Another one of my favourite historical landmarks in Cambridge, England was the Church of St. Mary the Great, known locally as Great St. Mary’s or GSM, a Church of England church. The first church on the site of the current one was built in 1205, but this was mostly destroyed by fire on July 9, 1290 and then rebuilt. During its early years, the church was the property of the crown, but ownership eventually passed to the University of Cambridge. The present building was constructed between 1478 and 1519, with the tower finished later, in 1608. The cost of construction was covered largely by Richard III and Henry VII.
Access to the tower is via a 123-step medieval turret staircase, and I’m telling you it’s quite the climb and fully convinced me that the human race has definitely grown since medieval times. As a woman with a size 9 shoe, I had to turn my feet sideways because the stairs were so tiny, and the staircase is so narrow that if you are going up and meet someone coming down, somebody has to backtrack to a small landing so that everyone can continue. There is no way you could pass someone on that staircase! But no matter how tricky the climb, the view from the top is totally worthwhile, as you are treated to a panoramic view of Cambridge.
The first picture below is a view of Great St. Mary’s from the street, and the second shot is one of my favourite photos from the day, looking up toward the top of the tower. Tomorrow I will show you the view from the top.