Canterbury Cathedral in England

Friday, 4 February 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  10 minutes

© Hans Musil/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Hans Musil/cc-by-sa-4.0

Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England. It forms part of a World Heritage Site. It is the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, currently Justin Welby, leader of the Church of England and symbolic leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Its formal title is the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Christ at Canterbury. Founded in 597, the cathedral was completely rebuilt between 1070 and 1077. The east end was greatly enlarged at the beginning of the 12th century and largely rebuilt in the Gothic style following a fire in 1174, with significant eastward extensions to accommodate the flow of pilgrims visiting the shrine of Thomas Becket, the archbishop who was murdered in the cathedral in 1170. The Norman nave and transepts survived until the late 14th century when they were demolished to make way for the present structures. Before the English Reformation the cathedral was part of a Benedictine monastic community known as Christ Church, Canterbury, as well as being the seat of the archbishop.

The cathedral ceased to be an abbey during the Dissolution of the Monasteries when all religious houses were suppressed. Canterbury surrendered in March 1539, and reverted to its previous status of ‘a college of secular canons’. According to the cathedral’s own website, it had been a Benedictine monastery since the 900s. The New Foundation came into being on 8 April 1541. The shrine to St Thomas Becket was destroyed on the orders of Henry VIII and the relics lost. In 1642–1643, during the English Civil War, Puritan iconoclasts caused significant damage during their “cleansing” of the cathedral. Included in that campaign was the destruction of the statue of Christ in the Christ Church Gate and the demolition of the wooden gates by a group led by Richard Culmer. The statue would not be replaced until 1990 but the gates were restored in 1660 and a great deal of other repair work started at that time; that would continue until 1704.

In 1688, the joiner Roger Davis, citizen of London, removed the 13th century misericords and replaced them with two rows of his own work on each side of the quire. Some of Davis’s misericords have a distinctly medieval flavour and he may have copied some of the original designs. When Sir George Gilbert Scott carried out renovations in the 19th century, he replaced the front row of Davis’ misericords, with new ones of his own design, which seem to include many copies of those at Gloucester Cathedral, Worcester Cathedral and New College, Oxford.

The original towers of Christ Church Gate were removed in 1803 and were replaced in 1937. The statue of Christ was replaced in 1990 with a bronze sculpture of Christ by Klaus Ringwald. The original Norman northwest tower, which had a lead spire until 1705, was demolished in 1834 owing to structural concerns. It was replaced with a Perpendicular-style twin of the southwest tower (designed by Thomas Mapilton), now known as the “Arundel Tower”, providing a more symmetrical appearance for the cathedral. This was the last major structural alteration to the cathedral to be made. In 1866, there were six residentiary canonries, of which one was annexed to the Archdeaconry of Canterbury and another to that of Maidstone. In September 1872, a large portion of the Trinity Chapel roof was completely destroyed by fire. There was no significant damage to the stonework or interior and the damage was quickly repaired. During the bombing raids of the Second World War its library was destroyed, but the cathedral did not sustain extensive bomb damage; the local Fire Wardens doused any flames on the wooden roof. In 1986, a new Martyrdom Altar was installed in the northwest transept, on the spot where Thomas Becket was slain, the first new altar in the cathedral for 448 years. Mounted on the wall above it, there is a metal sculpture by Truro sculptor Giles Blomfield depicting a cross flanked by two bloodstained swords which, together with the shadows they cast, represent the four knights who killed Becket. A stone plaque also commemorates Pope John Paul II’s visit to the United Kingdom in 1982. In 2015, Sarah Mullally and Rachel Treweek became the first women to be ordained as bishops in the cathedral, as Bishop of Crediton and Bishop of Gloucester respectively. The cathedral is the Regimental Church of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment. The cathedral is also used as one of the venues for the graduation ceremonies of the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University.

Choir © Diliff/cc-by-sa-3.0 Cloisters © Diliff/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Hans Musil/cc-by-sa-4.0 Roof of Bell Harry Tower - fan vaulting of the crossing © Tobiasvonderhaar/cc-by-sa-3.0 Stained glas windows © Peter K Burian/cc-by-sa-4.0 © wyrdlight.com - Antony McCallum/cc-by-sa-4.0 Canterbury Cathedral viewed from Butchery Lane © Peter K Burian/cc-by-sa-4.0
<
>
Roof of Bell Harry Tower - fan vaulting of the crossing © Tobiasvonderhaar/cc-by-sa-3.0
Much of the stonework at Canterbury Cathedral is damaged and crumbling, the roofs are leaking and much of the stained glass is badly corroded. The last quinquennial structural review revealed that a combination of centuries of weathering, pollution and constant use had taken its toll on the ancient building and some serious problems were in need of urgent action. The single biggest challenge is the roof. The cathedral is covered by a huge expanse of lead and whilst the majority of the wooden framework remains sound, much of the lead itself needs replacing. In addition, a large amount of concrete encasing the bottom of the roof beams needs to be removed and replaced with traditional wooden footers. Conservation of the external masonry, particularly on the northern side of the building, is equally important. The cathedral is in part built of Caen stone. Detailed archaeological studies are undertaken to identify exactly which stones need to be replaced or repaired. In addition, specialist cleaning techniques are used to remove accumulated chemical deposits which are very damaging to the building. As regards the interior, priorities include decoration of the vaults of the Trinity Chapel, conservation work in several other chapels, and major improvements to the Treasury building, which contains, amongst other things, the choir practice rooms. The earliest coloured glass windows in the cathedral date from the late 12th century, whilst others are as new as the four Ervin Bossányi windows in the south-east transept (1957). Many have already been conserved and protected by the team of stained glass conservators led by Leonie Seliger. However, much conservation work remains to be done, notably on the Oculus window in the south-east transept – a late 12th-century round window. During the autumn of 2008, a major restoration of the lead roof over the transept was completed at a cost of approximately £500,000. In 2018, the lead roof of the nave was replaced. The extensive restoration of the cathedral that was underway in mid-2018 was part of a 2016–2021 schedule that also includes improved landscaping and accessibility, new visitor facilities and a general external restoration. was expected to cost nearly £25 million; the funding included a £13.8 million Heritage Lottery grant, £10.9 million from by the Canterbury Cathedral Trust and £250,000 from the Friends of the Cathedral.

The Foundation is the authorised staffing establishment of the cathedral, few of whom are clergy. The head of the cathedral is the Dean, currently Robert Willis, who is assisted by a chapter of 30 canons, four of whom are residentiary, the others being honorary appointments of senior clergy in the diocese. There are also a number of lay canons who all together form the greater chapter which has the legal responsibility both for the cathedral itself and also for the formal election of an archbishop when there is a vacancy-in-see. By English law and custom, they may only elect the person who has been nominated by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister. The Foundation also includes the choristers, lay clerks, organists, King’s Scholars, the Six Preachers and a range of other officers; some of these posts are moribund, such as that of the cathedral barber. The cathedral has a workforce of over 300 (many of whom work part-time), and approximately 800 volunteers.

Read more on Canterbury Cathedral, VisitBritain.com – Canterbury Cathedral and Wikipedia Canterbury Cathedral (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




Recommended posts:

Share this post: (Please note data protection regulations before using buttons)

Hamburg's warehouse district, the largest historic warehouse complex in the world

Hamburg's warehouse district, the largest historic warehouse complex in the world

[caption id="attachment_25354" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © Thomas Wolf - www.foto-tw.de/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Speicherstadt (meaning warehouse district) in Hamburg is the largest warehouse district in the world where the buildings stand on timber-pile foundations. It is located in the the HafenCity quarter and was built from 1883 to 1927. The Speicherstadt is located in the port of Hamburg and 1.5 km (0.93 mi) long and pervaded by loading canals. The district was built as a free zone to trans...

[ read more ]

Le Lavandou on the Côte d'Azur Varoise

Le Lavandou on the Côte d'Azur Varoise

[caption id="attachment_216782" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Cavaliere Beach © Ladislaus Hoffner/cc-by-sa-4.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Le Lavandou (Occitan: Lo Lavandor) is a commune in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. It derives its name either from the flower lavender (lavanda in Provençal) that is prevalent in the area, or more prosaically from the local form of the Occitan name for lavoir, lavandor (for lavador, a public place for washing clothes). The (then)...

[ read more ]

Łęknica in Poland

Łęknica in Poland

[caption id="attachment_234157" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © PaulT (Gunther Tschuch)/cc-by-sa-4.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Łęknica is a border town in western Poland, one of the two gminas of Żary County in Lubusz Voivodeship. Muskau Park (Park Mużakowski), a Polish-German World Heritage Site, stretches north of the town centre. The town is situated in the Polish part of the historic Upper Lusatia region, in the broad valley of the Neisse river, which forms the border with Germany. A bridge across the river c...

[ read more ]

Israeli development towns

Israeli development towns

[caption id="attachment_213527" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Or Yehuda © Oyoyoy/cc-by-sa-4.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Development towns were new settlements built in Israel during the 1950s in order to provide permanent housing for a large influx of Jewish immigrants from Arab countries, Holocaust survivors from Europe and other new immigrants (Olim), who arrived to the newly established State of Israel. The towns were designed to expand the population of the country's peripheral areas while easing pressure on the crowded ...

[ read more ]

Theme Week Lapland - Inari, capital of Sámi culture

Theme Week Lapland - Inari, capital of Sámi culture

[caption id="attachment_229211" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Sami flag at a reindeer farm © Manfred Werner/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Inari is Finland's largest municipality by area (but one of the most sparsely populated), with four official languages, more than any other in the country. Its major sources of income are tourism, service industry and cold climate testing. With the Siida museum in the village of Inari, it is a center of Sámi culture, widely known as the "capital of Sámi culture". The airport in ...

[ read more ]

Thebes in Egypt

Thebes in Egypt

[caption id="attachment_230470" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Ramesseum, the memorial temple of Pharaoh Ramesses II © Wouter Hagens/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Thebes, known to the ancient Egyptians as Waset, was an ancient Egyptian city located along the Nile about 800 kilometers (500 mi) south of the Mediterranean. Its ruins lie within the modern Egyptian city of Luxor. Thebes was the main city of the fourth Upper Egyptian nome (Sceptre nome) and was the capital of Egypt for long periods during the Middle Kingdo...

[ read more ]

Byron Bay in Australien

Byron Bay in Australien

[caption id="attachment_151438" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Bryon Bay © Travis.Thurston/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Byron Bay is a beachside town located in the far-northeastern corner of the state of New South Wales. It is located 772 kilometres (480 mi) north of Sydney and 165 kilometres (103 mi) south of Brisbane. Cape Byron, a headland adjacent to the town, is the easternmost point of mainland Australia. The town has a permanent population of 5,000. The town is in turn the nucleus of Byron Shire, which has i...

[ read more ]

Newport in Oregon

Newport in Oregon

[caption id="attachment_151789" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Yaquina Bay Bridge © Visitor7/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Newport is a city in Lincoln County, Oregon. It was incorporated in 1882, though the name dates back to the establishment of a post office in 1868. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 10,000, an increase of nearly 13% over its 2000 population. Newport is the county seat of Lincoln County. It is also the home of the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Yaquina Head Lighthouse, and Rogue Al...

[ read more ]

Theme Week Bhutan

Theme Week Bhutan

[caption id="attachment_221249" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Rice terraces - Eli Shany/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Bhutan, officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas. It is bordered by Tibet to the north and India to the south. Nepal and Bangladesh are located in proximity to Bhutan but do not share a land border. The country has a population of over 754,000 and a territory of 38,394 square kilometers (14,824 sq mi) which ranks 133rd in terms of land area, and 160th...

[ read more ]

Designer Outlets in Europe

Designer Outlets in Europe

[caption id="attachment_152773" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © lavalleevillage.com[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]A factory outlet mall (or outlet center) is a type of shopping mall, in which manufacturers sell their products directly to the public through their own branded stores. Outlet malls first appeared in the United States as a development of the traditional factory outlet: a store attached to a factory or warehouse. An outlet mall places several such outlets under one roof in a convenient location, usually an "ou...

[ read more ]

Return to TopReturn to Top
© Xvlun/cc-by-sa-2.5
Krak des Chevaliers in Syria

Krak des Chevaliers or Crac des Chevaliers, also called Ḥiṣn al-Akrād (literally "Fortress of the Kurds") and formerly Crac de...

Crown Princess in Cockburn Town, Grand Turk Island © CB2379/cc-by-sa-3.0
The Crown Princess

Crown Princess is a Crown-class cruise ship owned and operated by Princess Cruises. Her maiden voyage took place on June...

© Huhu Uet/cc-by-sa-3.0
Marco Polo Tower in Hamburg

The Marco Polo Tower is a residential building in the HafenCity district of Hamburg's Mitte district. Together with the neighboring...

Close