KS2 trip to Exeter Cathedral

We spent a wonderful day on Monday 13th June 2022. On a lovely, warm summer’s day we began our visit at the Cathedral. We began with a look at the outside, noticing the statues of kings and saints. We heard about the gruesome story of St Bartholemew and why St Peter (the statue at the top of the building was naked! Did you know that the fisherman in Jesus’ time left their clothes on the sea shore to keep them dry whilst they were out on the water?

Inside, we noticed how the building was full of stained glass windows that told the stories from the Bible so that those who couldn’t read Latin could understand much of the Christian stories.

We learnt about stories around the corbels….

and that the cathedral was built on solid rock. There is no crypt below so people are buried beneath the floor.

The pulpit is where the vicar or bishop leads the service. But even here, there are wonderful stories of martyrs carved into it. Did you know that martyrs can be identified by a carving of a palm branch on them?

The church clock is 600 years old. In those days, people believed the Earth was the centre of the solar system with the sun (the black circle with the Fleur de Lis symbol on it) showing the hours and the plain black dial (the moon) showing the minutes.

The clockwork mechanism needed weights hung on ropes to keep it going. The ropes were greased with animal fat to keep the movement smooth. However, mice and rats rather liked the animal fat and scampered up the ropes. A cathedral cat was introduced to keep them away. Can you see the mouse or the cat in the door?

We continued to enjoy the many areas of the cathedral and its architecture.

We lay on the floor and learnt about the carvings on the bosses. Without the bosses, the building would fall down!

And just look at how big the bosses are!

Some of the stories were gruesome. We learnt about a character who wanted to share her Christian faith to others, but in order to stop her doing this, she had all her teeth pulled out!

Here is an early carving of an elephant. But the wood carver had never seen one before. If you look carefully it has horses hooves and four ears, two of them human!

Some memorials and tombstones had ancient graffiti carved on them when the choristers used to get bored after they were changed and ready for a service. The soft alabaster carvings were too tempting to make marks on!

Bishop Lacy was a bishop known to heal people. Over time, his tombstone has been touched by many who also hope to be healed. Can you see how shiny and smooth the edge is as people have touched it?

Finally, before lunchtime, we enjoyed creating some ‘sprinkles’ using some images related to different parts of the cathedral.