25 September 2011

London Week Two: Part 2, Canterbury

On Friday at the end of week two we took a day trip to Canterbury which happens to be one of my favorite cities in the World. It is just a magical place. I first went there in 1972. The English weather cooperated and we had a beautiful day. We began by walking from the coach park to the main gate at the Cathedral in Butter Market Square where we met our lovely tour guide, Margaret, who took us around Canterbury and showed us the medieval parts of the city and the modern sector. One could tell that she was so proud to be from Canterbury; she was a wealth of information. Canterbury was first built as a Roman settlement. Later under the reign of King Henry II, his friend Thomas a Beckett, The Archbishop of Canterbury, was assassinated by four of the King's Knights. This is the basis for T.S. Elliot's play, Murder in the Cathedral and the stage play and film, Beckett. Thomas was made a Saint and the site became a Holy place and attracted many people who went there on pilgrimages. This is the basis for Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. King Henry II is the same king who is the main character in the play, The Lion in Winter that we will see in November. This was also made into a film with Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn. (She won the Academy Award for her role as Elenore). Ironically, O'Toole also played Henry in his younger years in the film Beckett with Richard Burton as Beckett. We all had a wonderful day there. Enjoy the photos!

The Main Gate. The original Christ figure in the center of the gate was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell and the one that is there now was the winner of a contest. No one knows what the original looked like.

Margaret our tour guide on Butcher Street.

At one time if you had fire insurance, a sun would be displayed on your building. This would mean that the fire department would put out the fire. If you did not have the sun displayed, meaning you had no insurance, they would let your house burn. The photo below is above the insurance company office.

The Cathedral.

The Cathedral has been cleaned as you can see in the pictures above. Below are photos of the back of the Cathedral which hasn't been cleaned yet. Notice how dark and black the stone is.

Guinea Fowl that roam The King's School which is on the property of the Cathedral. This one kept chirping away!

Alot of the buildings were made of flintstone (the smooth black stone).

The King's School. Costs $60,000 a year to go there.

My favorite house in Canterbury!

On the corner of the house the figure is of a Native American Indian chief. His hook nose has been chopped off by a lorry (truck) that backed into it.

The Pilgrim's Hospital.

The Weaver's House.

A dunking chair that witches were put into and dunked into the river.

Canterbury also has a few punting boats.

Sarah (Petey Fisk in our play) enjoying the ducks! Her character is trying to save the ducks among other animals in the play.

Here is another connection to the United States. Above the cafe is where it was decided to send The Mayflower to America

Ceiling in part of the Nave of the Cathedral

Beckett in the bottom panel of stained glass

This is where the shrine of Saint Thomas a Beckett used to be before it was destroyed. He was made a Saint rather quickly.

Notice the Zodiac signs on the floor. When I was at Canterbury in 1974 with Dr. Rodney Delasanta of Providence College, my Chaucer Professor, he wanted us to see if we could find a Lybra in the Cathedral to help solidify an arguement he was making in a paper he was publishing on how the pilgrims in Canterbury Tales were going there for their final judgement. Well I am happy to say I found it!!!!

Again where the old shrine stood.

The Black Prince.

Thomas's current Shrine.

A little door for little Chris!

Sam found her initials!!!!

The Cloisters

The End!

Next blog with cover the play, Decade, The Drury Lane Theatre, Blenheim Palace, and my losing my camera!!!!