgive the quality of the external shots. Silly me forgot to charge my camera battery before heading out to take photos, d’oh!

Inside the cathedral is an interesting mix of styles. One end is very much a Norman cathedral and the other is gothic. Where the two meet up is pretty easy to spot:

Norman Arches, 1.5 Gothic Arches

There was a church on the site long before the Norman conquest, going back to 640, but it was in a poor state after invasions from the Mercians and the Danes (bloody Vikings!).

The first thing that struck me about the nave was the flat, wooden ceiling. Compared to other cathedrals (even Norman ones), the ceiling seems a bit plain. However, the dark wood does make it a bit striking.

Rochester Cathedral

I think the thing I liked the most about the place (after that sudden change in style) was the wall tiles in the choir and floor tiles in the apse.

Heraldic

Neat Tile Work

More Tiles

There was also a bit of a Medieval wall painting at the end of the choir. Would be interesting to know if there were paintings like this throughout the cathedral at some point.

Medieval Decor

One last thing I got a shot of before my camera konked out was of the Pilgrim Steps. The cathedral used to be a pilgrimage destination back when that was all the craze. The shrines and relics were so popular that offerings left at one of the tombs was able to fund the building of the choir and the completion of the cathedral. The stone steps leading up to the tombs are so worn out they are now covered with wooden planks.

The Pilgrim Steps

There’s a decent timeline of Rochester Cathedral at its official website. More of my photos of it and of Rochester in general are over on Flickr.