OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

The Story of the English Cathedrals page 2


Pages: 1 <2>

The present fabric was commenced by Bishop Hugh of Avalon in 1192, continued by his namesake Hugh of Wells (1209-35), and completed by the famous Bishop Grosseteste (1235-53). Hugh of Avalon was canonised in 1220, and the Angel Choir was erected in 1280 to receive his shrine. The bishopric of Sherborne was in 1075 transferred to old Sarum, where Bishop Osmund (1078-99) built a cathedral. In consequence of a dispute between the clergy and the custodians of the castle, Bishop Richard Poore in 1219 commenced a new cathedral on the water meadows, where Salisbury now stands. This is the existing cathedral, which was finished by Bishop Giles de Bridport (1257-62). The tower and spire were not, however, added till the beginning of the next century.

The monks of Melrose established a cell at Ripon in 659. Four years later Wilfrid, on being superseded at York, retired to Ripon, where he built a basilica which in 861 was made a cathedral for him. The see lapsed when Wilfrid regained his archbishopric, and the church fell into ruin. The monks were replaced by secular canons, and at the Norman conquest Archbishop Thomas built a new church for them, a fragment of which survives. Archbishop Roger (1154-81) commenced the present church, which was remodelled by Archbishop de Grey (1216-55) and Romanus (1285-96). In 1319 the church was attacked and damaged by the Scotch, In 1836 it was made a cathedral.

A nunnery at Southwark known as S. Mary's Overie was refounded in 1106 as a college of Augus tinian canons, and such it remained until its dissolu tion in 1540. Its church, erected in 1106, was rebuilt after a fire in the early part of the thirteenth century by Peter de Rupibus, bishop of Winchester. In 1614 the building was purchased from the Crown by the parishioners, but the nave gradually fell into ruin and was rebuilt in 1890. In 1905, on the creation of the diocese, it was raised to cathedral rank. Ranking only second to Canterbury, the massive and dignified York minster is one of the chief glories of our English cathedrals. There was a Christian community at York during the Roman occupation, for a bishop of York was present at the Council of Aries in 314. In 624 Paulinus went north to convert the Northumbrian pagans and built a wooden church for the baptism of King Edwin, which was afterwards replaced by a church of stone. In 669 this was repaired or rebuilt by Wilfrid. In 1070 Archbishop Thomas erected a Norman edifice, to which Archbishop Roger added a choir in 1154. In the next century the transepts were reconstructed. A lady chapel was built in 1361; the nave and choir were refashioned and the central tower was heightened before the close of the century. The western towers were added during the last years of the fifteenth century.

Manchester cathedral dates only from the fifteenth century and did not attain its cathedral rank until modern times. The district around Manchester is said to have been evangelised by Paulinus in the seventh century. In 1422 a collegiate church was founded by Thomas de la Warre, and was completed by the beginning of the next century. The college continued in existence with some interruptions till 1847, when Manchester became a bishopric, with the collegiate church for its cathedral. The tower was built in 1868.

Of our medieval bishoprics London possesses the only Renaissance cathedral. The present S. Paul's is the third cathedral which has stood on the same site. The first church was built by Bishop Melletus in 610. This was embellished by Bishop Cedd, but was destroyed by fire in 1085. A "stately and beautiful edifice" was erected in its place by Bishop Maurice in 1314. This was the famous "old S. Paul's." Its spire collapsed in 1561, and the building fell into great dilapidation. In 1665 it perished in the Great Fire. The first stone of the present S. Paul's was laid by Wren in 1675, and in 1710 the top stone of the lantern was placed by his son.

The fabric rolls of our cathedrals do not contain, however, the complete history of the buildings, whose stones witness to much besides their age. So closely were our cathedrals associated with our national life that nearly every event of moment in our political annals finds an echo within their walls.

Winchester was the old capital of England, and its cathedral witnessed the coronations of Egbert and Edward the Confessor, and the burial of Canute, the Danish occupant of the English throne. It beheld likewise the transference of the crown to the Normans, for here the Conqueror was re-crowned in 1070. The abbey of Ely was heavily fined by William I for the support which it had given to Hereward in his forlorn fight for English liberty. Robert of Normandy was buried at Gloucester in 1093. Rufus, whose death had been foretold in the abbey, which had witnessed the consecration of his mentor Anselm in 1093, was buried in Winchester cathedral in the following year. There, too, the nuptials of Henry 1 were celebrated in the year 1101.

Several of our cathedrals saw something of the subsequent struggle of Stephen for the sovereignty. At S. Paul's he was chosen king by the citizens of London in opposition to the Empress Maud, at Winchester there was placed on his head the crown which he afterwards displayed in Hereford when he captured the city, Lincoln cathedral was seized by him during the siege of the castle. Henry II was crowned at Winchester in 1172. At Canterbury he did penance in 1174 before the tomb of Archbishop Becket, who had been murdered in the cathedral by the king's emissaries four years previously. Richard I was re-crowned with great magnificence at Winchester in 1194. The accession of John enabled Bishop Savaric of Bath and Wells to add the abbey of Glastonbury to his see. At S. Paul's the clergy and nobles swore to the observance of the Great Charter in 1216, and John at the close of his inglorious reign was buried at Worcester. Henry III was crowned at Gloucester.

At York in his reign the nuptials of the two successive Scotch kings Alexander II and III with English princesses were celebrated, and Rochester saw something of his struggle with his barons, for in 1264 the cathedral was pillaged by the followers of Simon de Montfort. In 1272 Norwich cathedral was pillaged by a mob. In the reign of Edward II Carlisle cathedral was occupied by Robert Bruce, and the king himself was buried at Gloucester after his murder at Berkeley Castle in 1327. Edward III was married at York minster in 1329 to Philippa of Hainault, and there their infant son was buried in 1335. The victory of the English over the Scotch at Neville Cross in 1346 is still commemorated at Durham cathedral. The Black Prince was buried at Canterbury in 1376, and in the following year Wycliffe appeared before Bishop Courtenay at S. Paul's, when, owing to the intervention of John of Gaunt, the trial ended in a brawl. In 1381 the followers of Wat Tyler broke into Canterbury cathedral and demanded the deposition of Archbishop Sudbury, who shortly afterwards was murdered by a London mob.

King Richard II's own deposition is said to have been instigated in 1399 by Abbot Moot of S. Albans, whose abbey had been attacked by a mob in the year of the Canterbury outbreak. In 1400 Henry IV uncovered the dead face of his predecessor in S. Paul's to certify the citizens of his rival's fate. In 1403 Hotspur was brought for burial to York after his fall at Shrewsbury. Henry V celebrated his victories over the French in S. Paul's in 1415. During the Wars of the Roses the Lancastrians pillaged S. Albans abbey after their victory at the second battle in the city in 1461, and in 1470 Edward IV exposed the body of the King Maker in S. Paul's and visited Exeter in state.

Our cathedrals have numerous historical associations with the Tudor monarchs. In 1497 Henry VII lodged in the cathedral close at Exeter when he came to the city in pursuit of Perkin Warbeck. In 1501 his son Arthur, who was baptized at Winchester, was married to Catherine of Aragon at S. Paul's, and in 1502 the prince was buried in Worcester cathedral. In 1533 Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn stayed at the prior's lodging at Gloucester abbey, and in 1536 the unhappy Catherine of Aragon was buried in Peterborough minster.

At the Reformation Cardinal Campeggio was deprived of the bishopric of Salisbury, and Cardinal Wolsey on his fall retired to Southwell and said his last mass in the minster. Luther's books were burnt in S. Paul's churchyard and in the presence of Bishop Fisher, whilst at S. Paul's cross Ridley and Latimer denounced the errors of Rome. In 1554 Mary was married in Winchester cathedral to Philip of Spain, and in the following year Bishop Hooper was burnt before the abbey gate at Gloucester and Archbishop Cranmer degraded in Christ Church, Oxford, before his execution in the city on the site of Ridley and Latimer's martyrdom. In 1587 the body of Mary Queen of Scots was for a while buried in Peterborough cathedral, after her memorable execution at Fotheringhay.

During the troubled times of the Stuart dynasty the English cathedrals experienced many vicissitudes. The Princess Henrietta was baptized in Exeter cathedral, and Lichfield cathedral was besieged by the parliamentarians, Lord Brooke, their leader, being killed in 1643 by a bullet from the cathedral battlements. The belfry of Salisbury was occupied by Ludlow's troopers, and at Ely, when Bishop Wren was imprisoned, Oliver Cromwell, who was the chapter steward, personally put an end to the choir services. In 1651 Prince Charles, who had watched the movements of his foes previous to the battle from the tower of Worcester cathedral, found a temporary asylum in the close of Salisbury.

In 1685 Wells cathedral was desecrated by the followers of the Duke of Monmouth. In 1688 James II stayed at the bishop's palace at Salisbury on the eve of his flight, and in Exeter cathedral a Te Deum was sung on the arrival of the Prince of Orange and his declaration was read by Bishop Burnet. In 1745 the Young Pretender entered Carlisle and appointed to the bishopric Thomas Coppock, a Roman Catholic priest, who was afterwards executed as a rebel. During the Reform agitation of 1831 a mob at Bristol destroyed the cathedral cloisters and the bishop's palace into the bargain.

The roll of the English bishops is an illustrious one, for it contains the names of many who became famous in the nation's history, as well as in ecclesiastical affairs. The list of the notable occupants of English sees is lengthy, and it is only possible to mention a few of the more celebrated. Of pre-Norman bishops one recalls Theodore of Canterbury, Dunstan of Worcester and Canterbury, Chad of York and Lichfield, and Wilfrid of York, Ripon and Leicester. Some bishops of olden times girded on their armour and drew the sword for or against their sovereign lord the king, and in this connexion we think of those prelate-warriors Antony Bek I of Durham, De Breose of Hereford, and Despenser of Norwich.

Again, numerous bishops held high office in the State, as Stephen Langton, Chichele and Warham, all of Canterbury. Prelates who are also remembered as great scholars include Anselm of Canterbury, Burnet of Salisbury, Coverdale of Exeter and Andrews of Winchester. Most famous of all are Wolsey, successively bishop of Bath and Wells, Lincoln, Durham, and archbishop of York, and later Cardinal; and Thomas a Becket, the martyred archbishop of Canterbury. Years later another famous occupant of this see, Thomas Cranmer, met a tragic fate at the hands of his capricious royal master. Rochester and Worcester cathedrals were once the sees of Ridley and Latimer respectively, burnt at the stake for religious opinions. Finally, it is to be noted that Sancroft of Canterbury, Lake of Chichester, Ken of Bath and Wells, White of Peterborough, Turner of Ely, and Trelawny of Bristol and Exeter were among "the seven bishops" whose imprisonment made history in 1688. Great bishops who were munificent benefactors of learning were Merton of Rochester, Wolsey, Waynflete of Winchester, Fox, William of Wykeham of Winchester, and Alcock of Ely.

<<< Previous page <<<
Pages: 1 <2>

Pictures for The Story of the English Cathedrals page 2

THE PALACE AT STIRLING, HOME OF SCOTTISH ROYALTY
THE PALACE AT STIRLING, HOME OF SCOTTISH ROYALTY >>>>
WINCHESTER'S GREAT CATHEDRAL OF THE HOLY AND INDIVISIBLE TRINITY
WINCHESTER'S GREAT CATHEDRAL OF THE HOLY AND INDIVISIBLE TRINITY >>>>
ELY CATHEDRAL, BUILTBYTHENORMANSWHERE THE SAXONSMADETHEIRLASTSTAND
ELY CATHEDRAL, BUILTBYTHENORMANSWHERE THE SAXONSMADETHEIRLASTSTAND >>>>
WELLS FROM THE BISHOP'S GARDEN AND THE BEAUTIFUL WEST FRONT
WELLS FROM THE BISHOP'S GARDEN AND THE BEAUTIFUL WEST FRONT >>>>
SALISBURY, THE CATHEDRAL WHICH WAS TRANSPLANTED TO A NEW SITE
SALISBURY, THE CATHEDRAL WHICH WAS TRANSPLANTED TO A NEW SITE >>>>
CHICHESTER'S SOARING SPIRE, A LANDMARK FOR SHIPS IN THE CHANNEL
CHICHESTER'S SOARING SPIRE, A LANDMARK FOR SHIPS IN THE CHANNEL >>>>
BELL TOWER OF CHICHESTER DETACHED FROM THE CATHEDRAL
BELL TOWER OF CHICHESTER DETACHED FROM THE CATHEDRAL >>>>
GLOUCESTER'S ABBEY CHURCH MADE A CATHEDRAL AT THE DISSOLUTION
GLOUCESTER'S ABBEY CHURCH MADE A CATHEDRAL AT THE DISSOLUTION >>>>
DURHAM, HALF CHURCHOF GOD, HALF CASTLE 'GAINSTTHE SCOT'
DURHAM, HALF CHURCHOF GOD, HALF CASTLE 'GAINSTTHE SCOT' >>>>
WORCESTER, SEAT OF A BISHOP SINCE THE DAYS OF THE SAXONS
WORCESTER, SEAT OF A BISHOP SINCE THE DAYS OF THE SAXONS >>>>
CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF S. MARY AND S. CHAD AT LICHFIELD
CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF S. MARY AND S. CHAD AT LICHFIELD >>>>
TOWER AND TURRET OF GLORIOUS LINCOLN CATHEDRAL
TOWER AND TURRET OF GLORIOUS LINCOLN CATHEDRAL >>>>
AS ITS BUILDERS COULD NEVER SEE IT: HEREFORD CATHEDRAL FROM THE AIR
AS ITS BUILDERS COULD NEVER SEE IT: HEREFORD CATHEDRAL FROM THE AIR >>>>
NORTH TRANSEPT OF HEREFORD AND THE LADY CHAPEL
NORTH TRANSEPT OF HEREFORD AND THE LADY CHAPEL >>>>
WEST FRONT OF PETERBOROUGH, DATING FROM THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY
WEST FRONT OF PETERBOROUGH, DATING FROM THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY >>>>

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About