End of the school term. What better way to cap it all off than with a trip to Ripon Cathedral and nearby Fountains Abbey? As I set off with Tristan and his dad to use his home in Ilkley as a launching-pad the snow is coming down and plunging Britain into the deepest winter that there’s been since everyone in the country died those last two times this century that everyone always goes on about because they remember it (despite having died- spooky).
Ripon is beautiful in the snow, although it would probably be beautiful too if it wasn’t snowy. Ripon was only made a proper cathedral in 1836, but it was always somewhat more than just a regular church- along with Beverley and Southwell one of three great churches in the diocese of York somewhat above regular parish churches but lesser than the minster. This is why there isn’t a Leeds Cathedral (and also why there isn’t a Nottingham Cathedral). There wouldn’t be Hull Cathedral either even if anyone had wanted one, probably (although Hull does claim to have the biggest parish church in England by floor space). Ripon is quite small, but it does have a really nice ceiling. Its also cool how they never finished re-doing the interior, so there is this kind of superfluous column which sticks up at the end of the nave. Also, there is an Anglo-Saxon crypt that is one of the earliest extant parts of church in England (along with a similar crypt at Hexham, apparently).
But, the best thing about Ripon has to be its wonderful misericords. Apparently they were made by the same team who did the ones at Manchester, and also the ones at Beverley (though I’ve never been to Beverley). But they’re brilliant! Perhaps it was the useful information widget (you know those bats that have bits of paper with information on they give you in museums and stuff that rotate?) that a priest gave us which told us what they all represented but I think they’re a lot better than Manchester’s. I might return to Manchester Cathedral soon and give them a proper look though… (when I’m back there). Either way, apparently this one inspired Louis Carroll (but to do what?):
This one has a man pushing his mother about in a cart:
This one has blennyms!
Samson carrying off some gates:
Reynard preaching to the birds:
The owl is in fact a worryingly anti-Semitic symbol:
After Ripon, we headed off to Fountains Abbey. Only to find out that its closed Friday in winter. 😥 Look at these magnificent ruins. I can’t because I’ve never seen them in real life: