Hello, this is Editor Des back from the West Country of Olde England. I’ve chosen this little piece because I liked the story Pauline told me about the nursery rhyme and the 15th century cathedral clock at Exeter.
I’m sure you know you how it goes;
Hickory dickory dock, the mouse ran up the clock. The clock struck one, the mouse ran down, hickory dickory dock.
Anyway, the saying goes that mice used to sneak into the clock to nibble on the fat used to lubricate the workings. Now at some point during the 17th century the Bishop owned a cat, and he cut a hole in the door below the great clock face so that the cat could ea… well let’s be kind and say chase the little wretches away! And this inspired the rhyme!!
Here’s the astronomical clock, and the door with the cat hole;
Thank you Desmond, you told that quite well.
There’s something else of interest in the cathedral. It’s the tomb of Bishop Lacy. After the bishop died in 1455 pilgrims flocked to the tomb, where miraculous cures were said to take place. Now I don’t really believe in miracles but I must confess to touching the tomb just in case. A bit hypocritical of me I suppose, but I have a rather nasty auto-immune condition and thought it was worth a try… I’ll let you know if there’s anything wonderful to report!
Of course there are lots of superb architectural features in the cathedral, including the magnificent vaulted ceiling, the 15th century Great East Window and the Chapter House. I also loved the 14th century Bishop’s throne, made from Devon oak without the use of nails. It’s an incredible 18 metres tall; that’s 59ft for my English friends who haven’t quite come to terms with metrics. (I’m sorry, but you haven’t!) However this blog is about some of the oddities , as I am a bit odd myself.
For instance, there’s a set of carved misericord seats that are the oldest in the country, and everyone loves the 13th century elephant. I do too.
Living in cracks within the outer walls of the cathedral are spiders called Segesria florentina (yes they’re of Italian extraction). Oddly enough, they are nocturnal and have luminous green fangs. Sometimes one will venture out if you gently touch its tubular web. Don’t get too close though as it has a very painful bite.
I suppose I shouldn’t end on such a scary note. However, it might encourage people to say their prayers!
What is your favourite cathedral? And do you know of a special feature you could share with us? Leave your comments below and we will be ever so pleased. BUT DO THE LITTLE SUM FIRST. Pauline and Editor Des.