A FORMER senior Army commander, who now assists as a guide at
York Minster, has spent four years researching trips from London,
by train, to 33 Anglican cathedrals in England.
Major-General Murray Naylor, who is now retired, has devised
excursions to each of the cathedrals, including a trip that takes
in 14 of them, which can be completed in little more than a week.
The results have been published in a book, England's Cathedrals
"I have had an enormous interest in trains since the first day I
could think about them," Mr Naylor said, "and I have developed a
great interest - and indeed a respect - for our Anglican
cathedrals. I saw the connection between them as two great
achievements: first, by the Normans, and more recently by the
Victorians, and the obvious connection that you use one to reach
"[The book] doesn't follow a mile-by-mile description of the
journey, but picks up on certain aspects of the railways - their
history, their development - which I thought might be of interest
to people who don't know an awful lot about how our railways came
Each chapter describes the route to the cathedral, and a history
of the building. "The description of the cathedral seeks to draw
out aspects that somebody in a hurry might not find for themselves.
It points them to the unexpected or the interesting that are not
The book is about provincial cathedrals; so London is excluded.
Others omitted include Derby, Sheffield, and Blackburn, because:
"No disrespect to them: they are not as interesting as our
magnificent medieval cathedrals."
England's Cathedrals by Train is published by Pen and
Sword (Books, 20/27 December 2013).