Posted by: secretperson | May 13, 2008

Cathedral Stamps Celebrate a Great Achievement

The Royal Mail is to issue a set of stamps containing images of the UK’s cathedrals. These include Gloucester, Lichfield, St David’s and Belfast.

Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral

Now cathedrals are the crowning achievement of the middle ages. You couldn’t escape them watching BBC Four’s recent fascinating Medieval Season. It is hard to understand for me today, but religion was the biggest influence on everyone’s life in those times, and that is reflected in the buildings. Most people lived in wooden or mud buildings at the start of the medieval period, and though the rich increasingly built in stone, nothing could compare to the effort and money put into the cathedrals, or to the size and glory of the result.

The great Norman castles may have towered over the landscape, but so did the Castles of God, and they are much more impressive works of architecture. They were true objects of beauty, intended to celebrate God and reach up into heaven. Now I am a modern cynical atheist, but at the time, seeing the cathedral, something so unimaginable to me, maybe with experience of a small village church would be amazing. Combined with the echoes of the songs around the building, the great stained glass windows and the otherworldly latin masses the experience must have been truly spiritual.

The Interior of Winchester Cathedral

Coming across from France, and the Cathedral of St Denis in Paris, the Gothic style revolutionised English cathedral design (probably British too, but I have no knowledge here). Tall pointed arches, ribbed ceiling vaults and flying butresses produced tall, thin and graceful buildings and allowed huge glass windows.

These builldings, built as long as 700 years ago, still amaze us today. There are few modern buildings that can compare. You don’t have to believe in God to be impressed at the achievments of those who did in the past. This set of stamps celebrates a truly amazing medieval feat.

pictures courtesy of Wikipedia



  1. Palaces for con artists and traitors?

  2. Maybe, but still impressive monuments to the beliefs of the past.

  3. are youre pictures copyright for school students?

  4. nabeela, the pictures are not mine, they are taken from wikipedia, something called the Wikimedia Commons.

    This means, as far as I am aware, that they are made available for everyone, provided you say where you got them from, so go ahead!

    I am no copyright expert though.

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