Saturday, 12 September 2009

In the eye of the beholder

A comment on my last post makes the point that what may seem fairly new to us here in the UK will seem ancient to those in the New World. There's truth in this, and in this Benefice of 11 churches where 10 of them have roots that go back 1000 years, the Victorian re-build at Flixton seems positively recent.

Yet I stand by my comments about the cathedral in Bury St Edmunds feeling like an overgrown parish church. Compare these two photos, the top one is of one the nave of Bury and the bottom one of the nave at Norwich and you'll see where I'm coming from.

Bury simply isn't on the same scale, and for me, doesn't come close to my mental image of a cathedral. That's not to say others won't prefer it or find it more homely, warm and welcoming than the huge echoing vaults of history. And of course the reality is that it was built as a parish church and was only upgraded when the Diocese was formed.

1 comment:

  1. Late on this one. It doesn't help that the nave is end-of-the-road Perpendicular, constructed at a time when the builders knew how to pare down the substance of the structure to an absolute minimum. It looks thin and weak - the phase of Perpendicular that the Church Commissioners' architects loved to copy in the early 19th c and that Pugin loved to pillory, both in the original and in the imitation.

    Guess the solution to the cathedral problem may be to find yourself a living of fifteen or twenty churches in Norfolk?

    Nice chalice. Maybe you should count yourself fortunate they left you its twin. Good luck trying to pry it from the diocese. I can imagine now some of the many reasons they will give for not returning it.