‘That’s that licked!’ Lawrence wins his bonkers bet

5 Feb 2013 @ 10.41 am
| News
Lawrence in Gloucester Cathedral. Photograph: Lawrence Edmonds

In January 2011 York adventurer Lawrence Edmonds set out on a quest to lick every Anglican cathedral in the UK in order to win a bet with his friend Adam. Now the quest is at an end…

So, my cathedral-licking days are over. My 64th and final lick took place at the lovely St Asaph cathedral in Wales, which brought to and end a grueling, fascinating, stressful, eye-opening and bizarre couple of years.

With that victorious lick the burden shifted from my shoulders onto Adam’s, and now it is all down to him to uphold his end of the bargain – and run round York Minster naked!

I saw him and his wife Charlotte in York just after Christmas and he was surprisingly upbeat about the whole thing, which was a trifle galling to be honest. He even offered to do the streak there and then! Quite what our fellow drinkers in the Snickleway Inn would have thought of that, I can only imagine.

Sadly the great event did not take place that night, mainly due to lack of a good camera to record it all. I have been inundated with messages lately calling for proof of the dreaded forfeit, some of which have been rather alarming. Clearly a lot of people want to see Mr Drury’s bare behind and other hidden equipment.

As enjoyable as it was visiting 64 wonderful cathedrals, it is a great relief not having to rush off around the country on a series of panicked journeys anymore. Now that it’s done though, I have been reading through my blog and remembering some truly great trips and stunning buildings, which I was lucky enough to share with some of the very best people.

With these positive thoughts in mind I started writing the introduction and first chapter of the cathedral-licking book about two weeks ago. It is coming along slowly but well, and I have decided not to rush it. I want to include all the best bits about each trip and every cathedral, which will take a good deal of time and research. I am hopeful that it will be near completion by the end of 2013 and may even post a few excerpts on here to gauge people’s reactions.

With this project on the go it is unlikely that I will post any more accounts of my trips on my blog. I wish I had been a little more diligent in updating it, especially the final few English and Irish cathedrals (plus the Scottish ones), but rest assured they will all appear in the book when it is completed. I do still plan to write on the blog occasionally and already have a few ideas in mind, including my Top 10 cathedrals and Top 10 tastiest cathedrals.


Other than writing, back in January I also had the honour of giving a lecture on the cathedral quest at the University Of Westminster (big thanks to Samir Pandya for organising this). It was the final talk of a three-day course for architecture students and it seemed to go down fairly well.

Looking at the faces of my audience there was a range of emotions on show: confusion, merriment, disbelief and incredulity mostly! I do hope they enjoyed it and forgave me for a few nerves and a dodgy Powerpoint presentation.

The BBC also invited me to do a number of radio interviews back in December. I did ten in total for various regional stations and had a thoroughly good time. The one with BBC Leicester was particularly fun, as was the one with Radio York. Apologies to BBC Leeds though, who seemed a bit upset when I told them that Wakefield Cathedral tasted the worst of the lot!

Llandaff licked
Llandaff licked

Hopefully the true message of this challenge will have been understood, and you will know that it was not just about some fool licking buildings! Certainly that’s how things started when the bet was created, but it didn’t take long for me to realise that I actually rather liked visiting these cathedrals and learning their secrets.

A lot can be discovered by trying something new and exploring something you previously ignored, so I urge you, go and see your local cathedral and enjoy its treasures. Whether you lick it or not is entirely up to you, but I wouldn’t recommend it.