Since the EMREM Forum is taking a break over summer, we thought it would be nice to recap the last academic year (2012-13) in a series of blog posts. This one takes a look at what we got up to on the EMREM summer day trip to Worcester Cathedral, which took place on 16 June 2013.
A short walk from the train station brought us to the cathedral. Building work on the cathedral took place from the late eleventh to the early sixteenth century, and therefore various architectural styles are in evidence. This also meant that the cathedral offered something for all of our EMREMers, whatever their areas of expertise! Despite the grey threat of drizzle, the building looked beautiful, and the EMREM day trippers took full advantage of the opportunity to admire the cathedral’s exterior.
The photograph above was taken from above the bank of the River Severn, which is overlooked by the cathedral. The chancel contains the tomb of King John (d.1216), and is pictured below.
The crypt is the earliest part of the building, the construction of which was begun by St. Wulfstan (d.1095). Also in the crypt was a display of archaeological findings, excavated in the 1980s. These included the body of a 15th-century pilgrim, complete with his staff, boots and a cockle shell token of the type associated with pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
My favourite part of all the eclectic interior decoration is a series of wall carvings depicting the souls of the damned in death. These included one man being roasted over the fires of hell by two demons (below, left), and a series of unfortunate souls being interminably dragged towards the gaping maw of a hell-mouth, already populated by the tormented dead (below, right).
The trip to Worcester Cathedral offered us a valuable opportunity to locate our areas of research within a physical, tangible context which, sadly, all-too-often evades researchers of the past. It was also a fantastic environment in which to discuss our own fields of interest with our peers. Thank you to all those who came along, we hope that you found the day as informative and interesting as we did.
The Worcester Cathedral website can be found here.