Ships of Heaven is the story of Britain’s flotilla of cathedrals, tossed on waves of power and glory, scandal and mayhem for a thousand years. Nowadays these great stone ships seem as solid and unshakeable as any Rock of Ages. But they are leaky old vessels in uncharted waters. They creak and groan, they fail and flounder, then resurface against all odds. Theirs is a thrilling saga of crisis and boldness, of ruin and revival.
Christopher Somerville explores 20 of his favourite cathedrals, going behind the scenes to seek out believers, non-believers and troubled souls, archaeologists and architects, glass makers and embroiderers, the Holy Dusters who clean the ears and noses of the cathedral monuments, and the stonemason who judges his building stone by the way it tastes. It’s a journey with a motley crew of jolly rogues and prophets, of builders and bishops; painters dangling at a rope’s end, monks who watch as their life’s work comes crashing down before their eyes. In such colourful company we delve deep into the private life and the uncertain future of these ever-voyaging Ships of Heaven.
(Published by Doubleday, 11 April 2019)
Admission is £6 and includes a glass of wine or a soft drink.
Book at the Cathedral Shop or by using the booking link on the right.