Image copyright ©Abby Hopewell
One of the many nice things about moving back over towards the west side of England is that I have the opportunity to visit new places.
On a recent Saturday I went to Tewkesbury. My main reason for going was to visit the Abbey as I had heard a few good things about it over the years.
Tewkesbury Abbey was consecrated almost 900 years ago in 1121…therefore I am sure if anyone visits Tewkesbury in 2021 there will be lots of celebration and fanfare on such a momentous anniversary. A date for your diary, perhaps?
The Abbey has a peaceful and welcoming feeling. I do quite like walking around large cathedrals and Abbeys these days….all the many years of being ‘dragged’ around them by my parents as a child and recalcitrant teenager, usually whilst on numerous camping holidays to France, obviously paid off in terms of my appreciation for them now.
These are the things I enjoy most about cathedral/Abbey mooching:
- The smell – I love the ‘old’ smell of large stone buildings. I guess it’s a mix of old wooden furniture, damp, age, candles.
- The size – just looking up and having that sense of grandeur and scale. I enjoy looking up at the roof bosses in the nave as they sometimes display an image (although I definitely need to wear my glasses to make them out)
- The peace – whilst other visitors shuffle about and speak in hushed tones there’s something peaceful about sitting right in the middle of the seating and just taking it all in.
- The windows – the complexity and age of stained glass varies from plain glass to intricate patterns. The sunshine and time of day can bring these to life in different ways and create interesting atmospheres.
- The chapel/s – I like to visit and stand in or near the side chapels as these bring a deeper silence as are often reserved for people who want to pray quietly.
- The shop – there’s always usually a shop of some kind in a cathedral/abbey and it’s a pleasant ritual of mine to have little grockle. I don’t often buy anything but occasionally will find a nice nugget of something – usually a card or something sweet. I often see books and gifts that one wouldn’t normally see or be exposed to on a typical high street.
Occasionally when visiting a cathedral outside normal services the organ will be playing – this is usually the pianist rehearsing and I normally enjoy this (it depends how well it’s being played!)
There was no organ playing in Tewkesbury, but I experienced plenty of my favourite things on this visit. The sun was shining beautifully and the Abbey looked great both inside and out as a result.
The Tewkesbury Abbey Visitor Guide (which was very helpful and informative) ended their introduction note with this sentence:
We welcome everyone regardless of faith or no faith and hope that your visit will bring refreshment to body, mind and spirit.
Well, I think my visit achieved that – so thank you to Tewkesbury Abbey.