Friday 26 November 2010

Southwell Minster

After Lincoln, I visited Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire. This impressive and largely Romanesque church was an important regional centre within the archdiocese of York during the middle ages. I had been aware of some striking sculpted foliage in the chapter house but was quite unprepared for the breathtaking elegance of the nave which hit me the moment I entered through the north porch. While Lincoln Cathedral was, in the opinion of John Ruskin, worth two other English Cathedrals, Southwell was apparently much appreciated by John Betjeman. "Elegance" is not a word one often hears associated with Romanesque architecture where the focus of writers tends to be upon strength, massiveness and so forth but at Southwell the clarity of forms and sheer lack of any fussiness make a powerful and immediate impression of grace, of beauty, that is lasting.

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