The Lope: Westminster Abbey

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Westminster Abbey

Lost in the mail...that's the only explanation for Ace not being invited to the Royal Wedding. Well, maybe standing outside the north entrance to Westminster Abbey in an outfit that could be construed as slightly presumptuous may have ticked someone off. (another photo)

Here's the main entrance to the Westminster Abbey, the site of today's wedding between...uh...(Googled it)...Prince William and Kate Middleton. Anyway, the church was begun by Henry III in 1245 and has been added onto many times over the centuries.

I'd love to show you the inside, but interior photography was forbidden for tourists like us back in 2006. I do recommend the audio tour as it really helps explain the many details inside.

Having grown up in the United States' Bible Belt where having a fossil collection can make you a rebel, I was slightly surprised to learn that Darwin was buried with honor at London's Westminster Abby.

As a matter of fact, after Darwin sent a copy of On the Origin of Species to Rev. Charles Kingsley, a leader of the Church of England, Kingsley wrote back to Darwin:

"It's just as noble a conception of God to think that he created animals and plants that then evolved, that were capable of self-development, as it is to think that God has to constantly create new forms and fill in the gaps that he's left in his own creation." Darwin included the comment in future editions of the book.

One of the few areas of the abbey where photography is allowed is the cloisters, which date from the 13th to the 15th century.

To better fit in with the abbey environment, Ace Jackalope found a suitable monk's robe in the gift shop. Though obviously intended as compact apparel, it was sold as a wine bottle cover.

This is the courtyard.

Two Gothic cathedral features are rose windows and flying buttresses. A buttress is an arch-shaped structure that helps support the walls.

Some additions are recent, such as the statues of 20th century martyrs seen above the door.

Nearby is the House of Parliament and Big Ben.

Beside Big Ben is seen the top of St Margaret's, consecrated in 1523.

Beyond towers of the nearby Houses of Parliament is a sight familiar to fans of the Pink Floyd album, Animals: The Battersea Power Station, seen through a curtain of rain. The inactive power station was also used by cybermen in Doctor Who.

As to other royal structures, photography is permitted outside Buckingham Palace.

Of course, the area will be crawling with constables. All the ones I've met have been very friendly and had no problem being photographed.

And the only place I remember not being able to take pictures at the Tower of London was in a chapel and in the room where they keep the crown jewels.

However, you can take pictures of the armor Henry VIII used to protect his family jewels.

Few things Henry wore actually survive. This suit of his armor was made in 1540 when the king was 49 years old. It was really a component system - an assortment of pieces that could be configured for different purposes. In this case, it is customized for combat on foot during a tournament.

The armor was made in the royal workshops in Greenwich under Erasmus Kyrkenar. The etched and gilt borders were based in designs by Henry's court artist, Hans Holbein.

And now for something completely different: While we never did get Ace's picture with a member of the royal family, he did get meet Tim Curry, who played King Arthur in Spamalot. And that's good enough.

I like a king who who knows there's a difference between the airspeed velocity of an African and of a European swallow, thank you very much.

Though the game be afoot, we may never solve the mystery of the missing invitation.


Post a Comment

<< Home