Landscape and Architecture
Cathedrals, Abbeys and Major Churches
New for 2013
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TUTOR: Mike Hope (BA Hons MA MiSTD MCSD FRSA FRGS)
Continuing in the same vein as last years programme, which saw five cathedrals visited, we will undertake to visit further important cathedrals, abbeys and major churches representing all periods of architectural development over the last 1,000 years. Each day we will visit a group of buildings and locations to, once again, contextualize and examine in detail the buildings, their contents and celebrate these marvellous buildings. In a departure from last years programme, this year there will be the inclusion of 20th Century architecture in the guise of new Anglican cathedrals and Roman Catholic cathedrals. The cathedrals, abbeys and churches to be visited may include Bristol Cathedral, Clifton RC Cathedral, St Mary Redcliffe Bristol, Bath Abbey, Malmesbury Abbey, Great Malvern Priory, Pershore Abbey, Worcester Cathedral, Chichester Cathedral, Portsmouth Cathedral, and Portsmouth St John's Roman Catholic Cathedral.
Bristol Cathedral is often overlooked when surveying English cathedrals, but it possesses a wealth of interesting and unique features. It started life as an Augustinian Abbey and at the Dissolution of the Monasteries was one of the newly created dioceses. The Norman Chapter House and mediaeval east end are complimented by the addition of the nave in Victorian times. Clifton Roman Catholic Cathedral was commissioned in 1965 and completed in 1973. This Grade 11* listed building is unashamedly modern in its design and construction. St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol is justifiably famous as one of the most celebrated and beautiful mediaeval churches in England. Its scale and quality are a testament to the importance and wealth of Bristol in the mediaeval period.
Chichester Cathedral dominates not only its city but can be seen for miles, in all directions along the flat coastal plain. Its spire soars above the twin west towers and separate bell tower. It is a wonderful mixture of Norman and Gothic, complete with a wonderful mix of monuments and art both ancient and modern. Portsmouth Cathedral is one of the new dioceses created in 1927. Along with Guildford Diocese, it was created from the vast Diocese of Winchester. It has the distinction of being the last Church of England Cathedral to be completed. Its architectural history is complex as it developed from the original mediaeval parish church of Old Portsmouth. Because of the rapid expansion of Portsmouth and the growth in population, the Roman Catholic Diocese was created before that of the Church of England. As a result the city is one of just a handful with two cathedrals. St John's Roman Catholic Cathedral is a red brick late 19th Century proto gothic building.
Great Malvern Priory nestles in a fold of the Malvern Hills, dominated by its magnificent Perpendicular central tower. Internally there is a powerful Norman nave, the rest of the church being largely Perpendicular in style. The chief glory however is the quality and quantity of mediaeval stained glass to have survived (it ranks along side Fairford). There are also stunning displays of misericords and hundreds of mediaeval tiles. Pershore Abbey was founded in 972 AD and led a relatively quiet existence. At the dissolution, the town elected to keep not the nave as usual but chose instead to keep the Presbytery, central tower, chancel and south transept. As a result the Norman nave (after Gloucester and Tewkesbury) has gone and we are left with a wonderful display of Gothic architecture of the highest quality.
Bath Abbey has an exceptionally complicated history being at one time a cathedral in its own right, and then sharing the title only in name (Bishop of Bath and Wells). It was an abbey firstly, being founded as early as circa 676 AD. Its great Norman cathedral was eventually to be almost completely demolished and replaced by the present magnificent Perpendicular Abbey building which was not completed until the 17th Century Malmesbury Abbey dates back to 676 AD. It was the resting place for St Aldhelm and King Athelstan. In 1143 the abbey underwent a massive rebuilding campaign. Of this vast building, which once boasted a spire taller than Salisbury Cathedral, there remain six bays of the nave, the North arch of the crossing tower, and the walls and piers of the South transept. But most impressive of all is the amazingly decorated South Porch.
Worcester Cathedral was first founded in 680 AD and again in 743 AD. It was destroyed in 1041 by the Danes and for the next 400 years continually rebuilt. Today its famous tower and magnificent church, dominates the city and riverside setting, home to the tombs of St Oswald, St Wulfstan, King John and Henry VIII's elder brother Prince Arthur.
Please note that all the itineraries may be subject to change.