Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bare, ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang....

A recent visit to Kirkstall Abbey at Leeds, UK has inspired me with the words from Shakespeare's Sonnet 73.

One line of poetry came to me while viewing these ruins, and at the time I had no idea of the title or the author of the poem.  (Thank you Google) I also have no idea how I was familiar with the poem as I don't remember studying it in school.  Did I actually read it on my own, when I was on a long ago Shakespeare kick?

Bare ruined choirs....

Where late the sweet birds sang...

These were the size of coffins -- very spooky!

Something about a ruined building, particularly a church, is so forlorn. (I  also like pictures of rotting, falling down barns on the prairie.) Abbeys and barns don't seem to have much in common, but they do say much about the culture that created them.When new and proud they both seem somewhat incongruous to the landscape around them, but as ruins, they gradually become accepted by nature, leaving their own quiet dignity to whisper about their glorious past.

Now looking at ruined abbeys is one thing, but I did see other churches 
(not in ruins) on my trip.

The beautiful etched glass in the interior.

I did manage to go to several other places in England:

The interior has been updated quite a bit since the Brontë family frequented it.
(More on this visit on a later post!)

St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle
I wasn't allowed to take any interior shots of this church. I rushed through it with such unseemly haste to get back to our tour bus, that I felt like a hooligan! If I hadn't stumbled over the marker for Jane Seymour's resting place I would have completely missed it!

Bath Abbey
Detail in the abbey door.
(More about Bath in a later post!)

St. Margaret's Chapel, Edinburgh Castle
 This is the oldest part of the castle, built in the 12th century
by King David to honour his mother Queen Margaret.

Unfortunately I didn't visit Westminster Abbey or St. Paul's Cathedral (much to my disappointment) as I had hoped to go all Mary Poppins-like and possibly break into a chorus of "Feed the Birds".

I had a glimpse of St. Paul's from the open-top tour bus as we raced off to some other attraction. So much to see and so little time!

Frequenters of this blog might well be wondering how all this can possibly tie into my fascination with a certain actor?  Well, I seem to remember seeing Richard Armitage in a few church scenes...

At a funeral for Margaret's mother in North and South

Should be happy, but....sad
Getting married in Sparkhouse
About to be jilted at the altar in the season 1 finale of Robin Hood


Getting married to the Vicar of Dibley in the final episode


Unknown said...

I'm so jealous of your trip! Great pictures, thanks for sharing.

Traxy said...

Fantastic pictures! Churches have really nice architecture normally. I’m not a churchy person whatsoever but I like to take photos of architecture and churches are a good place to go to with a camera. :) Looking forward to hearing more about your Haworth visit - the mere mention had me almost jumping up and down in my chair yelping “Oh! Oh! Oh!” but if I had, I believe my co-workers would have looked at me rather strangely!

I’ve only been to Haworth on StreetView on Google Maps, but it looks very picturesque. Ach, one day I shall drag the hubby along both there and to wherever in Derbyshire it is that North Lees Hall is. I may be slightly mad, but I’m mostly harmless! ;)

Phylly3 said...

@Ruth--I KNOW! I'd be jealous of me too! But this trip has been a loooong time coming and the only reason we finally went was because of my daughter already being there!
@Traxy-- LOL I thought that mention of the Brontes would get your attention! The town of Haworth is so lovely, you really should plan a little holiday there. Stay there one night and in Leeds for another. The shopping in Leeds is FAB!

JaneGS said...

What a perfect post--the pictures, the poetry, the emotion. I share your interest in crumbling sacred places--one of my favorite books is Rose Macaulay's The Pleasure of Ruins. Some of my favorite photos from my UK trip last year were of the Whitby Abbey.

I also liked your progression of RA in church photos--nicely done :)

Phylly3 said...

@JaneGS--Wow! Thank you so much!

Avalon said...

Magnificent! I love these photos, thank you for sharing. I love travel photos and sadly not many of my blogger-buddies share these.
I find old churches so intriguing. America does not have many of these.

Traxy said...

@Phylly: Ohh will definitely do that! :D The thing about shopping in the UK when you live there is that you kind of go “meh, seen it” because most shops are chains available everywhere. Wherever you go, there’s a Boots, a WH Smith, HMV, Next and Starbucks, and we’ve got all those in Nottingham. (Basically because it’s a pretty decent town for shopping, actually – we’re spoiled for choice!) So that’s a bit of a shame. Maybe that’s why I tend to end up getting things when I’m over in Sweden, because at least we don’t have the same shops! :)
@Avalon: We normally tend to stay at home, that’s the problem! I’ll take some photos of Sweden next time we’re over (soon, yay!) and show you. :)

RAFrenzy said...

Wonderful, wonderful post, and I would say that even if RA wasn't in it.

DEZMOND said...

oh, what beautiful pictures, I wish I lived in a place like that!

Charleybrown said...

Nice pics Phylly!! You must have had such a wonderful time!

Phylly3 said...

@Avalon--Where I live there are no buildings older than the 1930's and most are made of wood. I am always fascinated by brick and stone buildings.
@Dezmond -- You must have some beautiful spots where you live!
@Traxy -- We have all those stores in Canadian cities too, except I haven't heard of Next. I didn't really have time to shop anyway. I did a last minute gift shop at Heathrow Airport!
@RAFrenzy and Charleybrown -- Thanks for the nice comments!

Anonymous said...

Lovely photos! I love ruins. Not sure the psychology behind that -Keats/Shelley Syndrome? And have seen many in England and Ireland, which evoked imaginative reconstructions of the past.

But, as an avid reader of historical biographies, there's a urge to weep over the splendours of Kenilworth, home of the Lancasters- John of Gaunt, and later Elizabeth's Robin, just outlined in the remains.....


Anonymous said...

btw Dezmond, I know you have incomporably lovely remains, and not remains in your area, I've been there - a long time ago, and fell in love with it.


mulubinba said...

Apologies for being so late in responsing. I thought I had commented on this post as I have a love of visiting churches and abbeys in the UK. I love the connection with RA! (Just look at his glower in the N&S scene ...lol... I think he may have made a good Darcy except for the accent ... that lovely midlands/northern accent doesn't quite gel with the upper class Darcy despite the fact that Pemberly was in Derbyshire).