Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The Essence of Tranquility.


                                 

I spent four formative years living in the medieval building on the left (above); it was quite an experience. I wish I could show you more of it as it's far more interesting than it appears in the photo. It's reputed to be the oldest residential building in Europe, and is my alma mater.

Directly opposite the entrance to my old study/bedroom etc stands the wonderful Prior Crauden's, and Undercroft Chapels (on the right above, and below), a spectacular small, two level, medieval gem.

                                               

At ground level there are two large wooden doors. The one on the right leads directly into the Undercroft Chapel; an interesting but unremarkable vaulted room. The one on the left leads into a very tight, one person, stone spiral staircase (below), and up into the delicious Prior Crauden's Chapel.

                                   Medieval spiral

The Prior Crauden's Chapel itself is a very small, intricately carved, little room with a most extraordinarily peaceful atmosphere. When at school, I would often go up there just to sit and read a book. The place was always empty, and I was guaranteed the peace and quiet that I sought (I haven't changed). I would spend hours up there, and it amazed me that others didn't do likewise.

                                 

Underneath that rather unpleasant modern altar table is a beautiful medieval tiled mosaic of Adam and Eve.

I have often said that my sitting room here in France is one of the most calm and relaxing places I know, but Prior Crauden's Chapel has to exceed even that.

In my day there were no comfy cushions on wooden seats, one sat on the cold stone 'benches' conveniently built into the walls; I used to take my own cushion. I notice from the photo that there is even a heater in there now.

Prior Crauden's is a HIDDEN GEM. Most visitors to the school, or cathedral, never get to know of its existence, and I rather hope it stays that way.

                             

20 comments:

  1. Tranquility. Something to look for.

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  2. I love small, quiet spaces.....what a treat it must have been to go to that lovely little chapel and get lost in a book. Or just sit. It's just beautiful!

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    Replies
    1. The reason why I put this up today is that I still remember how wonderful it was sitting there, over 50 years later.

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  3. Today is my late father's birthday; he would have been 109.

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    1. My father is 91. He lives in Tel- Aviv . His mind is clrear.He wrote 20 children's books.He served in the British Army during ww2.

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  4. A really amazing building...you were quite privileged really to share that amazing history...we are not so fortunate in Australia.,...nothing is over 200 years old.. our loss I am afraid.

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  5. I am just passing Ely Cathedral NOW. Always a beautiful sight. I would send you a photo if i could.

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    1. I can tell you how to find the chapel if you are interested.

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    2. Just passing it on the way home. I guess I could find your chapel from the photograph if I wandered around.

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    3. You have to enter the college grounds through 'The Porta', and immediately turn left. It's at the end of the road (well it was 50 years ago).

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    4. I'll go for a wander one day and report back.

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  6. Nice - just like the 1960s Secondary Modern I went to.

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  7. Hopefully, Cro, we all have our place of Tranquility, where we escape the troubles of the world. Interestingly, they are often medieval buildings.

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    Replies
    1. Time has given them that continuity of calm.

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  8. Cro, sorry to say that here in the States there are very few building over 100 years old. Most of those that are still standing are in not in the best of shape. It seems corporations here would rather tear down a building and build their own than re use an existing one. Most of the buildings with my memories are gone with modern structures built were they once stood.

    My favorite places to read and be quiet were libraries but even those have been replaced with newer modern digitized buildings that seem to be in a continual state of change. I envy your ability to re visit early life memory places.

    Have a great Crauden's Chapel day.

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    1. No quiet here today.... I have two grandsons in the pool.

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  9. We all need a quiet place to hide at times and get away from all the noises of our world. What a lovely place to have kept in your memories.

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  10. How beautiful. I would love a place like that to retreat to.

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  11. Exquisite in its simplicity

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