March 15, 2012

0147 UNITED KINGDOM (England) - Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Truro

Truro is the only city and the administrative centre of Cornwall, and the most southern city in mainland Great Britain. Inhabited since the Norman times, it was an important port by the start of the 14th century, and became very prosperous during the Tudor period, situation which has continued during the 18th and 19th centuries. Its most recognisable feature is the gothic-revival Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary (in the picture is the west front), designed by architect John Loughborough Pearson and rising 76m above the city at its highest spire.

Erected between 1880 and 1910 on the site of the old St. Mary's Church, consecrated over 600 years earlier, it was the first cathedral built on a new site in England since Salisbury Cathedral in 1220, and it’s one of only three cathedrals in the United Kingdom with three spires. Pearson's design combines the Early English style with certain French characteristics, chiefly spires and rose windows. The original south aisle of St Mary's Church survives, incorporated into the south-east corner of the cathedral and known as St Mary's Aisle. It still functions as the city centre's parish church.

In the bottom left corner of the postcard is coat of arms of Cornwall. A bearded sea fisherman represents the county's maritime connections, and he stands opposite the tin miner, a reminder of Cornwall's great mineral wealth and pioneering industrial heritage. Above the shield rests a chough, which rests its claw on a Ducal Coronet. The Duchy of Cornwall has long been the inheritance of the sovereign's eldest son, as is the title of Duke of Cornwall.

Like the county itself, the shield is enclosed by waves, and at its heart is the history and mystery of the golden roundels or bezants. Nowadays 15 bezants appear arranged in an inverted triangle, but earlier Cornish emblems show them used as a border, or arranged to fill a whole shield. Among the more colourful conjectures is the tale of the King's eldest son, captured by Saracens during the Crusades.

Loyal Cornishmen, it is said, helped to raise the ransom of 15 golden coins, or bezants, named after Eastern Europe's Byzantium. The shield is thought to commemorate this King's (or more properly, Prince's) ransom, with the legend "one and all" noting a splendid joint effort by Cornishmen to save their Duke of Cornwall. Whether referring to this particular event or not, this well-known phrase still indicates Cornwall's community spirit, but is also the very best description of a Cornish welcome.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the Christmas 2011 set, issued on November, 8, 2011. The seven stamps are inspired by verses from the Gospels of Mathew and Luke, and recognise that 2011 is the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible:
• Joseph visited by the Angel - Inspired by Matthew 1:21 (2nd Class)
• Madonna and Child - Inspired by Matthew 1:23 (1st Class)
• Joseph visited by the Angel - Inspired by Matthew 1:21 (2nd Class Large)
• Madonna and Child - Inspired by Matthew 1:23 (1st Class Large)
• Baby Jesus in the Manger - Inspired by Luke 2:7 (0.68 GBP) - It’s on the postcard 0147
• Shepherds visited by the Angel - Inspired by Luke 2:10 (1.10 GBP)
• Wise Men and Star - Inspired by Matthew 2:10 (1.65 GBP)

Truro Cathedral - Wikipedia

Sender: Ilona (direct swap)
Sent from Truro (England / United Kingdom), on 04.01.2012
Photo: Howard Morrow Photography

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