Stone Faces of Southwell

We had a walk round the outside of Southwell Minster yesterday. We’ve never looked round the outside properly before, and we didn’t have time for a full tour.

The Minster is actually the cathedral for the Diocese of Nottingham, but it keeps the old title as part of what seems to be a policy of keeping itself hidden. Even its own website refers to it as ” the best kept secret among the forty-two English cathedrals”.

As The Association of English Cathedrals lists 44 on its website I have a suspicion that there are two English Cathedrals that are kept even more secret than Southwell. This might be explained by the presence of Royal Peculiars in the longer list. But it may not. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is full of examples of why it’s a good thing to keep out of church business, so I’m not going to dig any deeper.

Seen from the winding country roads that serve Southwell, it is a breath-taking building. I will cover it more fully in the Spring, when the light is better for photography, but for now, here is a selection from the carvings scattered around the outside, some from the 12th century, some from more modern restorations.

The ones at ground level are on the wall of the Bishop’s Palace, though I’m not sue if they started off there.

The ones from the Minster look quite crisp so I suspect they are from recent restoration work.

To round off the visit we visited the tearoom for parsnip soup with artisan bread from Welbeck. Unfortunately, for a man looking forwards to a chunk of traditional bread, it was a rather thin panini that arrived, cut to a point at one end then baked crisp before serving. It was more like a crusty weapon that a meal. The soup was excellent though.

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Soup and a dangerous panini

The misty effect was unintended, it was actually condensation on the lens as the warm air of the cafe met the cold of the camera. The perspective makes the bread look bigger than it really was, and the soup bowl look smaller. That’s what happens when a hungry man decides to photograph his food.

21 thoughts on “Stone Faces of Southwell

  1. jfwknifton

    The Chapter House is worth a visit. You realise that the whole building, and the cathedral is issuing out of the mouth of one Green man…a deity of apparently great importance in supposedly Christian cathedrals.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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