Cathedral-licker Lawrence Edmonds heads for Wales

Lawrence Edmonds licking Newport Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral, Rippon Cathedral, Truro Cathedral, York Minister and St Paul'sLawrence Edmonds is on a mission to lick every Anglican cathedral in the UK

He is a man on a mission. On Thursday 30 August, Lawrence Edmonds will visit and lick his 46th Anglican cathedral in the UK – Brecon Cathedral in Brecon and Radnorshire.

You read that correctly; lick.

In January 2011 Lawrence’s friend Adam Drury challenged him to lick every Anglican cathedral in the UK. By June of this year he had licked all 42 cathedrals in England.

He now takes his mission to Wales.

To win the bet, he must lick all of the Anglican cathedrals in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland by 16 December 2012.

But why licking? And what reaction has there been to Lawrence’s antics among Anglican congregations across Britain?

On Wednesday 29 August he licked St David’s Cathedral in Pembrokeshire.

An extract from Lawrence’s blog: Licking Lincoln

Lawrence licking Lincoln cathedral

“Lincoln has the most beautiful cathedral in England, of that there can be no doubt.

“The lick itself was uneventful but very satisfying. The stone was damp from the copious rain that had fallen that day, which probably gave it a very refreshing and mossy taste, though I cannot recall exactly. I can only speak from experience in this case as my mind was focused more on the building than the lick. Either way, the taste could have only been enhanced by the beauty of this cathedral.”

Source: The Cathedral-Licking Diary Blog


“I wish it had been just visiting a cathedral and kissing it or something,” he said. “But Adam wanted to make the challenge as difficult as possible.”

Since January 2011 Lawrence has travelled the length and breadth of England and Wales, with trips to Scotland and Ireland planned for this autumn.

There are a total of 64 Anglican cathedrals in the UK, 42 in England, eight in Scotland, eight in Northern Ireland and six in Wales.

To complete his mission Lawrence says he will have to travel close to 10,000 miles (about 16,000 km).

With every mile, and every cathedral he has gained a new appreciation for church architecture and the history of the Anglican movement in the UK.

“I didn’t know very much about St David’s until I came here.” said Lawrence.

“Every single place has it’s own story to tell and there’s always a surprise.

“For example Newport Cathedral has this beautiful Romanesque arch that I’d have never known about if I hadn’t visited it.”

The 26-year-old said that St David’s, in Pembrokeshire, was the most challenging to visit so far. He currently lives in London and has been travelling primarily by public transport.

To visit the Pembrokeshire landmark, he travelled by bus to Pembroke Dock from London, slept overnight at the ferry terminal and took a bus to the UK’s smallest city the following morning.

He believes the hardest visit is yet to come. The Cathedral of the Isles, in Scotland, is on the Isle of Cumbrae.

“The fact that it’s on an island is pretty challenging in itself.” said Lawrence. “It is certainly the remotest of the lot.”

He is moving back to his family home in York in the next few weeks and hopes that this will make the trek to the Scottish cathedrals easier.

Respectful quest

Except for an incident at Southall Minster – where Lawrence and his father were shooed off the premises by a verger – people have been largely supportive of his quest.

“People have seen it as a positive because I’ve been trying to highlight the plight of many cathedrals.” he said.

“I’m always respectful of the places; although I’m not a Christian I do respect these places. I study the history and the architecture.

“I know this can be seen as offensive, but I don’t see what I’m doing like that. I’m just trying to highlight these buildings.” he added.

Lawrence hopes that through discovering his blog, more people will visit the UK’s cathedrals. But, he suggests, people should probably “stick to taking pictures”.

“You can probably pick up a few diseases and you get grit in your teeth – it’s not pleasant.”

He added: “Wakefield cathedral tasted pretty bad; hopefully I didn’t catch anything from that.”

Lawrence would like to find a way of turning his unusual mission into a fundraising strategy for Anglican charities.

Meanwhile, he just hopes to continue his journey with the Church’s blessing.