Founded as a monastery
by King Peada of Mercia in 655. Destroyed by the Danes in 870 and
re-founded by King Edgar over 100 years later. Hereward the Wake attacked
and plundered it about 1070 and approx 40 years later it was completely
destroyed by fire. The present church was begun in 1118 and the church was
dedicated in 1238. The building is of Barnack stone, 481 feet long by 206
feet wide and approx 81 feet high with the tower reaching 143 feet into the
heavens. The nave is a superb example of Norman architecture dating from
the second half of the 12th Century. The painted wooden ceiling is unique
in all England and dates back to 1220. In the retrochoir the ceiling has
magnificent fan vaulting and the “hedda stone” an important piece of Anglo-Saxon
sculpture dating from about 800. In front of the retrochoir are two burial
places one the tomb of Catherine of Aragon first Queen of Henry VIII who was
buried here in 1536. The second tomb was that of Mary Queen of Scots
buried here in 1587. However her son James I had her body removed and reburied
in Westminster Abbey in 1612. Henry VIII founded and endowed the Kings
school where the future choristers were to be educated.
A fine Norman Cathedral
built under the direction of Bishop De Josinga in 1096. When he died in
1119 he was buried in the chancel and the work continued until the finished
building was consecrated in 1278. The Norman plan, which incidentally is
the only one to survive in this country, featured a Bishops Throne at the East
end, in an apse behind the altar. It is suggested the throne is approx
1000 years old which if confirmed would make it the oldest Bishops Throne in any
English Cathedral. The nave has a superb roof with close on 800 roof
bosses. Outside the building there are an array of Norman flying
buttresses which were needed to support this huge burden. The spire is the
second highest in England at 315 feet (Salisbury is the highest) was added in
the late 15th Century by Goldwell.
Bury St.Edmunds Cathedral
The Cathedral church
since 1914 has been St James, a 16th Century building with some 19th Century
The parish church of St
Mary was raised to the status of Cathedral just prior to the First World War.
A fine 15th Century tower is topped off with a superb open lantern and spire
added in 1749. Inside must be seen to be really appreciated, the cathedral
has been wonderfully restored to give a tremendous feeling of warmth and light
which is brought alive when seen to the accompaniment of the two wonderful
The Cathedral was
founded by St Etheldreda in 673 but work on the present building did not
commence until the appointment of Abbot Simeon in 1081. It is only on
entering the Cathedral that the length of the nave becomes apparent (537ft in
length) with a wonderful painted wooden ceiling 72ft high, conceived by Alan
Walsingham over 600 years ago. The effect of its design with its beautiful
fan vaulting and delicate tracery makes it one of the highlights of English
architecture. The chapels which surround the extension contain some of the
most elaborate and extraordinary carvings to be seen in England.
Kings College, Cambridge
One of the most
outstanding buildings in Britain and the finest Gothic building in Europe.
It was begun in 1446. its unusual dimensions, 300ft long, 80ft high and 40ft
wide, prepare the visitor for its extraordinary system of spatial relationships.
The effect of the interior is breathtaking. the shafts on either side of the
chapel lead the eye up into the roof where the profusion of delicate fan
vaulting appears to be made of lace rather than stone. The organ case
(1606), screen and choir stalls (1536) stained glass windows (1515 incidentally
the year the chapel was completed) act as a perfect foil to the magnificent
roof. Does this give meaning to look upwards to heaven for the splendours
that are above.
Great St. Mary Church, Cambridge
The University church, but
like its sister church in Oxford it must meet the needs of both town and gown.
The outside fixed with a 17th Century tower, it is the inside which
is more noble. Rebuilt at the end of the 15th century after
donations from both Richard III & Henry VII, the actual rebuilding was completed
by 1519 shortly after the more famous Kings College Chapel across the road.
The nave has an arcade of 5 tall slender bays leading to the wide chancel arch.
The roof is original and built from 100 oak trees donated by Henry VIII.
The church has an excellent work of art, The Majestas of Alan Durst
installed as a reredos in 1960, it is given a clear view because there is
no screen to the chancel