Breathtaking Cathedral that inspired Lewis Carrol to write Alice in Wonderland!
Ripon Travel Blog› entry 624 of 658 › view all entries
People i met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), Dad (England)
Ripon was next on the days agenda, and my main memory from childhood was of a fish and chip shop, where we would stop off on our way to football games at Darlington or Middlesbrough. I vaguely recollected a town square too, but i'd never visited the star attraction, which is the cathedral.
As the day was getting old, we were a little worried that the cathedral may in fact be shut. Thankfully, it was still open and even better was the fact that it was more or less deserted. I was immediately struck by its size, decor and ambience and my Dad began to tell us some stories and facts which are related to it.
Originally built by Saint Wilfrid in 672AD, there have been various additions and alterations over the years, and its clear to see how labour intensive the work must have been, when looking at the intricacy of the carvings, in both wood and stone. One particular carving in the choir, of a griffon chasing a rabbit down a hole, is of particular relevance, as it is likely the inspiration behind Lewis Carrol's famous book 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'. Carrol's father had been a resident canon of the cathedral and Lewis was often seen playing in the grounds, so it's almost sure he had seen, and drawn inspiration, from these animal carvings.
Outside the cathedral we bumped into the vicar, who furthered our knowledge by informing us where Carrol's house was, so we wandered around the backstreets that surrounded the building, until we finally came across it.
As the sun was getting low on the horizon, we just had time to visit the cobbled market square, where a cenotaph stood proudly besides some traditional red phone booths. The Tudor architecture was also eye catching, with the black wooden beams against the white exterior walls of some of the buildings.
It was nice to walk back to the car, especially in the late afternoon sun, which had finally decided to show itself, now the day had almost come to and end. Some quaint pedestrianised streets were filled with local businesses, which were located in historic buildings. It was a nice end to our brief stop, but we still wanted to cram in one more village before it got dark, so we reluctantly continued on our way.