When you gaze at such a big structure you can easily take in the general shape without noticing the elaborately decorated surfaces which make up the whole. Here you see part of the west tower, south-west transept and Galilee porch, all of which are a mass of intricate carving. Just how many man hours went into carving each of the stones that contribute to the little bit pictured here? And how much into the whole building?
The ceiling painting in the nave is more recent and was painted by two men we've come across on this blog before. Henry L'Estrange Styleman Le Strange was a gentleman land-owner in the nineteenth century and it was he who conceived and completed half of the painted ceiling. The other creation he's remembered for is the seaside town of Hunstanton which he had built on his land to create employment in the area. Unfortunately he died young before either was finished. The ceiling was completed by Thomas Gambier Parry who was also responsible for the frescoes in Hildersham church.
There's even more detailed carving inside the cathedral, with just a few coloured spots of light courtesy of the stained glass windows.
I love it when the sun streams through the coloured glass windows and lights up even the darkest nooks and crannies. These arches are in the south aisle of the nave.
In any other location the round arches of the south aisle would attract attention and admiration - they are nine hundred years old after all - but in this building they are largely ignored.
More sun on stained glass. Almost all of the windows are no earlier than Victorian but no less beautiful for that.
In the Lady Chapel you can still see quite a lot of the medieval painted decoration on some detailed carving, albeit much knocked about by Protestant iconoclasts.
I'm very fond of fancy ironwork and especially the wonderful shadows it throws on the walls and floors.
These are the steps that ascend to the pulpit with the shadows of the iron bannister.
The cathedral contains a series of boards on which are recorded all the men of Cambridgeshire who lost their lives in the Great War. Those two Wilsons at the bottom were my grandmother's two brothers.
This memorial is to a gentleman who was the treasurer for the Duke of Bedford's company engaged in the draining of the peat fens during the eighteenth century. I'm amused by his name: Gotobed East! You might think he must have been a particularly hyperactive child for his parents to have Christened him Go to bed (!) but it's probably just the old tradition around these parts of naming children with their grandmothers' maiden names. Gotobed is a well-known, if uncommon, name around here - they fit in just fine with the Hunneybuns and Puddifoots. If I were named after my two grannies my first names would be Skipp Wilson - not bad at all.
And we'll finish off with another peep at the Christmas tree in the Octagon.
Music On Friday
I suppose I should include some church music here but I feel like something a little more like the carving - lively and elaborate. This at least wouldn't sound out of place in church and its title recalls a cathedral. One of its names is "Paul's Steeple" - from the spire on St Paul's Cathedral in London.
"Hang on a minute! St Paul's has a dome not a steeple!". Ah, but the old church that was destroyed in the Great Fire did have steeple and this is a very old piece of music.
To anyone who ever tottled on a recorder or bashed a tambourine as a six-year-old that must be quite a revelation.
(Thanks to Robin Andrea and Roger who first suggested having a little music on a Friday).