Pilgrimage to Salisbury
Each year our two churches organise a pilgrimage to a place of religious significance: this year, on 16 March, it was Salisbury Cathedral. The main purpose is probably social; it gives us a chance to meet, talk and share a meal with people we only nod to on a Sunday. We also had a chance to attend a service and enjoy the Cathedral music.
Due to the high winds the rail service was disrupted, so half our party arrived late, missing lunch in the refectory.
The Cathedral was built, on marsh land, in a remarkably short time, 38 years (1220 to 1258) and has a uniform Early English style. There is a hole in the Cathedral floor through which we peered, and saw the water level a few feet below. The 1320 addition of the tower and spire imposed an extra 6,500 ton load on the structure, requiring buttresses, bracing arches and anchor irons to be added over following centuries to stabilise the structure.
After a comprehensive Cathedral tour, we had tea at Sarum College, in the Cathedral Close. When the Cathedral was started, several colleges were established, as well as a medieval school of theology on the site of the present college. The college principal told us about its history and its current range of courses.
Half of our party then headed for home on the depleted train service, while the rest stayed for evensong. It was a very enjoy-able day out with the opportunity to share stories, in the best pilgrimage tradition.