Commentary and pictures from our trip to the UK.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Bury St. Edmunds

With my parents and three stalwart students (Claire, Kristen,and Justin) in tow, we took a bus ride through Newmarket, the home of English horse racing, and onto Bury St. Edmunds, an old cathedral city. The abbey there was destroyed by fire in the 1400s, but its massive remains, surrounded by a large garden in full bloom, show how big the Benedictine order’s headquarters once had been. It's also the site where a group of English nobles pledged to enforce the Magna Charta in 1214. While we were roaming around, we got to spy on guests assembling for a wedding picnic. Even girls with punk-dye hair and multiple piercings were in elegant dresses, with appropriate feathered hats.

From the abbey, we wandered to a cemetery, where I had to nip behind some shrubbery to change stinky Alistair. I missed this, but Jonathan asked Jeremy, “Daddy, can we go through the cemetery? There’s a lot I don’t understand about them.” He particularly likes skeleton images, which this vast and old cemetery, full of memento mori, provided.

Once through the cemetery, we fetched up alongside a large church. A kindly man walked by, and I asked him if he knew if this church was open to visitors. He smiled and pulled out a key and opened the side door for us. (the retired vicar, who let us in even though he was a Queens Man, a rival Cambridge college), while the students and I represented Corpus Christi. Most incredibly he could have simply pointed us around to the front of the church, but instead let us in to show us the Renaissance side entrance.

The church was rich with military tributes, testimonials to loved ones, and history; my favorite aspect was the hammerbeam ceiling (incredible carvings of angels) and the tomb of Mary Rose Tudor, the sister of Henry the 8th.

After this, we had lunch at a sandwich shop. While Jeremy, Jonathan, and the students toured a local museum, equal parts creepy and interesting, Mom, Dad, Alistiar and I did a little shopping and grabbed a pint before meeting up to take the bus back.


Post a Comment

<< Home