On Wednesday 23rd September fifty one of our members boarded a coach for a trip to Salisbury. We arrived at 11a.m. and had plenty of free time to explore before the main purpose of our visit.
Some of the group went shopping, some explored the Medieval City Centre with its’ wonderful architecture and some took a stroll along the river bank.
Quite a few of us visited the National Trust property in the Cathedral Close. Mompresson House is a beautiful building in the style of Queen Anne. In 1995 some of the rooms were used in a production of Jane Austens’ “Sense and Sensibily” starring Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman. As well as an exhibition of some of the costumes used in the production, the house offers much to admire. Magnificent plasterwork ceilings, period furniture and the house is home to the Turnbull collection of 18th century drinking glasses and a variety of paintings.
After lunch, we assembled outside the Cathedral for our guided tour. Salisbury is an Anglican Cathedral and has the tallest spire in Britain. The architecture is early gothic (13th century). It houses Europe’s oldest working clock which dates to circa 1386. The clock has no face as at that time a bell was used to ring out the hours.
In the centre of the main aisle is a flowing water font. Designed by William Pye, the font was consecrated in 2008 to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the Cathedral. It is a working font, used regularly.
During the week prior to our visit, there had been a flower festival in the Cathedral and some of the hangings were still in place. Also of interest is a Cathedra Chair, known as a Bishops’ Throne, any church which has one of these chairs installed is allowed to call itself a Cathedral.
At the end of the tour is the Magna Carta exhibition. The Cathedral is home to a fine original specimen of this historic document, signed by King John at Runnymede in 1215. Its legacy is the cry for Freedom, Justice and the rule of Law all over the world, principles which people still fight and die for today.
We ended our visit with a traditional cream tea in the refectory in the Cathedral.
(On the way back to the coach we passed a row of 25 life sized, individually decorated medieval Barons. These had formed an art trail through the town during the summer and are to be auctioned off for charity on October 1st.)
We arrived home in Bicester at 6.30pm after a thoroughly enjoyable day. Joy is to be thanked and congratulated for her organisation of the trip, we even had beautiful weather!