U.K. 2013 

Day 13, Sunday

 September 15, 2013


  We had no fire/burglar alarm to wake us during the night.  We woke up to bright sunshine and blue skies, which didn’t last long.  It was very cold but we walked over to the train station and caught the 10:00 train to Cambridge.  

It is only a 15 minute ride. The train station at Cambridge is a little distance from the center of town, so we took a taxi.  


The driver dropped us in front of Kings College.   This was first on our list today.  Cambridge University is made up of 31 autonomous, self governing communities. King’s College is one of the best known, especially for its beautiful chapel with its wonderful fan vaulted ceiling.  It is the largest vault of its kind in the world.  King Henry VI laid the foundation stone in 1446.  It took five kings, four master masons, and an army of craftsmen over a century to build King's College Chapel.  

The interior of the Chapel is breathtaking with its magnificent fan vaulted ceiling.  Every surface is ribbed and groined and richly decorated.  The central bosses of alternating roses and porticullises are carved from solid stone and each one weighs one ton.  

In addition to the magnificent fan vault ceiling, King's College Chapel is also known for its intricate carvings and the remarkable choir screen.  Dividing the Chapel into antechapel and choir, the impressive screen, carved from dark oak with its many interesting coats of arms, emblems and ornamental decorations is an excellent example of Tudor woodwork.  The screen was a gift from Henry VIII.  Above the screen are the casings which hold the organ pipes, dating from the early 1600s.  

The exquisite stained-glass windows of the Chapel are the most complete set of church windows surviving from the time of Henry VIII.  There are 26 great windows, running from the north side of the chapel to the East window, and then down the south side to the West window.  The windows depict scenes from the Old Testament and from the life of Christ.   

With the exception of one period in history, when choral services at the chapel were suppressed by the Puritans, the Choir has been singing services continually for over 500 years, the Choir being older than the Chapel itself.  In modern times, the Choir has achieved international renown through its recordings, concert tours, and radio and television appearances.  The famous Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols was instituted on Christmas Eve in 1918.  Since 1928 it has been broadcast around the world on Christmas Eve, and a televised version was first shown in 1954.  

The chapel measures 288 feet long, 40 feet wide and 90 feet high.  There were so many beautiful windows and carvings to admire, we could have spent the entire day there.  

Once outside, we walked around the court which has dorms and classrooms on three sides, sometime all four sides.   There is one rule- you can never walk on the grass.  Each of the four corners of the Chapel has a octagonal turrets.  On each side are 12 bays with 11 buttresses.  

It was getting close to noon, so we decided to have lunch at the Eagle Pub, which was originally opened in 1667.  It looks like an old pub as there are many rooms.  In the back bar, there is a ceiling signed by the RAF and Americans soldiers during WWII, who wrote their names and graffiti on the ceilings.  When the University's Cavendish Laboratory was still at its old site nearby at Free School Lane, the pub was popular lunch destination for the staff working there.  It was the place where Francis Crick interrupted the patrons lunch time on February 28, 1953 to announce that he and James Watson had "discovered the secret of life" after they had come up with their proposal for the structure of DNA.  Today the pub serves a special ale to commemorate the discovery dubbed "Eagles DNA".  We both had tuna sandwiches, fries and a cup of tea.  The place was very busy and had a lot of atmosphere.   

We left by the side door which was on Bene't Street.  Across the street from the Eagle Pub was the church of St. Bene't, the oldest church in Cambridge as well as the oldest building in Cambridge. Bene't is a contraction of Benedict, thus the ' in the name.  St. Bene't's Anglo-Saxon tower was built between A.D. 1000 and 1050.  Inside the church the 11th century arches supporting the tower is the most notable feature.  In the 13th century the chancel was altered.  The nave and aisles were rebuilt about 1300.   

 Next, we stopped in the tourist office for a map and few directions. As we started down the main street, our first stop was Corpus Christi College founded in 1352 by the guilds of Corpus Christi and the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It bears the distinction of being the only Oxbridge college founded by the townspeople.  The emphasis of this college is on teaching and research.  It provides an academic and residential environment for approximately 54 fellows, 260 undergraduates, 210 graduates and employs 100 staff . We couldn't go in, but looked at the beautiful court from behind a rope as well as the lovely ceiling of the entrance.  

 Walking further up the street, we visited Queen’s College and the famous little wooden bridge.  Queen's College is named after the patronage bestowed by two consecutive Queens, Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI, and Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV.  The college was granted is First Charter in 1446. 

We pass through the entrance and came out near the bridge, known as the Mathematical Bridge.  The bridge was designed in 1748 and was rebuilt in the same design in 1866 and 1905.  The bridge crosses over the River Cam which runs along the backside of the colleges – thus called "the Backs" because the backs are as fine as the fronts of the building.  One can take a ride on the river in a punt.  We had planned to do this but it was rainy and had gotten cold, so we just watched others from the bridge. 


The Queen's College Chapel was a separate building.  It was quite lovely on the inside.  




After leaving Queens College, we stopped at Pembrook College, which is the third oldest College of the University and has over 700 students.  Physically, it is one of the University's larger colleges.  Pembrook is the home of the first Chapel designed by Sir Christopher Wren, who designed St. Paul's, London.  We were able to visit this beautiful chapel .


 On up the road was the Fitzwilliam Museum, founded in 1816.  It had a great collection of old masters including 25 watercolors by JMW Turner as well as works by Gainsborough, Reynolds, Constable, Rembrandt, da Vinci, Titian, Rubens and van Dyck.  The collection of French Impressionist included landscapes by Monet and Cézanne as well as studies by Renoir and Degas.  The Museum building itself was quite lovely.  

After an enjoyable time in the museum, we walked back down towards King’s College. We passed a church called Little St. Mary's or the Church of St. Mary the Less, so we stopped in. There has been a place of worship on the current site since around the 12th century.  The earliest known records of the church state that the first church here, called St. Peter – without – Trumpington Gate was controlled by three successive generations of the same family until 1207, after that date it was given to the hospital of St. John the Evangelist and served by chaplains from that foundation.  The church had been restored several times, the last was in 1880.  The stained-glass windows were interesting in that the figures were surrounded by an opaque glass.  

Further down the street we came to St.  Botolph's Church which is dedicated to St. Botolph, a seventh century abbott in East Anglia, who is the patron saint of travelers.  The church was by the South gate of medieval Cambridge, through which travelers from London entered the town.  Norman and Saxon churches stood on the site prior to the existing church which was built in 1350.

A carved Rood Screen, which separates the nave and the choir, is now the only medieval Rood Screen remaining in Cambridge.  On it are painted panels depicting the Angel announcing to Mary that she is to bear the child Jesus.  The font has a beautiful wooden cover and case that dates from the time of Archbishop Laud in 1637.  

 On the corner across from the Eagle Pub, there is an unusual display in a glass case on the corner of a building.  It is called the Corpus Clock. It is a unique and strange device for the measurement of time. It was invented, designed and given to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, by Dr John C Taylor. The Clock is a "remarkable mixture of very modern design and an ancient setting; of precision engineering and engaging whimsy; of utterly traditional clockwork (quite literally) and unexpected electronic invention; of vast size and extreme delicacy of movement; of unceasing life and imminent death; and it tells the time with absolute exactness and breathtaking unpredictability" .

The face of the clock is plated in pure gold and is made to resemble radiating ripples, as if a stone had dropped into the middle of a pond of liquid metal. Above the universe and dominating the clock is an extraordinary monster. Dr John C Taylor uses the word ‘Chronophage’ for this beast, like a giant grasshopper, meaning ‘time-eater’, for that is what it seems to be doing, devouring each minute as it passes. The Corpus Clock has no hands, or digital numbers. Time is shown by concentric orbits of what appear to be flashing blue lights, darting or progressing at different rates around the circumference of the clock face.    

We had a 6:30 dinner reservation in a nice restaurant across the street from King’s College.  It was 3:30, and getting very cold and windy.  We had one more church we wanted to see, and decided we didn’t want to hang around for 3 hrs. We were both getting rather tired and very cold. We were supposed to have a bad storm, but it just rained…what else is new.  I thought it was cold enough to snow.  

 The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, known locally as The Round Church.  It is one of the four medieval round churches still in use in England. The church was built around 1130, its shape being inspired by the rotunda in the church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem. It consisted of a round nave and ambulatory, and a short chancel. During the 15th century the Norman style windows in the nave were replaced by larger Gothic style windows. The carvings of angels in the roofs of the chancel and aisle were added. A polygonal bell-storey was built over the nave.

 By the 19th century the church was in a poor state of repair. Part of the ambulatory collapsed in 1841.   It is the second oldest building in Cambridge.   It is a Christian Education Center.  We watched a 20 minute video on the founding and  growth of Cambridge and the University.   

Afterward, we found at tea room and had tea and a piece of cake each.  They called a taxi for us to take us back to the train station.  We got there just in time to catch the 5 pm train.  


We walked back to our Inn, and stopped at the Cutter Inn restaurant across from us, and made reservations for 7:30.  As we walked across the street, it started pouring.   

 We wanted to eat lightly.  They had a chicken pot pie on the menu so we thought it would be small, so we had a bowl of potato and leek soup which filled us up.  Then they brought the main course.  There was a large pot pie plus on the plate were potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and snap beans.   We each ate about half of the pie and very little of the veggies.  We were really full.  There were very few people in the restaurant.   


 After dinner, we had to pack for our 4 hour trip to Worchester. We have enjoyed being by the river in Ely, we were in a ‘quaint’ spot.  




Day 1 -Arrival in Edinburgh

Day 2 - Edinburgh

Day 3- Edinburgh to Inchcolm Abbey

Day 4 - Edinburgh to Melrose & Rosslyn

DAY 5 - Edinburgh   

DAY 6 - Edinburgh

DAY 7 - York  

DAY 8 - Durham

DAY 9 -York 

DAY 10 - Lincoln

DAY 11 -Ely  

DAY 12 - Peterborough

DAY 13 - Cambridge 

DAY 14 - Ely to Worchester  

DAY 15 - Tewkesbury and Gloucester

DAY 16 - Hereford         

DAY l7 - London   

DAY 18 - London  

DAY 19 - London   

DAY 20 - London to Guildford, Chichester, Midhurst

DAY 21 - London      OUR LAST DAY