Cathedrals: a continuing story.

Southwell Minster

Southwell Minster is just 36 miles away and offers much reward for your journey. There is an excellent cafe in the grounds, the popularity of which indicates its quality, but there are other places to eat nearby, one of which has a terrace looking out across the cathedral green.

From the outside the 'Pepperpot Towers' are very noticeable and once inside the the Romanesque style of the nave is very impressive. The nave, transept, central tower and two western towers are are highly regarded examples of Norman architecture. The choir is Early English in style and the chapter house is renowned for its extraordinary carved stone leaves and "green men". The Chapter House is widely considered one of the most beautiful buildings in England and the great architectural historian, Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, devoted a complete book to its glories. Because there is no central supporting column the star shape roof of The Chapter House can be fully appreciated.

For me, a very appealing feature of Southwell is the vibrant musical life there is there.

'Music is nothing more than a Decoration of Silence' (Marsilio Ficino, c.1485)

But what a beautiful space in which to listen to decoration of silence. The main nave has a good acoustic and I have heard large scale works there that were very distinctive, indeed one where a standing ovation was immediate and involved everyone who could stand. There was a guitar recital there recently and the choir provided an excellent space for that. There are regular Friday Lunchtime Recitals covering a range of music and the Cathedral has recently started to provide food and hot drinks in the transept at the times of these performances.

There is an excellent summer music festival there. Unfortunately, that festival will be over by the time this article is published I think. It is perhaps worth making a note to visit next year though and there are other concerts there quite regularly.




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