Fotheringhay Cathedral

I was at work discussing my latest travel plans when someone at work asked me if I’d been to Fotheringhay.   Although it turned out to be close to where I lived , at the time I didn’t even know it existed.  I asked why I would want to travel there and was told Mary Queen of Scott was beheaded there.  That’s a well known event, even in the U.S. so I left work early and headed to the site.

When I arrived there were only one of a handful of people on the site and I, the only one in the cathedral as I approached it.  The curator or manager of the site gave me a personal tour of the place and like all cathedrals I’d encountered up to that point, it was filled with relics from the past. I did a bit of reading and this place was in the possession of a number of Kings, and royals throughout history.  The ownership of it was transferred by a couple methods … the primary ones though seems to be by force or coercion.

Anyhow, the exterior is gray and well worn with I believe a Gothic feel to it and although small by comparison to other cathedrals I visited, the craftsmanship and architecture were quite fascinating.   Also, as with the other places of worship it’s filled with tombs and a large cemetery nearby.  The cemetery at Fotheringhay is adjacent to the chapel.

For such a small structure there were a remarkable number of items carved out of wood.

The people who worked and worshiped in the cathedral also must have lived in it at least part time as there was a large table to eat and items indicating people spent a large amount of time here.  The lectern is carved out of wood and remains in near perfect shape compared to when it was crafted.  The guide was quite friendly and allowed me to wander around, ask questions and get up close to items because no one else was around.  I was able to visit and stand in parts of the church no doubt where royalty and famous people throughout history had also stood.

After my tour of the cathedral I made my way over to the castle grounds where Mary was executed. The former castle is now nothing more than rubble and  a few pits with a couple signs indicating the historical significance.  This is the place where Mary Queen of Scots was tried and beheaded in 1587.  Of course I’m not sure of the exact location but I stood approximately on the grounds where the gallows may have been and inspected the area for anything of interest.  It was interesting and eerie at the same time.  I get the impression the structure was intentionally razed as there’s almost nothing left other than signs that line a footpath throughout the location where the structure formerly stood.

It was an interesting trip and was not overrun with tourists so I was able to take my time and not jockey for position to get a glimpse of history.  If you have a chance, go visit.

Fotheringhay pictures



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