After another trip to Tesco to get in supplies ahead of the forecasted snow, we spent the afternoon visiting the cathedral and went on their “Cathedral at Height” tour which took us up 216 steps and down again via tight spiral staircases, narrow passageways, through very small doorways to very high walkways to see a unique blend of medieval and modern history. We got to explore the bell-ringing chamber, peer down on 14th century quire stalls and the Victorian organ, and to take in the panoramic view of the city from the cathedral roof.
All but two of the bells, were relocated to a newly built bell tower that sits in the cathedral grounds.
We learnt that the building that is known as Chester Cathedral today was once a great monastery and it escaped the ravages of Henry VIII. While the monks surrendered the monastery to him in 1540, Henry VIII handed the monastery back as the Cathedral of the newly created Diocese of Chester, so the building was preserved. The last Abbot became the first Dean of the Cathedral while the senior monks became the first Canons. Chester was considered to be a prominent city politically at that time, having links to the sea, to Wales and mid-way between Lichfield and Carlisle, the other major Cathedral cities of the day. The cities of Manchester and Liverpool didn’t exist then.
We went back to the boat and after tea we got ready to spend the night at Laura’s as we’re on babysitting duties from dawn tomorrow.