Before venturing inside we had a walk around the exterior of the building. It was built in its present form during the 12th and early 13th centuries and replaced an earlier establishment founded in 655 by King Peada. This was destroyed by the Danes in 870 and rebuilt as a Benedictine Abbey towards the end of the 10th century, it was re-consecrated in 972. This building was burnt down by an accidental fire in the early 12th century - hence it being rebuilt again.
The wall painting near the west door is of gravedigger Robert Scarlett known as 'Old Scarlet' the man who buried two Queens - Katherine of Aragon and Mary, Queen of Scots.
Below is the inscription underneath the painting. Old Scarlet was the sexton and gravedigger at the church of St John the Baptist and died in 1594. He is buried in the cathedral with a simple stone marked R.S.
As we made our way around the Cathedral there was a bustle of activity as ladies were constructing elaborate flower displays, the organist was practicing high above us and two people were laying microphone cables in the performance area.
We found the tomb of Queen Katherine in the north aisle near the high altar; it had been decorated with offerings and notes. I think the pomegranate was part of her insignia. There was also a very good exhibition of her life in the aisle close to the tomb.
Behind the apse is what is known as the 'new building'. I sat for ages just looking up at this wonderful fan vaulting which was added at the beginning of the 16th century.
Then it was back in through the bishop's door for one last glance upwards and then it was time to set of for our journey home.