After eating lunch at the abbey we drove to Hartlepool, which has England's equivalent of Connecticut's Mystic Seaport -- a reproduction of a historic quay and the refitted HMS Trincomalee, built in 1817 and restored with nearly 20 percent of her original timbers. We did not take the lengthy audio tour but had a knowledgeable (and cute) guide, an O'Brian fan, who chatted with me about Jack Aubrey but had nothing good to say about the USS Constitution, which he claims cheated in the battle with the Java (hmmph). A publisher was doing a shoot for a book cover in the great cabin, so there was a model in a captain's costume there as well. The quay features recreations of Trafalgar-era stores, including a chandler, a nautical instruments shop and a nobleman's rooms, plus a number of exhibits on everything from press gangs to fighting ships to prisons. The sun had come out by the time we arrived there and the light on the water was beautiful beyond the old town.
I could have spent all day in Hartlepool but we wanted to see Durham Cathedral, so even though we knew we would arrive too late to tour the castle, we left to go to Durham. Leaving the car park and crossing the footbridge over the river was like stepping back several centuries; we ended up on the grounds of the university whose buildings are former civic and church structures from the 1600s, and the streets are cobblestone. Nonetheless the cathedral felt more alive than any other we've visited, though it dates from before 1100; some of the damaged ancient stained glass has been replaced with more modern designs, and the grave of St. Cuthbert, which has made Durham Cathedral a pilgrimage site for nearly a thousand years, has a beautiful modern screen painted with Cuthbert's image over it. This cathedral is also where the bones of the Venerable Bede rest, and John Washington, an ancestor of George Washington, served as prior of the church for thirty years.
Spiral staircase that no longer leads anywhere, Fountains Abbey.