High up on the north side of the nave is a projecting balcony built in the middle of the 14th century. It is decorated with carved angels playing musical instruments and is known as the Minstrels’ Gallery. The original purpose of this gallery is not known, but it may have been used by musicians or singers.
The medieval instruments being played by the angels include bagpipes, harp, gittern, shawm and portative organ.
A room behind the balcony now houses a section of the cathedral organ which is used to great effect bringing additional sound directly into the centre of the nave.
A modern tradition takes place at Evensong on the afternoon of Christmas Day. During this service, choristers climb the spiral stairs to the upper chamber behind the gallery where they sing carols. Hidden from view, their voices soar out over the congregation below.
Close up images: Diane and Malcolm Walker