an Ipswich Society outing, 21 April 2018
Our coach took us on the Madingly Road to Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial: the only World War II American cemetery in the U.K. Cambridge University donated the site; the British government authorised use of the land in perpetuity as a permanent burial ground, without charge or taxation. General Pershing promised that ‘Time will not dim the glory of their deeds’. The cemetery has a simple design, giving it a severe and impressive dignity: two malls at 90 degrees to each other, with the gravestones exactly spaced in the enclosed quarters. The Great Mall, with reflecting pools of water, stretches eastwards from the flagstaff. The Wall of the Missing extends along its length to the Memorial at the far end. The Memorial interior contains a large battle map and small chapel; it has a mosaic ceiling.
After lunch, we convened at King’s College Gatehouse for our guide to show us the glories of the world-famous Chapel; everyone knows it from the Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols. On a sunny afternoon the light flooded through the Flemish stained glass windows and we could marvel at the soaring beauty of the fan-vaulting. The eastern end is fairly plain – it started to be built in 1446 – but the western end (Ante-Chapel) is much more ornate, with plenty of Tudor devices. The Chapel was completed in 1515.
We met for tea at Michaelhouse. St Michael’s is the oldest college chapel in Cambridge (early 14th century). After a long and eventful history, the church was ‘converted’ in the 1990s for use by the wider community, hence its café. Many thanks to our guide and to organiser June Peck.