St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 28th September 2005

This building has an interesting history.  The first known church on the site, in the precincts of the former Abbey, dedicated to St Denis, was built between 1065 and 1098.  There were two other parish churches inside the abbey, the others being St Mary's (surviving) and St Margaret's (of which only traces survive).  St Denis was demolished between 1121 and 1148 and replaced by a church dedicated to St James.  Between 1390 and 1402 a new chancel was built.  In 1503 work began on a new nave and in 1711 another new chancel was constructed.  Between 1862 an 1864 an new high pitch roof was built over the nave and between 1865 and 1860 yet another chancel was erected.  It wasn't until 1914 that St James's Church became a cathedral, when the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich was created.

This view of this building was taken from the site of the former Abbey church.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 28th September 2005 - MTC

Between 1960 and 1961 the porch and the first part of the cloisters was built, and in 1970 the new choir and crossing was completed.  The tower was completed in 2004.

Immediately to the south of the building is a Norman tower (below), built as a bell tower for St James's, but also as a grand entrance to the abbey church.  It was not originally detached, but was joined to the walls surrounding the abbey precinct.  The cathedral guidebook proudly describes this as one of the finest Norman buildings in the land.  Who am I to argue.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 28th September 2005 - MTC

The tower has interesting crocodile (?) spouts each side of the main archway.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 28th September 2005 - MTC

The tower is a beautiful addition to this ancient building.  Presumably as there is no need for it to contain bells, it has been designed like a massive lantern, letting light flood into the crossing.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 28th September 2005 - MTC

The nave looking west.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 28th September 2005 - MTC

The nave altar with the sanctuary and high altar behind.  The organ gallery is on the left.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 28th September 2005 - MTC

The windows are filled with Victorian glass.  I didn't photograph them all, but here are a couple of examples.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 28th September 2005 - MTC

St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 28th September 2005 - MTC

The enormous canopy of the font dominates the west end.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 28th September 2005 - MTC

This final view of the cathedral was taken through the railings of St Mary's churchyard.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 28th September 2005 - MTC

After visiting this cathedral, I am left with a lingering question about the enormous sums of money spent on enlarging and beautifying  this building, which although is creating a beautiful space, doesn't seem to me to sit well with the priorities apparent on even a casual reading of the gospels.  A cynical view perhaps, but this country has no shortage of gothic ecclesiastical buildings.

Digital photographs


Visitors to this album since June 2003


This is a page from the Roughwood British Churches Album

If you would like to purchase any of the images featured here or commission others of this church, please click here.

If you found this page using a search engine or other link, please use the icons below to link to one of the main sections of the Roughwood web site:

Click here to view the Roughwood Photograph Album
Photo Album

Click here to view the Roughwood Antique Postcard Album
Postcard Album

Click here to view the Roughwood Mill Album
Mill Album

Click here to return to the Roughwood Homepage
Homepage

Click here to view the Roughwood Garden Album
Garden Album

Click here to view the Roughwood Churches Album
Church Album

Click here to view the Roughwood genealogy pages
Genealogy

Google
 
Web www.roughwood.net

Please do not reproduce or store any of the pictures on this site without asking first.