Following the recent visit to Gwennap Pit, I decided to go into Truro’s incredible (more so from the outside) Gothic cathedral to escape one of this month’s persistent April showers.
I like Truro’s cathedral a lot. It’s reminds me a bit of Beverley Minster which I’d go past all the time when visiting my grandparents back home. Beverley’s minster is a lot less Gothic but it dominates the landscape in a very similar way, visible from almost all vantage point and particularly imposing when approach from a main road.
The cathedral is, surprisingly, a relatively recent construction, finished in 1910, but it says a lot about Cornwall in many ways. John Wesley would preach from Gwennap Pit eighteen times between 1762 and 1789 and Methodism retains a real prevalence around Cornwall today, as does paganism with the county’s stone circles, quoits and megaliths still standing the test of time.
How best to combat these outsider movements? Build a fuck-off great cathedral in the heart of Cornwall — duh!
As impressive and formidable as Truro’s cathedral is, its stature feels far more authoritarian when compared to other cathedrals around the country, largely because of this context. It is an unsubtle reminder to the region that there is only one God and only one way to worship him.
If my novice understanding of Cornwall past and present tells me anything, it’s that, as big as it is, it wasn’t not enough.
This visit to Truro cathedral feels topical for another reason. I’m not going to go so far as make a black metal Notre Dame joke — my initial response to seeing Notre Dame ablaze last night was nausea — but I won’t be mad if it appears on a load of metal album covers next year.
It just goes to show: the bigger you build them, the higher (and harder) they fall.