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Taking a shine to shrines

Michael Tavinor tells us how an ancient place of pilgrimage still resonates today

Taking a shine to shrines GORDON TAYLOR, HEREFORD CATHEDRAL

Michael Tavinor tells us how an ancient place of pilgrimage still resonates today

 

THE SHRINES OF THE SAINTS in medieval England were a vital part of the fabric of church and social life. Pilgrims thronged to them from throughout the land.

They were places of healing: in Hereford alone there were 450 attested examples of healing miracles. The shrines were places that inspired prayer. In a world of darkness and pain, the saints were your friends who could intercede for you before an often fierce God. Shrines inspired great building programmes in cathedrals - Canterbury, Durham, York - as new extensions were made to house spectacular and jewel-laden structures. Shrines were places where all classes of society could meet - rich and poor, young and old. Shrines gave permission for all to access the grandest of cathedral buildings.

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