Braveheart, despite its major historical inaccuracies; the Holy Isle and Evensong


The group at York Minister

by Sr. Eileen Quinlan, SND, Ph.D., ’74, professor of English/communication

Wednesday was another sunny, clear day for traveling as we moved south from Scotland to England.

As we drove, our ACIS tour manager, Paul Daly, told us about 20 years of British history on Brexit and the very-connected issue of Scottish independence. Curiously, some folks think that the Mel Gibson film "Braveheart" about William Wallace—despite its major historical inaccuracies—was the emotional trigger for some of today's issues.


The Norman and Plantagenet kings who ruled till the cathedral was completed are depicted on the screen between the choir and the nave. This is William the Conqueror to King John.

Our southbound route hugged the coast of the North Sea, where the U.K. has built many wind farms. We stopped at Bamburgh Castle on the coast, caught a glimpse of Lindisfarne (the Holy Isle) and then visited the ancient cathedral in Durham, where the Lindisfarne Book of the Gospels is housed.


Notre Dame learns politics and prayer in the U.K. (far left), with Evensong in the choir at York Minster.

In York, we had the afternoon to see York Minster, which is the ancient cathedral of the region, as well as to do some shopping. Many of us attended Evensong, which was led by clergy of the Minster and sung by about 16 girl choristers, who are perhaps 8 to 14 years of age, accompanied by organ. The final hymn was part of a Pergolesi "Stabat Mater." Their voices, and faces, were exquisite.

The center of York still shows its medieval roots, with narrow cobbled streets, a broad market square, the Castle and the towers of the enormous minster looming over the town.

After dinner in the city, we walked back to our hotel through The Shambles, a narrow, curved street which had been the home of the butchers in the Middle Ages, and where the home of St. Margaret Clitherow is now a small shrine chapel.

 

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