Cabot Tower, Bristol

In October I had the breathless joy of climbing Cabot Tower on Bristol’s Brandon Hill. It was built to commemorate John Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland, Canada, back in 1497. Although the tower is not so tall that one may perceive the North American coast, it affords fantastic views of Bristol and Avon. Upon its walls are written:

This tablet is placed here by the Bristol branch of the Peace Society in the earnest hope that peace and friendship may ever continue between the kindred peoples of this country and America

'Glory to God in the highest and on Earth, peace, good will towards men' Luke 2.14

This tower was erected by public subscription in the 61st year of the reign of Queen Victoria to commemorate the fourth centenary of the discovery of the continent of North America, on June 24, 1497, by John Cabot. Who sailed from this port in the Bristol ship Matthew, with a Bristol crew, under letters patent granted by King Henry VII to that navigator and his sons Lewis, Sebastian and Sanctus.

The Peace Society was originally a Christian organisation that campaigned against all armed conflict. Although the electric atmosphere of the 1930s essentially killed it off, its objective of reducing violent conflict was laudable. Friendship between North America and Europe has indeed continued, especially in this country when we fought on the same side during the two great European wars. I do not need a high tower to sense that future wars are coming, for man’s insatiable sinful nature best exerts itself at times of bloody struggle. Indeed, wars and rumours of war shall only increase until the Prince of Peace returns. So let us pray for peace, but know that war will never cease and desist until the Kingdom of Christ is fully on the earth.

Now a watchman stood on the tower in Jezreel, and he saw the company of Jehu as he came, and said, “I see a company of men.”

And Joram said, “Get a horseman and send him to meet them, and let him say, ‘Is it peace?’ ”

So the horseman went to meet him, and said, “Thus says the king: ‘Is it peace?’ ”

And Jehu said, “What have you to do with peace?...”

2 Kings 9:16-18, New King James Version