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  • It's one of London's oldest pubs and even on a chilly Tuesday night people are gathering

  • to share a pint of beer and a story or two...

  • But for one group of people - The George Coaching Inn has special significance...because it's

  • right next door to the pub where Chaucer's Pilgrims met in 1392 before setting off for

  • Canterbury.

  • "Now the Tabard was a real pub, unfortunately it burnt down, was re-built, and then burnt

  • down again and wasn't rebuilt. By chance, right next door is the stunning George pub,

  • which is London's last galleried coaching inn and it looks exactly the same as coaching

  • inns would have looked like when Dickins was here. It's just great chance it's next to

  • the Tabard, and we're going to be meeting like the pilgrims do in the poem for a dinner,

  • the night before they set off..."

  • "I'm hoping the pilgrims on this pilgrimage will first of all get an increased appreciation

  • of Chaucer out of coming on it. It's quite rare for anyone to have read all of the Canterbury

  • Tales and so in some ways, this is a great way of getting your head around that massive

  • epic work of literature."

  • The pilgrims have come from far and wide to take part in this journey - a four day walk

  • tracing the steps of Chaucer's pilgrims, ending up at Canterbury Cathedral, and reciting Chaucer's

  • tales along the way.

  • "I'm hoping that I'll meet a lot of interesting people who are sort of fascinated with the

  • same sort of things that I am and I'll have actually hopefully understood the tale a little

  • bit more as well because the very act of performing it and adapting it will have allowed me to

  • see sort of deeper things that I might not have noticed."

  • "Well first of all I think it will be a very nice trip, especially for the relationships

  • that the pilgrims will probably create among each other, and I also want to see the places

  • that the pilgrims have visited, well the fictional characters have visited in the stories told

  • in the Canterbury Tales."

  • And so after a meal to get to know each other the the pilgrims gather the next morning at

  • the site of the Tabard, now just a bustling alleyway in the shadow of one of London's

  • newest buildings.

  • "I'm extremely excited, I've been really excited all week. I want to hear all the stories,

  • I want to hear people's interpretations of the stories, making them relevant for us and

  • I want to have some fun."

  • And after a moment to honour Chaucer himself, our Pilgrims are on their way...

  • "Centuries old words still carry so much humour, so much life, so much recognisable truth about

  • the human condition. It's a real pleasure just to access those words and embody them

  • through this pilgrimage."

  • After four days and some less than perfect weather, the pilgrims take part in an important

  • ritual just before they arrive at their destination...

  • "When Henry II came on pilgrimage to Canterbury to atone for the death for Thomas A Becket

  • who he had directly had killed, he got of his horse at this church, St Dunstan's, and

  • removed his shoes and walked the rest of the way barefoot, so in memory of Henry II we're

  • doing the same thing."

  • "I'm hoping that the pilgrims will feel a kind of real sense of achievement which borders

  • on a real spiritual emotional feeling at the end. This is definitely a literary pilgrimage

  • but I don't think you can escape that close-knit group travelling together over a number of

  • days, that feeling at the end of momentous spiritual feeling and I'm hoping people will

  • feel that as we arrive in Canterbury."

It's one of London's oldest pubs and even on a chilly Tuesday night people are gathering

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B1 INT UK canterbury pilgrimage chaucer coaching pub hoping

Canterbury Tales - 2013 Pilgrimage

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