Sunday, 23rd April, 2023

It was cold this morning but not raining. We set off for Leeds Minster via McDonald's for breakfast. One of the things I have enjoyed about attending church services in England is that most churches have a set of bells for change ringing. When we arrived at the Minster, we found a parking place right out the front and the bells were being rung.

There were about 20 members of the choir and they sang parts of Haydn's "Missa Brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo", also known as "The Little Organ Mass". You can listen to it here if you are interested. (This is not a recording of the service today). The anthem was "O Taste and See" by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The choir was quite competent but not as good as they have been in the past.

From Leeds we travelled to Chesterfield (via a "Greggs" for lunch). Chesterfield Parish Church is the only church in England with a crooked spire. There are a number of theories about the reason for this and you can read about them by using the link above. We knew it would not be open but wanted to visit it anyway. We arrived just in time to hear the clock chime 2 o'clock.

There is a quite lengthy pause between the chime and the strike. Be patient!

 From Chesterfield, we drove to Southwell in order to visit  Southwell Minster which is also a cathedral. Quite a lot of this building dates back to Norman times. The very thick columns and round arches are indicative of this. Once again, there was much of interest inside including many wonderful windows.

The view from the West Door. Note the round arches and very solid columns.

The Quire

There are two lecterns in the Minster. This one is in the Nave...

...and this one is in the Quire.

Inside the Chapter House, looking up

The same as above (but different!)

The Chapter House has a number of interesting carvings.

The Pulpit

Detail of the above

More round arches. Note the thickness of the walls.

An aisle

It is thought that these tiles were part of the floor of the Saxon church which was on the site before the Minster. It is also thought that these tiles were originally part of the floor of a Roman villa.

The Great War Memorial Window dates from 2014

Saint Michael (and Satan), and St George with the dragon

Southwell Minster's website has an excellent virtual tour here. We were disappointed that there was no Evensong at Southwell Minster tonight but we found out that there was Choral Evensong scheduled for St Mary Magdalene's Church in Newark (which is where we were staying). St Mary's is another wonderful building, parts of which date back to the 12th century. We didn't have very much time to take photos before Evensong but did manage some!

The view from the West Door

The Lectern here doesn't have any lions at the base but it is still a wonderful piece of art.

A depiction of St Cuthbert (holding St Oswald's head as usual).

The Altar

The Quire

St Michael with the devil (more than one head this time!)

A peacock on the end of a pew

Ceiling decoration

The choir at St Mary's for Evensong consisted of 16 singers including boys, girls and adults. We learned that some of the singers are Choral Scholars. The music included the responses by Ayleward, the canticles by Wise in E Flat, and the anthem "Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem" by Stanford (a great fsvourite). If you don't know it, you can hear a version here. The music was of a good standard. It was a pity that there were fewer members of the congregation than the choir.

Today was St George's Day in England and it is widely celebrated. St George is the patron saint of England. The most famous legend about him concerns the slaying of a dragon. This scene is repeated in almost every church. Of course, there is no relation between the legend and fact.

After Evensong, we found our accommodation and checked in. Then we went to the "Inn on the Green" pub for dinner. As it was a Sunday, they had a carvery! Lovely roast beef and turkey!

A great day!

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