Carlisle cathedral

One of the sights of Carlisle I didn’t talk about in last week’s post was its cathedral. I felt it warranted its own post.

Like most buildings in and around the city it is built of red sandstone, however, its upper portion also includes grey brick. What started as a Norman priory church in 1122, became a cathedral in 1133 and has remained a place of Christian worship.

The low arch and wall at the side of the cathedral is the only part of the original cloister of the Augustinian priory which was in this location previously.

The inside of the cathedral is equally amazing, with intricate carving of the seats, stunning stained glass work and to top it off, a beautiful blue ceiling covered in stars. Apparently one of the silk-covered ceiling panels is missing a star. I didn’t take the time to find it, however, can imagine it being a good way to occupy a child during a church service. Until it finds the panel that is! Maybe it doesn’t actually exist and hence it remains a permanent way to keep the child quiet.

The cathedral is also home to a beautiful organ and the organ scholar was practising while we were in the cathedral. I don’t know that much about organs, although I should as my grandfather was an organist. The cathedral’s website explains it “dates from 1856 and is one of the treasures of the Cathedral. The organ has 4 manuals, 72 stops: Pedal 18 stops, Positive 14 stops, Great 13 stops, Swell 14 stops, Solo 13 stops; almost 4000 pipes and still includes pipe-work by its creator, “Father” Willis.” That doesn’t mean very much to me, I remain admiring of the decoration of the visible pipes and their sound.

I was able to take that last picture of the organ scholar because we happened to be at the cathedral on one of the days the tower was open to visitors. More about that next week!


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