Before I tell you all about our morning with the Mayor at City Hall and our stay in York, I want to offer you some photos from the priory since the video provides a great history lesson but it doesn’t show much of the Priory itself or the grounds. I have also thrown in some photos I took from atop the tower. I was the only one who had the opportunity to go up there. It pays that my host Alice is one of the vergers…shhh don’t tell Fr. Chris.
The bell/clock tower and main entrance into the Priory.
The inner workings of the clock.
A look out over the city and beyond…I am assuming that I was facing east or east-ish given the sun.
Another view out and visible is the tidal river Lune from which Lancaster derives its name.
Just peeping over the castle walls and into the grounds, not much happening that early in the morning.
A view west and way out there is the Irish Sea.
Closer look at the front door.
The outside wall…if you notice all the blackened stones, it is not fire damage, but is a result of all the soot from the factories and mills located in Lancaster during that allowed the city to grow economically.
The royal coat of arms hanging above the in the loft by the organ pipes.
The lectern with a lovely icon depicting three different scenes.
The quire stalls, which as Fr. Chris mentioned are from the 13th Century and some of the best preserved in the entire country.
A closer look at the altar.
A look out at the congregation from the sanctuary.
The side chapel dedicated to Thomas a Becket who is depicted in the stain glass.
A brief history of the Priory up to 1745.
Fr. David presenting to Fr. Chris a framed photo of Saint James at the end of Sunday’s Festal Evensong.
We also gave them a set of our history books, though I apparently only brought two volumes and forgot the third…we can ship one to them when we get back.
A warm embrace of mutual love and affection as we planted the seeds of what I hope will become a long-lasting partnership of prayer, worship, and mission as we seek to transform our cities and bring the Good News of God in Christ to all.
A final picture with the pilgrims and our hosts. They were so amazing. I hope we get the opportunity to repay their kindness and generosity by hosting them if they decide to visit our Lancaster.
(A little sample of the organ using the trumpet stops that were installed specifically for the Queen’s visit in order to play the appropriate fanfare.)
Now that I got that out the way we can move on to what we did on Monday, which was a great day of exploring the intersections of faith and civic life.
After we said goodbye to our wonderful hosts we began our walk towards the center of town and City Hall. We made our way down the hill following along the old Roman road that cut through the heart of the city. I tried to soak it all in as we walked because who knows when I might be back.
Before we knew it we were in Dalton Square which is the center of town and is across the street from City Hall. In the center of the square is a large statue of Queen Victoria and along the base are reliefs dedicated to famous men and women of politics, science, the arts, and…I forget the last one.
A view of the square and statue from the steps of City Hall.
A closer look at the statue.
The men of science.
I think this is the politics side…I think. I don’t recognize any of the names.
One of the many crests and symbols found around the grounds. This is the fleur-de-lis and the lion.
The Lancaster Rose.
After walking around the side of City Hall we were greeted by Mike the Beadle. Now he is not claiming to be the long-lost fifth member of the Beatles, but it is his official title. The job of a beadle was in a religious setting and the beadle would wake people up who might have nodded off during a particularly boring sermon. But now it has evolved into both a ceremonial and a very practical role. Ceremonially, the beadle is the Mayor’s bodyguard in that during official civic occasions the beadle will carry a ceremonial mace and walk in front of the Mayor. In bygone years the mace was actually used to help protect the Mayor, and he would use the mace if necessary. But now he is the Mayor’s right-hand man, so to speak. In their form of government the Mayor is largely a ceremonial job who serves a one year term and is chosen from among the most longest-serving council members. Since there is a new Mayor every year Mike helps each new Mayor with the ins and outs of the job, hopefully avoiding any embarrassing faux-pas. Mike led us into City Hall and up the Mayor’s Palour where the Mayor greets guests.
Mike the Beadle.
The staircase leading up to the rooms and offices of City Hall.
One of the stained glass windows.
A quilted gift from some people who came from an Amish community in our Lancaster.
The ceremonial mace.
Fr. David and His Worshipful, Mayor Robert Redfern.
Some collectables from the London Olympics.
A ceremonial pike.
Mike showing us the proper way to carry his ceremonial mace.
A closer look at the mace.
Bob Mosebach giving it a try.
I think Paul Ware might give MIke some competition for his job.
Roberta Strickler giving it a whirl.
Jim Stewart looks pretty official.
Even Fr. David giving it a try.
The pilgrims having some tea and coffee in the parlour.
Kathi Sabino talking with the Mayor.
After having some time with the Mayor and presenting him with a few gifts we all went into the city council chambers. Along all the walls are listed the all the Mayors of Lancaster dating back to the early 1800’s…that is when they started keeping track in that way. It was a beautiful room that unfortunately isn’t used as a council chamber anymore because the council has grown too large as the city grew from being a town.
Inside the old council chamber. The current city council is too large in membership to meet in this space anymore so they meet in Morecambe.
Fr. David looking rather imposing, with a smile, while sitting in the Mayor’s seat.
Bob Mosebach also looks rather official and quite comfortable as well. Look out Mayor Redfern we just might have to start calling Bob his Worshipfulness.
A group photo with the Mayor.
We then went into a great hall that is used for all sorts of occasions and is just absolutely beautiful.
A hall that is used for a variety of functions including civic occasions and even weddings and community dances.
Along the ceiling are the coats of arms for the different ruling families.
After the great hall we went down to a small courtroom that was used for minor offenses.
Fr. Chris sitting in the defendants chair in the small courtroom in City Hall that is no longer used. Looks kind of like a hockey penalty box.
Here is Judy Ware walking a set of stairs in the defendants area that leads down to the jail cells below the courtroom.
The gate leading to the cells.
Paul Ware and Mike discussing the fine accommodations of the cells.
This cell is en suite…which I learned is European for a toilet in the room.
A few of our parishioners catching a ride back up the hill with Mike in the Mayor’s car…how posh.
All in all it was an excellent experience spending time with the Mayor and Mike the Beadle. We learned a lot about the ways in which the two worlds of faith and civic leadership intersect in Lancaster. While a few parishioners caught a ride in the mayor’s car the rest of us walked back up to the Priory to say our final farewells to Chris and boarded the coach to begin out journey to York.
The ride to York was beautiful as we traversed the northern English countryside from west to east passing through the Yorkshire Dales, which was filled with rolling hills, pastures upon pastures of sheep, tight winding roads, and green fields as far as the eye could see.
(I’m not quite sure what that noise is in the background but its the view that matters most.)
We were delayed leaving Lancaster and therefore arrived in York with only enough time to walk to Yorkminster for evensong. Because there is an annual production that is large in nature the minster was effectively closed to the public and there was not much to see as crews worked to bring down the staging and scaffolding, so it was really only open to those wishing to attend the service. We made in the nick of time and even managed to grab a few shots from inside the minster. Hopefully I will be back before too long and be able to really take in the beauty and grandeur of this historic church.
A local shop on the walk to Yorkminster and what’s wrong with a Storm Trooper is taking his pet AT-AT for a walk?
One of the gates leading into the walled section of the city.
The streets were lined with shops and for me it has a bit of Diagon Alley feel.
Yorkminster emerging from the densely packed streets.
The grounds around the minster.
The Yorkminster tower.
The pilgrims at Evensong.
The high altar.
The Rose Window.
Some guys in statue form with some serious hair action going on and vacant expressions.
Some guy lying in repose.
Some guy on a cross…no, wait a minute, that’s Jesus…what a beautiful crucifix.
One of the entrances into the minster with a verger keeping an eye on us so that we don’t try to sneak back in for more photos.
Walking back to the coach.
These window boxes might be more grand than our rectory’s.
Such different styles of architecture throughout the city of York to enjoy, even in a sudden downpour.
Once we were finished with evensong and were back on the coach we made our way to the hotel for the night, which proved to be a really nice hotel and a great place to rest up for our journey south to London.
I wonder what adventures await us there?