On my recent visit to England I went to Lichfield Cathedral in search of a very special angel ... a limestone carving of Gabriel. If you wonder what connection this has with gardening, you may remember I made David Austine's rose 'Lichfield Angel' the focal point of my new rose garden.
I chose this particular rose for it's name which brings back happy memories. I attended high school in this beautiful city ... Lichfield Friary High School for Girls (that's right, there were no boys). And my maternal grandmother was born in Lichfield. I have loved Lichfield Cathedral since during my high school years we frequently went there to worship. Back then the limestone angel was not to be seen. It was broken and buried for centuries - until, during excavation work in 2003, three pieces forming the 'Lichfield Angel' were found under the cathedral floor.
The city of Lichfield is dominated by the medieval Cathedral's three spires. (There is only one other cathedral with three spires. It is in France.) The day I visited was cold but dry. I did not enter immediately, but stood admiring the extravagant statues and carvings on the outside walls. There are over one hundred life-size statues on the west front alone.
|The elaborately decorated west front.|
|King Wulfrun sits on his throne in a line of other Saxon kings above the west door.|
|The Chapter House|
The Chad Gospels also adorn the Capter House. This manuscript has remained in Lichfield for 1,000 years, a few years older than the Book of Kells in Ireland. But I was in search of the angel, Gabriel. The Saxon limestone carving is thought to be from the original tomb of St Chad. St. Chad was the first bishop of Lichfield in 669 AD. Then I saw it ...
|The 'Lichfield Angel'|
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