Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Stones of Catholic England


This photo shows the outer wall of the cottage we stayed in. North Yorkshire had many famous abbeys and priories in the Middle Ages: Whitby, Rievaulx, Rosedale, Bolton, Jervaulx, Byland. Clearly, this stone was ripped from one of these buidlings in the wake of Henry's vandalism and used to build the cottage. It reminded me of one of the chapels at Ampleforth. It's the altar stone in St Benet's Chapel:

The altar-stone was found being used as a plain stone step in a local farmyard where it had, presumably, found its way after the dissolution of the monastery by Henry VIII in the 16th century. But the crosses carved into the centre and the corners are perfectly visible, and also the well for the relics of the saints over which mass could be said. After so much has happened, it is good to know that it is once more being used as it was intended to be.

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