With Some Churches Reopening, Here Are Three Old Churches to Visit When You Get the Opportunity
To say it has been a difficult six months for houses of worship is an understatement.
Hit harder are congregations with historic edifices, particularly those that rely upon admission charges or goodwill donations to cover the dual expenses of preservation and witness.
While the coronavirus pandemic continues to ebb and flow, many notable old churches and cathedrals are once again open to visitors.
Here are three of this columnist’s favorites.
The Cathedral Church of St. Peter and the Holy and Indivisible Trinity — talk about a splendid name! — in Gloucester, England, is overlooked in a country full of spires and crosses.
Yet, visitors may recognize its 14th century cloisters, which feature the earliest example of fan vaulting, from the “Harry Potter” films. Gloucester Cathedral, as it is generally called, is old, but only became a cathedral during the English Reformation, when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries and the former abbey became the seat of the first bishop of Gloucester.
In terms of the present building, it dates to the Normans in the late 11th century, although an earlier Anglo-Saxon abbey was here in the 7th century. The architecture, which varies from Norman to Perpendicular Gothic, blends seamlessly.
Of particular note are several church monuments, including the canopied effigy and tomb of Edward II, king of England from 1307 until his abdication in 1327. The great east window is truly great. As big as a tennis court, it was supposedly the largest window in the world at the time of its installation in the 1350s. Among the medieval stained glass are depictions of Christ in majesty and the Virgin Mary.
Be sure to also visit the crypt with its bold Norman arches and piers with Anglo-Saxon capitals.