15th Century - Manchester Cathedral


Member Rating 3 out of 5 by davidx on August 4, 2002

Manchester Cathedral only actually acquired this title in the 19th Century but that was simply the renaming of an existing building which started as a Collegiate Church in the 15th Century.

It is virtually certain that there was a church on the site previously and it seems likely that it was connected to the old fort at Castlefield about 1 mile away. Much of the early history of the church is closely connected with that of the country. Its dedication to St Mary, St George and St Denys sounds reminiscent of Agincourt - but why St Denys when the French were defeated there? presumably because Henries V and VI claimed to be heirs to the throne of France.

Later battles contributed to the building. The well-known change of sides by Lord Stanley at Bosworth in 1487 which was instrumental in securing the victory of Henry VII and the victory of the English over the Scots at Flodden in 1513 both were responsible for extensions. None the less there was much feeling in favour of replacing what had been a splendid church by a prurpose built cathedral. Fortunately this was resisted and the building is still there. It has some interesting features of its own. During the Tudor period it lost, regained and lost again its collegiate status as power changed to Protestants, Catholics and Protestants again. In the course of this the nave was significantly widened to take in the space previously occupied by chantry chapels. As a result it still has the widest nave in England.

Another interesting feature is an ancient stone, known as the Angel Stone that probably dates from a predecessor church. Lastly the renovated modern windows should be mentioned with their excellent conveyance of light combined with beautiful glazing.

Manchester Cathedral
Victoria Street
Manchester, England, M3 1SX
+44 161 833 2220

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