Oct 08

Friday Trip to Bath – Part II

by in 2009 Tour, Bath, church, Jane Austen

102_1283thAfter our delightful tour of Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton, we boarded our coach for the short drive to Winchester, where Jane is buried in the cathedral. The sky still looked fairly ominous, but no rain fell as we pulled into town. At left you see the imposing town hall with its central clock tower and Gothic architecture. The cathedral is directly behind this building, and just a short walk up the street, the bustling shops of Winchester await. Because we were already behind schedule, we asked everyone to grab a quick lunch at meet back at the cathedral by 2:30. It was really hard to just rush through the town center, though! Winchester is charming and really fun to browse. There are antiques shops, bookstores, cute boutiques, and all kinds of goodies. But we tried to hustle. My son and I grabbed a quick sandwich at a coffee shop and  began our walk toward the cathedral, meeting up with my husband and mother-in-law on the way. I couldn’t resist popping into one more shop before heading to the church, so they went on without me to wait for the rest of our group. We finally had everyone together around 2:40 and entered the cathedral.

Winchester Cathedral towers above us.

Winchester Cathedral towers above us.

Looking down the side of the cathedral toward the tower.

Looking down the side of the cathedral toward the tower.

A head-on view of the cathedral with its massive stained glass window.

A head-on view of the cathedral with its massive stained glass window.

The stained glass window seen from the inside.

The stained glass window seen from the inside.

From the nave, looking down toward the altar.

From the nave, looking down toward the altar.

Karen and Lily take a closer look into one of the side chambers.

Karen and Lily take a closer look into one of the side chambers.

Looking up at some very early frescoes adorning the ceiling of one of the side chambers.

Looking up at some very early frescoes adorning the ceiling of one of the side chambers.

And a close-up...

And a close-up...

And we find Jane's grave beneath her memorial window...

And we find Jane's grave beneath her memorial window...

Here’s the text of Jane’s Grave in case you can’t read the photo:

In memory of
JANE AUSTEN,
youngest daughter of the late
Revd. GEORGE AUSTEN,
formerly Rector of Steventon in this County.
She departed this Life on the 18th July 1817,
aged 41, after a long illness supported with
the patience and the hopes of a Christian.

The benevolence of her heart,
the sweetness of her temper, and
the extraordinary endowments of her mind
obtained the regard of all who knew her, and
the warmest love of her intimate connections.

Their grief is in proportion to their affection
they know their loss to be irreparable,
but in the deepest affliction they are consoled
by a firm though humble hope that her charity,
devotion, faith and purity have rendered
her soul acceptable in the sight of her
REDEEMER.

Plaque beneath the memorial window...

Plaque beneath the memorial window...

102_1281We spent quite a bit of time in the cathedral, as it has a lot to see. I only wished the choir had been singing during our time there so everyone could enjoy the amazing acoustics in this place. They are incredible. The cathedral is well worth seeing if you are a history buff. King Alfred the Great (he of the English Common Law) ordered the building of the original Winchester Cathedral (the foundations of which you can see right next to this cathedral). He is buried a short distance away in another spot. My son got the children’s map guide to do a scavenger hunt around the whole cathedral, finding out-of-the-way things you wouldn’t notice unless someone pointed them out. We finally tore ourselves away to re-board our coach and get underway for Bath. I snapped the pictures below of the Abbey Gardens, which are so lovely.

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Final view of the town hall...

Final view of the town hall...

We drove off toward Somerset, passing Stonehenge on the way. Unfortunately, they now charge you ten pounds just to stop and park, so we didn’t stop. Everyone with cameras pulled them out and took flying snaps as we passed by!

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My husband tests our group with Jane Austen film trivia questions as we make our way to Bath. It was a close contest!

My husband tests our group with Jane Austen trivia questions as we make our way to Bath. It was a close contest!

img_2154At last we pulled into Bath, two hours behind schedule but glad to have made it. We were already late for our supper reservations, so we just dumped our bags at our beautiful B&B before jumping into taxis to head for Tilley’s Bistro and Sally Lunn’s. The proprietors at Tilley’s were kind enough to give us our special “early dinner” rate, even though we were five minutes past the cut-off time. At left you see half our group “below stairs” at Tilley’s. One of our group decided to go to the pre-festival gathering at the Jane Austen Centre, while the rest opted to eat at the wonderful Sally Lunn’s next door to Tilley’s:

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We all enjoyed a leisurely (and delicious) dinner before heading back to Brooks Guest House for the night. We had much to anticipate, as the Grand Costumed Promenade would kick off the Jane Austen Festival on the morrow! Next time I’ll share photos from our Saturday in Bath!

Bath Abbey, its splendor gloriously lit up at night.

Bath Abbey, its splendor gloriously lit up at night.

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5 Responses to “Friday Trip to Bath – Part II”

  1. From Tiffany Keller:

    It looks like you’re having a marvelous time! Hopefully someday I’ll get to go! I want to do the whole dress up thing too, go to the Jane Austen Festival, & to a ball! This is one more place to add to my wish list, of places I want to visit.

    Posted on October 8, 2009 at 9:42 pm #
  2. From Rachel:

    I love Winchester! Sadly, we always feel we can’t go into churches or catherdrals that charge for entry – it just doesn’t seem right that the C of E charge people to enter God’s house – but it is certainly impressive from the outside.

    Posted on October 9, 2009 at 3:17 pm #
    • From admin:

      As dear Christian friends of ours in the UK say, most churches there are now national museums rather than houses of worship. It’s really sad. :( Bath Abbey asks for donations but doesn’t charge entry, but Winchester started charging for tickets last year, saying that that site is a “historical monument” rather than a church. You can still get into cathedrals like this without paying if you attend morning/evening prayers or choralsong. Many of our ladies did this while in London.

      Posted on October 10, 2009 at 8:50 pm #
  3. From MrsJDT:

    Wow! I’m really enjoying seeing all of the pictures of familiar places! I’m so glad y’all got to go back to the Sally Lunn house, too. I think that was the best meal we had the whole trip! (though the Pizza Hut Bistro the night before was quite the experience… Pizza Hut done upscale, with the addition of American Country Music! LOL!!!) :D Bath is charming. I hope you got to stop by that darling little bookshop near the Circus! Thanks for posting all of the fun for us back home to enjoy! ;)

    Posted on October 10, 2009 at 2:59 pm #
  4. From Rachel:

    It seems to be the cathedrals that have a link to historical/famous names or are very famous for their architecture (like York Minster) that realise they can cash in on it! Most county cathedrals still don’t charge but just ask for donations – but I think it’s probably linked to the decline of the C of E, because there are less christians in the C of E tithing to provide money for the upkeep of buildings.

    Posted on October 11, 2009 at 2:23 am #

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