The musings of an obsessive knitter and stash collector

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Manchester Cathedral

Another famous Manchester building for my Secret Pal to see!

The cathedral is now rather detached from the main city centre, although it marked the centre of medieval Manchester. Today's Manchester Cathedral has grown and changed over 600 years. It was dedicated by Henry Vth to St Mary, St Denys and St George, and is built in the perpendicular Gothic style, typified by its tall windows and flat fan-vaulted ceilings.
The first recorded Christian church in Manchester was built in the 7th century. After the invading Danes destroyed this, King Edward the Elder ordered the building of a new church near the earlier site in 923. This church was recorded in the Doomsday book as St. Mary's.
Work on the current building began in 1215 within the confines of the Baron's Court beside the Manor House. The occupying Lords of the Manor were the Grisley family and their coat of arms is still associated with the Catheral to this day. The Grisley family acted as stewards of the church, building and endowing the first chancery, the St. Nicholas Chancery.
In 1311 the succession of the Grisley family ended, and the estate passed by marriage to the de la Warre family. Between 1330 and 1360 the ornately carved entrance to the Lady Chapel and its former tower were contructed. In 1349 the De Trafford family endowed the St. Nicholas Chancery. The involvement of the de la Warre family increased in 1382 when Thomas de la Warre (later appointed Baron of Manchester), became Rector of the parish church.
It was in 1421-2 that the parish church of the little known village that was to become Manchester was raised to the status of a Collegiate Church, and served the surrounding 60 square mile parish. Most of the exterior of the building is a 19th century reconstruction carried out by Joseph Crowther, he was copied the original building, and none of the original styling has been lost. The possible exception is the west front, which was rather ornately over-reconstructed in celebration of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897 by Sir Basil Champneys.
The interior has many examples of period woodwork in the form of the finest late medieval woodcarving, carried out between 1485 and 1506 by the so-called 'Ripon Carvers'. The old Collegiate Church was became a cathedral in 1847.
In December1940, the building received a direct hit during the Manchester blitz, and much damage was sustained, many fine windows being lost forever. Fortunately, much of the woodcarving survived the bombing. Saxon stone fragments survive from the 8th century.

Now, the Fire Window by Margaret Traherne, occupies a place near to the site of the impact. This window was damaged by the IRA bomb in 1996 but has been reconstructed. On the west side of the cathedral are five modern windows made by Tony Holloway and representing "St George", "St Mary", "St Denys", "Genesis" and "Revelations". The oldest part of the building are the piers which support the tower, which date from 1380.

The cathedral runs a drop in centre for the homeless in Manchester, providing support and activities and refreshments in the Booth Centre.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, these pics look great!
I should think about a personal handing over of the last secret pal gift ... ;-))

4:30 pm GMT  

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