We were at Salisbury Cathedral this morning (Friday the 15th), too early to have a tour or to climb the steps in the tower, but it was almost better.
We got there after the early morning service, but there’s another service for the students at the cathedral school at 9:00. And the organist stays in between and practices. So we wandered with our brochure guides, admiring the beauty and architecture, amazed at what they accomplished in the early 1200s, and matching up people buried there with what we know of English history, all while listening to magnificent music. It just added to the atmosphere.
And then the kids started to come in, members of the girls’ choir first, blocking out movements for their next performance, and then all the others, including a group of absolutely cute 4-year-olds. (The choir members come on full scholarships between 7 & 9 years old, but since there were such young kids, it must be a regular school, too.) So we went on to the Chapter House to see the Magna Carta.
It’s magnificent. I don’t think the boys realized how much of our human rights and freedoms began with this agreement. The cathedral has one of the four originals left in existence, and they said this is the most legible. It really is—it made me wish I could read Latin! There were translations there, of course, but seeing the actual writing on the original velum was awesome.
Then Blaik and I went back into the cathedral, where the children were finishing their morning service. They sat in the quire for it (gorgeous), sang with the also-gorgeous organ music, then had a benediction and filed out. (Not as reverently as they filed in!) But as they left, the organist let out all the stops with some magnificent Bach – can you imagine hearing that on a daily basis? The kids were gone, the organist finally finished, and we left to take more pictures of the outside (cloudy, drippy day). So like I said, no guided tour, but it was so much more than we anticipated.