Author Ken Follett on the set of Pillars of the Earth
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There are some things that do not necessarily change very much over time, and many tools used by modern-day stonemasons are an excellent example. Several are almost identical to the ones used in medieval times. The actors, Rufus Sewell (Tom), Eddie Redmayne (Jack) and Liam Garrigan (Alfred) took the training in their stride, though with some effort because real limestone is heavy. There were blisters and scrapes on their hands all through the shoot, but they tolerated them and learned from them. They actually expressed a new and keen understanding of what these stonemasons did and how strenuous and difficult it was.

The beautiful Salisbury Cathedral was one of the inspirations for the Kingsbridge cathedral in my book—its high lancet windows and lofty interior are very different to the low, squat construction of the previous tumbledown Kingsbridge cathedral church, and the light that they admit is an instant visual contrast with the dim, shadowy interiors of even King Stephen's royal apartments.

I was delighted to learn that Tandem Communications and Salisbury Cathedral have entered into a partnership in which material from Tandem's own Pillars of the Earth website is now linked to the Cathedral's official site. In fact, there was already a connection between Salisbury Cathedral and the Pillars production: David Oakes, who plays the villainous William Hamleigh, was educated at the Bishop Wordsworth School in the Cathedral Close, and his father is one of the Cathedral canons.

Take a look at Salisbury Cathedral's website—and if you're in the area, visit the real Cathedral too. It boasts the tallest spire in England and is absolutely magnificent. You'll probably bring a camera, but you might also want to bring a pen and notebook to write down your thoughts. After all, look where that took me!

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Next blog: Ken Follett on the young cast and their story arcs in Pillars of the Earth

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