Chester Cathedral – its history and heritage

Even in a city so rich in beauty and history, Chester Cathedral is a building that never fails to catch the eye of a tourist, and is a good example of how the city is using historic buildings to address modern needs. While it remains primarily a place of worship, its spaciousness, location and outstanding design lend it well to such events as the hosting of plays, lectures and youth groups.

The cathedral through time

Like most of the city’s oldest landmarks, Chester Cathedral has its roots in the Roman times, but the architecture is also of Gothic style with its bays and window displaying this.

Throughout its history, the cathedral has been worked on by at least six architects. Richard Lenginour was the earliest of these, spending time on the building in the 13th and 14th Centuries, while much of the 19th-century restoration work was that of George Gilbert Scott, also known for his role on the Midland Grand Hotel and the University of Glasgow.

Architecture buffs should note that the bell tower, when it was built in the 1970s, was the first detached one to be built at a cathedral in five centuries, with the previous one being at Chichester Cathedral in the 15th Century.

Claims to fame

Chester Cathedral has played an important role in the history of music and songwriting. The well-known hymn writer William Cooke was a canon there, and translated many holy songs from German. Composers John Sanders and Robert White have also appeared as organists there.

The arts are still a key provision at the cathedral, although often in a more modernised way. Recent years have seen the ‘Up the Wall’ showcase of theatre and sound make annual appearances there, and locals will be able to enjoy a production of the Raymond Briggs classic tale ‘The Snowman’ at the cathedral this winter.

Posted by Matt Hughes
September 18, 2014
Features

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