Monday 31 January 2022

A visit to Guildford

Guildford is a town in Surrey, 28 miles southwest of the outskirts of London. It has a cathedral, a castle and a university. I've visited the university on several occasions for meetings but I've never visited the town itself but today, John and I decided we would visit the cathedral and the castle. We went by train as we both have senior rail cards and it meant we didn't have to worry about parking. I enjoyed the opportunity to view the countryside we went through rather than concentrating on the road. The cathedral and the castle are in opposite directions so we decided to start with the cathedral. Before leaving I'd taken Picasso for his yearly check up and vaccinations so we left late morning and were hungry by the time we got there but they had a very good cafĂ© and we enjoyed a tasty lunch.

The Cathedral church of the Holy Spirit, usually just called Guildford Cathedral stands on land that was donated to it. Richard Onslow gave the original 6 acres and then Viscount Bennett, (click HERE  for more information about him) who was Prime Minister of Canada between 1930 and 1935 bought the remaining land needed and donated it to the Cathedral in 1947. The Cathedral was designed by Edward Maufe ( more information HERE) and was built between 1936 and 1961. From the outside it isn't as pretty as older cathedrals because it's made of brick but it is impressive. The photo from the front doesn't show the tower.

Once inside you enter an amazing space with a wide nave and a soaring ceiling. The space is very light and has a calm and spiritual atmosphere.

The Cathedral is built on stag hill and when walking in the nave I found a brass stag in the floor. The stag appears several times around the building.

One of the things I like to do when visiting places is to identify any textiles. Guildford Cathedral has a strong textile history. It is a former wool town and a feature of Guildford wool was its blue colour. The main colour in the Cathedral is blue with gold and red used along side it.

This cope is known as the wigwam cope and was designed and embroidered by Beryl Dean in 1962. The design was inspired by the archways and windows of the cathedral

The second cope on display is the consecration cope 1962. This isn't the original cope worn at the consecration of the Cathedral. The original was designed by Lady Maufe in 1946 and made by the Royal School of Needlework using wedding dress silk. On the morning of the consecration, after 12 years of being exposed to light the fabric was found to have rotted and it had to be hurriedly stitched together using long tacking stitches. The cope on display is a replacement for, and a copy of the original


The next two embroideries adorned the pulpits.

The Cathedral banner depicts its dedication to the Holy Spirit. It was designed by Sir Edward Maufe and stitched by Mrs Doris Halliwell over a two year period.

The front on the High Altar was rather magnificent. Sir Edward Maufe designed a series of frontals for the High Altar which were made by the Broderers Guild in the early 1960's

I liked the embroidery on the frontal in the Lady Chapel.

The Cathedral was beautiful but also very different from the older cathedrals in the UK. It was very light and airy and there was a lot to look at but it didn't feel cluttered. We had a great day out, with the sun shining cheerily even though it was cold. We had planned to visit the castle but we decided to head home as the sun started to fade and the temperature dropped. We are planning more trips out and about this year since we haven't really done very mush over the last two years.

Tomorrow is February 1st and the start of International Embroidery Month. I am hoping to keep up with the Crabapple Hill stitch-along this year.  For now I need to finish sorting out my embroidery floss in preparation. The embroideries are small so I should be able to complete most of them in the evening.

Take care


1 comment:

  1. Wow! That's quite a difference between exterior and interior appearance. What lovely textiles they have on display! Thanks for sharing your day with us, Lyndsey.