Stonehenge was magical and mystical. The true meaning of this ancient, awe-inspiring creation has been lost in the mists of time. Was Stonehenge a temple for sun worship, a healing centre, a burial site or perhaps a huge calendar? How did our ancestors manage to carry the mighty stones from so far away and then, using only the most primitive of tools, build this amazing structure? Surrounded by mystery, Stonehenge never fails to impress.
Stonehenge is perhaps the most famous prehistoric monument in the world. Begun as a simple earthwork enclosure, it was built in several stages, with the unique lintelled stone circle being erected in the Neolithic period in around 2,500 BC. Stonehenge remained important into the early Bronze Age (2,200–1,500 BC), when many burial mounds were built nearby.
Sadly, visitors are not allowed to walk among the stones. They are only permitted to walk around the perimeter of the great World Heritage Site.
Salisbury was my next stop. Upon entering the town, I crossed a small stream that was full of ducks and swans.
Approaching the old City of Salisbury, I walked through a street lined with old buildings full of history.
Once inside the old City, I made my way to the Cathedral Close (the area around the Cathedral separated by a wall).
Salisbury Cathedral – I entered the cathedral through its original 13th-century doors — the first stones were laid in 1220, but what makes it unusual is the fact that it was built within one century entirely in one style, Early English Gothic.
What is also historic is that it began its life as part of the Catholic Church, later becoming a beacon in the Church of England when Henry VIII split from the Church of Rome in 1534. The Cathedral’s stone spire in the center of the cathedral is 404 feet high and is the tallest spire in all of Britain.
I was very lucky that particular Sunday because I arrived at the Cathedral in time to attend the mass. It was splendid with all the pomp and circumstance of any Catholic mass I have ever attended in any of the Cathedrals or churches of France, Italy, Spain or the States. But it was not Catholic, it was Anglican – the Church of England and I was so shocked to see the mass was the same as any Catholic mass I had attended. The same format, the same prayers, the same hymns sung by the choir.
I completed my visit to Salisbury by walking through the streets and glimpsing the many sites of this mediaeval City.
This has been one of the shortest trips I have taken. But it was the most memorable time I have yet spent.
I loved England, I will return to this lovely country again. Very soon, I hope!