Reliquaries and Spoons

Written by Madison Morris:

I’ve been outside the United States a few times, but I have never been to London.  The first day here was such a culture shock!! Not only were people driving on the wrong side of the road, but everything was so busy! People were rushing everywhere, and Dr. Bruening’s walk around to help us figure out “the lay of the land’ only made me shocked. London is so incredibly huge and absolutely awe inspiring. On the mini tour alone I saw buildings that predated our country’s birth. So far we have visited the Tower of London, the British Library, the British Museum, the city of York, and Westminster Abbey. All of the locations house so much history. Being here is amazing and all of the interesting things we’ve learned in the short time is great.

Madi and Beefeaters_c

Madi Morris with the Yeoman Warders

I’ve seen so many cool things since I’ve been here. Every place that we’ve been to has been full of history dating back as far as the 9th century. At the Tower of London I saw the crown jewels, and I was blown away by not only their size and beauty, but by how old they were. The Coronation Spoon that they had on display thought to date from the 14th century!! Not only was it gorgeous and filled with rich gemstones, but it was delicately and intricately carved with beautiful designs. I was really shocked that it will not only still be used in future coronation ceremonies, but it literally cost more than my car. I was able to see something eight hundred years old, absolutely gorgeous, and really important that I would never have been able to see if I hadn’t been in London on this trip.

Also, when we visited the British Museum I was able to see something called the Holy Thorn Reliquary. This reliquary [a reliquary is a container, often quite ornate, for holding holy relics] was made in the late fourteenth century, and contains a thorn that was believed to be from the crown of thorns on Jesus’ head during his crucifixion. I was amazed that you could actually see this tiny thorn inside the reliquary; not only that, but it was sitting on top of a sapphire the size of a dime. The reliquary is very important because it not only shows the importance of Christianity to medieval England, but it shows how much this item was appreciated since it has lasted this long. The reliquary is absolutely gorgeous, and being able to see such an important artifact to not only Christianity but also medieval London was amazing.

All of these experiences have been amazing, and I’m really glad I decided to come on this trip! I’ve seen more history in the last week than I’ve probably seen in the last ten years, and that’s a really weird concept to wrap my head around. This trip was a great decision, and I’m so excited to have another week not only to learn more about London, but also to see the city.