Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 42 Cambridge.

Today, we did a walking tour of Cambridge with an excellent guide.  She took us to King’s College Chapel.  King Henry VI, at age 19, laid the foundation stone of  King’s College in 1441.  He had also founded Eton College and hence for many years, students from Eton were the only students admitted to King’s College and they did not have to sit any exams at the end of their time here.  After Henry VI died, the completion of the chapel was made possible through the patronage of Richard III and Henry VIII.  Because of interruptions to the building with the war of the Roses, two different coloured stones can be seen in the outside of the building.  The antechapel, apart from the stained glass windows, has no religious symbols, but rather, the decoration is a tribute to the Tudors with its crowns, roses and portcullises.  The stained glass windows throughout the chapel are truly beautiful.  The upper panes depict scenes from the Old Testament and the lower from comparable scenes of the New Testament.  These windows were lucky to survive the reformation because Cromwell’s men were sent to break all such windows.  It was only that the soldiers were billeted in this chapel and wanted the windows to remain to give them warmth that the windows were not smashed.  We saw Queens’ College named after several queens down through the centuries, including our present Queen, who have all been patrons for this college.  We saw the room in Queens where Christopher Fry lived and the room where Erasmus translated the bible.  The dining room was magnificently decorated in Victorian style.  We watched people punting down the Cam river and we walked along the grassy slopes beside this river.  We saw the Eagle Pub where Watson and Crick first announced that they had discovered the secret of life with their DNA discovery.  Tonight, we went to see Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” performed in St. John’s College Garden.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable production, but we left at interval because it started to rain.

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