Wells Cathedral - Essay Example

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uilt in the 12th and 13th centuries, Wells Cathedral is known for its soaring arches and unusual interior design. This cathedral is one of my favorites because there is always something to see that one didn't see before…
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Wells Cathedral
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"Wells Cathedral"

Download file to see previous pages The site was founded as a church in about 705 A.D., and the beginning of the present cathedral originated under Bishop Reginald de Bohun, who died in 1191 (ed. David Nash Ford, 1924). The building of the present cathedral continued until 1239, under Bishop Jocelyn of Wells. The decoration of the West Front was completed in about 1260.

The entire West Front is a three-dimensional storyboard, even marking major liturgical holy days and seasons. The open space of the walkway leading to the West Front with wide swaths of green grass gives one the chance to gain a perspective from distance or close proximity. There is a feeling of freedom in this area, but also one of magnificence and reverence.

On the exterior, the eyes lift to the many statues of saints and angels; each wall depicts the honor or story of biblical figures in intricate detail. The closer one gets to the cathedral, the more awe-inspired one is at the sheer majesty of this building; one can feel the presence of the hundreds of masons and stone carvers that crafted each detail.

The sounds and smells of the street market close to the cathedral fade as all attention is drawn to the sheer magnitude of the West Front, invoking powerful feelings of being in the presence of master stone masons by the hundreds whose spirits still stand guard.
Upon entering the nave, the sight of inverted arches within is almost shocking. These innovative arches were installed in the 14th century when it was discovered that the massive 160-foot central tower was causing its supporting pillars to sink into the ground under its weight. The inverted arches solved the problem of supporting the tower and have held up for seven hundred years. The arches give the interior of the cathedral a sense of being alive, observing pilgrims, visitors, students and worshippers as much as they are observing it. One immediately gets the feeling that the cathedral has recorded the presence and movements and activities of every person who has passed through its doors.
The eyes are immediately drawn to the choir with its massive organ pipes and welcoming open space at the end of what feels like a narrow and demanding passage through the nave; walk through the center and you will be rewarded, it seems to say. Walk the good path.
Looking up, the fan vaulting gives a sense of solace and praise. There is gentleness amongst the power expressed in the architecture. Shadows move across the fan vaulting from the hundreds of stained and leaded glass windows, and it is difficult sometimes for the eyes to discern whether the carvings are moving in relation to the observer or the other way around.
The acoustics are masterfully executed in the placement of each stone and arch; footsteps echo, voices, even hushed, can be heard clearly. When the massive pipe organ begins to play, one can feel the vibrant sound through the body and the church seems to come alive.
Upon descending the staircase to the Chapter House, the stone stairs reflect centuries of use; they can be slippery, and having to slow down while descending brings attention to the incredible acoustics in the stairwell. One recording was done there already, a haunting song sung in Gaelic with no sound effects needed. The natural acoustics of this particular stairwell provide an ethereal echo to the voice, making it a natural attraction to singers. Here one lingers, the sense of being still in a place of movement and the chill of retracting from the sunlight ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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