Visiting the OU and Coventry Cathedral

Official Publication Day for Follow A Star found me at the OU in the Hub while Tom presented a paper to prospective PhD students. 
It’s been a busy time for both of us so rather than travel all the way back to west Wales we stayed at a Premier Inn overnight then went off to see Coventry Cathedral. Like the Mappa Mundi at Hereford Cathedral a few weeks ago, it’s one of the places we’ve always meant to see … I’m so glad we finally made the effort. It was a profoundly moving experience, marked throughout by poignant reminders of the horrors of the Coventry blitz on 14 November 1940 yet tempered by all the love, care and craftsmanship poured into the building that rose from the devastation. 

We arrived early and wandered round the remains of the ruined cathedral before crossing over to the new building just as it opened. Here are some of the places where I paused for reflection.

Ecce Homo, sculpted by Jacob Epstein

Detail from the West Screen in the new cathedral.
Designed and etched by John Hutton, it links the old and new building

The font in front of the stunning Baptistry Window

Detail from the Baptistry Window

One of the eight Tablets of the Word

The Chapel of Christ in Gethsemane

The Charred Cross

The Tapestry of Christ in Glory, designed by Graham Sutherland,
 it's the world's largest tapestry

With those images still flooding my thoughts after we came home, I posted a photo from my visit on Twitter which prompted a response from a friend who knew the cathedral well. She was kind enough to send me the link to her poem about the place which I invite you to read.  You can find it here


Victoria Lamb said…
Lovely photos, Chris! Thanks for the link to the poem too. ;-)

Chris Stovell said…
Thank you, Victoria. Your poem really resonated with me after my visit - especially the last four lines.
Unknown said…
Beautiful photos - brought back memories of my only visit there when I was about 12. Let's say that was many years ago and I'd love to return.
Angela Britnell
Chris Stovell said…
Thanks, Angela - I really hadn't expected to be so moved by my visit. I'm so glad we made the time to see the place.
Chanpreet said…
The Cathedral is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing pictures and that lovely poem. :)
Chris Stovell said…
It's a lovely place, Chanpreet, thank you and for reading the poem.
Teresa said…
It was meant to happen this time. Like a perfect bow to an extraordinary gift you both worked so much to have.
Lovely images. The pictures are perfect and allow us the awe and reverence that such place and history deserve.
Now, no time for chat as I need to check the link.
Love and (once again= Congratulations to both,
Chris Stovell said…
That's a lovely way of putting it, Teresa - it did all seem to come together this time. The weather was perfect for walking round the ruins and then to see the sun streaming through The Baptistry Window, and it was good to have the place largely to ourselves before the crowds arrived. Cx
Frances said…
Chris, I have yet to visit Coventry Cathedral myself, and so thank you very much for sharing your impressions of this unique place with us. Lots of spiritual air around that place. I imagine that every visitor who takes a bit of time in that visit will leave the Cathedral with many new thoughts and many rich memories.

Flowerpot said…
Fabulous poem and I love those windows. Also to say I'm reading Follow A Star and loving it! x
Chris Stovell said…
I was profoundly moved by my visit, Frances - to my surprise - and seeing the Charred Cross actually brought tears to my eyes. I'm very glad we got to see the cathedral at last.x

Aw, Sue - thank you!x

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