‘Sea of Steps’

Frederick H Evans is one of my photographic heros, priniciply down to his architectural photography work. One of his most famous photographs is called Sea of Steps, taken at Wells Cathedral – the steps to the Chapter House. This fact was nowhere in my mind when we visited Wells Cathedral in October, you can guess my reaction when I turned the corner to see these steps – instant recollection from nowhere is a powerful drug.

I could only grab a snap of the steps which were the subject of his work – I didn’t have the right lens, I didn’t have a tripod, there were tourists wandering up and down the steps, I was in the way, I couldn’t get the right angle and they have a hand rail in the wrong place. All the excuses in the book. Nevertheles, it was great to see the steps in real life.

As an aside, I was privileged to handle some of the beautiful images he produced during my studies of photography. It’s difficult to describe the beauty of them, the delicacy of the toning of his platinum prints was awesome.

—Stephen G. Hipperson—

Holy Trinity Church…Florence, Italy.


We went for a saunter away from the main tourist routes in Florence early one evening, as the light was fading.  At one particular road junction, I looked down the road and my immediate reaction was ‘There’s a church!’.  A bit of stupid thing to say really when we’d been looking at some beautiful religious building over the previous couple of days. What I meant, I suppose, was an ‘English Church’, if that’s sufficient to define the architectural character of a building.  As we walked towards it, (I couldn’t not after all) I could see it had many of the external features of the churches I visit.  It was an English Church – totally unexpected.  It was too dark to get a decent photo – I managed to get one of a statue high on the tower by resting my camera at an angle on a wall.  (ISO 800 and pushed a couple of stops in pshop).   Niches on most of the churches I visit are usually empty, so it was unusual to see this statue.

The statue is of St. Alban – I couldn’t see that when I took it – St. Alban was the first British Christian martyr (wiki).  The church is now known as Chiesa Evangelica Valdese, the church was bought by the Waldensians in the 1960s.  I’d not heard of them before but it seems they are Protestants with a long history.  (Reading up about them reminds me of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man under the justice of religion.)



Two bell ropes hang in the tower of Holy Trinity church, Little Ouseburn, North Yorkshire. To the right is the ladder access to the belfry.  Books with a religious theme sit on the shelf in the window.  The temptation to pull on one of the ropes is tempered by the ‘sacredness’ of the space.




I found this arrangement to access the tower/belfry in a local church.  The use of a ‘modern’ wooden ladder is not so unusual, but I’ve not seen a ladder like the dark wooden one here (I presume the rail/rung ladder replaces it, for health and safety reasons).   I’ve had a wander round the web to find whether there is a specific name for this type of ladder, but with no luck, does anyone have an idea?

In my local area, it’s pretty hit and miss whether a church is open or not (too many thieves/vandals around), but even those that are open have restrictions to prevent people getting into the belfry.  Obviously, this is to ensure safety, but I suspect there is also a case for keeping them closed to prevent disturbance to any bats that might be roosting/hibernating.


Church Door


The priest’s side door of the church in Hunsingore.  The header for this post gives a remote view of the church. (The name ‘Hunsingore’ really appeals to me, seems very romantic.)  Hunsingore is a small village in the county of North Yorkshire.  The church is very ‘Gothic’ but is not particularly old, 1868.