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I took the train from London to Winchester to see its cathedral, which never fails to impress. It was nice to be back in familiar territory.  The French churches are new friends, whereas Winchester cathedral is an old friend. 

This great church will probably start off a new class for Osher.  Winchester was the capital of Anglo-Saxon England, remaining an important location after the Norman conquest, so the bones of both pre-conquest rulers and Rufus, an early Norman king, are kept within the cathedral.  Only one problem…the bones were all mixed up during the commonwealth period (from 1649  when Cromwell’s forces beheaded Charles I  until the restoration of the monarchy in 1660).  These bones are kept in mortuary chests and continue to receive DNA testing.

During the commonwealth period, soldiers came into the nave and did some target shooting with their muskets, aiming at the stained glass windows.  Local townspeople gathered what glass they could and eventually the west window was recreated with the glass remains.  They were unable to recreate any recognizable images,  so the window images have an abstract quality.  All other windows in the church date from after the Middle Ages.

When visiting an English cathedral, there is often a pause at the top of the hour when the clergy on duty asks those to either listen to a prayer, or to have a moment of silence if one is not a Christian.  I have long loved this practice.  It is respectful of the different beliefs that visitors may have, yet still reminds all present that this is the House of the Lord.

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