Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Chester Cathedral (Chester)

The Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary is the cathedral serving the ancient city of Chester.

It is an attractive building, constructed, as so many in the Welsh Marches are, of the local red sandstone.

The original structure here was the abbey church of St. Werburgh, the dauhter of Wulfhere, King of Mercia, who entered her kinswoman St. Etheldreda's monastery at Ely. Her remains were translated to Chester in the 9th century.

The abbey was founded by Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester who was the nephew of William the Conqueror, in 1093. Also involved was the future Archbishop of Canterbury, St. Anselm.

There was a cathedral in Chester for a few years during the late 11th century, but the building used was the ancient St. John's Church.

Parts of the Norman building, including the North transept, survive, and there is a considerable amount of the Early English style.

The cathedral has an excellent collection of canopied choir stalls, and some superb misericords.

At the time of the Reformation, it was still a Benedictine abbey, and was raised to the status of cathedral under Henry VIII in 1541.

An unusual 20th century addition is the free standing bell tower, opened in 1975.

Chester Cathedral is famous for its mediaeval Mystery Plays.

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