Saturday, 28 March 2009

A Wonder of Yorkshire on our doorstep

There are many wonders in Yorkshire and recently, local BBC weatherman Paul Hudson decided that his seven wonders of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire were:

Malham Cove and Gordale Scar; Flamborough Head; Hornsea Mere; Spurn Head; The peat bogs of Thorne and Hatfield Moors; The Three Peaks (Ingleborough, Pen-y-Ghent and Whernside); The Wash.

I wouldn't argue with any of these beautiful places being natural wonders however, the original seven wonders of the ancient world traditionally described by Philo of Byzantium were all man made and one of my favourite man made wonders of Yorkshire is the Beverley Minster.

I don't want to dwell on the history too much but the place itself which is both beautiful and iconic - a picture postcard of a historical town frozen in time; indeed a visitor to the area would have seen the same sight over 500 years ago as he or she descended from the Wolds that they would see today driving in on any of the approach roads. The light coloured local Tadcaster stone from which the building is constructed makes it stand out even on a dull day. Started in 1220 AD, the building was completed around 1445 AD and although many alterations have been made since, it is larger than many English Cathedrals and is in pristine condition unlike its cousin in Kingston upon Hull - Holy Trinity which is in a sad state of disrepair.

The different styles harmonised together makes it interesting to view visually with clean detail all around.
There are many fascinating and unique features about the church, such as having the tomb of Saint John of Beverley within it as well as the largest collection in the world of medieval musical instrument carvings. There is so much to see. But what is special about the whole place is the atmosphere. It is open to the public and you are warmly welcomed by the guides who advise on the history of the church and point you in the right direction and leave you with it. Soak in the atmosphere. Take your time and wander through the different chapels, look at the tombs, the decorations, the windows and perhaps meditate in the small chapel within especially put aside for quiet reflection. I have meditated there and it's inspiring.

If you are very lucky, you can climb to the higher parts of the place, rarely opened to the public except on special days - I've never been fortunate enough to have gone up there, but those who have describe it as magical and wondrous.
You don't have to be religious at all to go there and marvel at this Yorkshire building - just enjoy.

By the way, what do you get when you cross an atheist with a Jehovah's Witness?.... Someone who knocks at your door for no apparent reason.

Have a great weekend!

Chat soon


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