Posts tagged ‘Door’

St Magnus Cathedral – Exterior

St Magnus Cathedral, known as “The Light in the North”, was founded in the year 1137 by Earl Rognvald-Kali. Rognvald was the nephew of Earl Magnus after whom the Cathedral is dedicated. Magnus was treacherously murdered by Haakon Paulson, his cousin and rival for the Norse Earldom of Orkney, as the two met on the island of Egilsay to discuss peace terms in 1116. In the 1120’s Rognveld fought a bitter struggle against Haakon’s son to win the Earldom for himself, and he promised to build a great stone church in the memory of his martyred uncle if he were successful. Both Magnus and Rognvald were made saints and their remains lie within the stonework of the Cathedral’s choir.

Built in both the Norman and early Gothic styles, the Cathedral is similar in design (though smaller in scale) to the magnificent Cathedral at Durham in the north-east of England. The similarities between the two aren’t that surprising when you consider that a number of the craftsmen and master builders employed at Durham also worked on St Magnus’ Cathedral.

From its foundation up to 1468, when Orkney finally became part of the Kingdom of Scotland, the Cathedral was part of the Norwegian arch-diocese of Trondheim. In 1486, King James III of Scotland, gave the Cathedral into the care of the people of Kirkwall…..it remains to this day the property of the people of Orkney.

As you might have guessed from the title of this post, I’m planning to share a second series of images dealing with the Cathedral’s beautiful interior…..so please watch out for that in the next few days.

© Mark Simms Photography (2013)

Oxford 1 – Stow-on-the-Wold

Stow-on-the-Wold is the quintessential Cotswold town – historic 17th/18th century cream coloured stone buildings huddle around a busy market square. Coaching-inns; tea-rooms; antique shops and galleries are very much the order of the day. It was the perfect place to stop and take a break from our long drive down to Oxford – we had a spot of lunch and a lovely leg-stretching stroll.

A little known fact is that Stow-on-the-Wold was the site of the last battle of the English Civil War. On 21st March 1646 Royalist forces under Sir Jacob Astley, retreating from the main battlefield about 1 mile north of the town, were pushed back in to the market square and eventually surrendered to the victorious Parliamentarian army commanded by Colonel Thomas Morgan. The cross in the market place supposedly marks the spot of the surrender.

Stow also has the distinction of being the highest town in the Cotswolds, at approx 700 feet above sea level.

The observant amongst you will have guessed from the title of this post, that this will be the first in a series concerning our recent trip to Oxford…..watch out for the others over the next few days and weeks.

Copyright: © The Photography of Mark Simms (2012). All rights reserved.

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