Canterbury Cathedral (May 8)

Having seen a number of beautiful cathedrals in Spain, we probably were not prepared for how completely awesome this place is. It is huge, for one thing, and the history is amazing but we kept thinking about building this massive structure in the Middle Ages! After the murder of Thomas Becket by Henry II, the cathedral became a pilgrimage and the money given allowed the building of this amazing place. Many of the historical treasures were lost to Henry VIII.

It is difficult to see but there are medieval paintings on the ceiling and walls that only survived Henry VIII because the room was sealed up to strengthen the walls and discovered years later.

There are few stain glass windows in the lower walls and many of the tombs, like the one to the left, were destroyed in Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries.

This Antony Gormley sculpture of nails (titled Transport) depicts Thomas Becket. The candle sits where his ornate wooden shrine (now in storage) stood until Henry VIII confiscated the jewels.

This ceiling in the Jesus chapel has the letters M and I for Mary and Jesus (in Latin, of course). So beautiful!

The sheer size takes your breath away. The cloister is huge. Many monks could have and did reside here.

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