I confess that exhaustion prevented me from sharing yesterday. Our trip is carefully timed so we don't have a lot of extra moments to sit and take a deep breath. Yesterday, however, was a day to be remembered. At the recommendation of a friend I made over the Internet who lives near Lincoln, England, we decided to visit this city to see the enormous cathedral whose history dates back to the 1200's. It sits atop a hill rightly named "Steep" overshadowing the town far below. Certainly everyone in the community knew that God's house was most important, and they could not ignore it.
Approaching it made me feel like a dwarf and it is easily one of the most beautiful cathedrals I have ever seen. The vaulted ceilings raised high above the floors were an architectural masterpiece. Massive pillars rising up from the floor to hold the weight of the ceiling boggled my mind. In addition, the stained glass windows showed scenes in the life of our Lord as well as scenes from the history of the kingdom. So much history, beauty and majesty rolled into one building.
In one corridor of the cathedral, there was a glass case containing the second copy of the Magna Carta. Lincoln is the only town to have a copy of this important democratic
document signed by King John. I never knew that and no travel book I have read even gives mention to this fact. Our travel book by an expert in the field, totally missed Lincoln and its beautiful cathedral.
From the castle, we crossed the old town square to the fort and prison. This castle square provided protection for the community and punished the evil doers. The prison chapel had an interesting history. Prisoners were brought each Sunday with their heads covered so they could not recognize one another. They were dropped in to slots by jailers. Only their eyes could look up to the preacher once the head covering was removed and their seats were slanted so they could never relax or fall asleep during the two to three hour sermon. I wonder if pastors could use that technique today to keep their congregations from sleeping?
Within the fortress walls, the court building sat which is still in operation today. Amazing how some things never change.
Following our tour of these sites, we found our bed and breakfast and met up with my dear English friend and her husband who took us out to a delightful pub for a great meal. The fellowship was sweet, and I am so happy we had a chance to meet face to face.
Today found us once again on the road to Stratford on Avon to see the birthplace of Wiliam Shakespeare. Having loved English literature and performed in several plays by the Bard, I enjoyed this trip even though it rained all day. Our "Tom Tom" got us to a covered garage and from there we walked with our umbrella into the old town of Stratford. Despite the cold drizzly day, our hearts were warmed to see his humble dwelling place. He married a local girl at the age of 18 and fathered three children - a daughter and twin sons one of which died.
We were unable to make it to Anne Hathaway's home (his wife) due to distance and the weather. However, we paid a visit to Hall's Croft the home of his daughter Susanne Shakespeare who had married a doctor (Dr. John Hall). The home reflected their wealth for the time in which they lived. We learned something we had never heard before while there. One of the guides said that boy babies died more often than girls so parents dressed them in dresses and let their hair grow into curls so that the devil would not know which was a girl or boy and thus the child would not be taken. Green and red were power colors at that time so infants often wore those colors to ward off the devil. What an interesting fact! Now I know why so many paintings of boys showed them in dresses during that era. It was the only thing the parents had to protect their children as medicine had not yet provided answers for sickness that could bring death.
A short walk further took us to Trinity Church where Shakespeare, his wife Anne and his daughter and her husband are buried near the altar. It is very interesting to see people of note buried in the church floor. I know the same is true in many of the cathedrals we visited.
As a side note, we stopped for a treat after lunch and enjoyed a sinfully rich
Belgian hot chocolate drink with real whipped cream and a biscuit (better known as a cookie in the States. I have never had such a pleasurable cup of hot chocolate in my life!
This evening,we made it to Warwick and are at our bed and breakfast as I write. We actually struck out on our own and found a friendly pub close by that had a special on fish and chips. Pubs are so unique here. It is like a friendly gathering place for men and women that serves food as well as drinks. The haddock was fresh and delightful....so move over Long John Silver and all the wannabes.
In the morning, we plan to visit Warwick Castle before heading on to London. Do continue to pray for us as we are a bit nervous about returning our vehicle at a large airport. However, my husband deserves a star for his stellar performance this week in driving.
Be watching Facebook for pictures as I cannot find a way to transfer them to Blogger from my IPAD at this time. Blessings to you all my friends!