The Medieval Cathedral of Chester

The Medieval Cathedral of Chester

Much of the exterior stonework has been refaced in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Much of the exterior stonework has been refaced in the 19th and 20th centuries.

One of my favourite things to do while travelling is to visit the beautiful cathedrals of that country. England has so many spectacular Cathedrals but high on my list of favourites is definitely the beautiful Medieval Cathedral of Chester. Chester is close to the border of Wales and I spent the day exploring this beautiful old town with my friend Yvonne.

The sandstone exterior (from the south west) has much decorative architectural detail but is heavily restored.

The sandstone exterior (from the south west) has much decorative architectural detail but is heavily restored.

Chester Cathedral is a Church of England cathedral and the mother church of the Diocese of Chester. The cathedral is dedicated to Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary and located right in the city centre. Unlike a lot of the Cathedrals of England you don’t have to pay to explore this beautiful piece of art. Instead you can make a donation if you wish or buy something at the little Cathedral shop.

The building of the nave, begun in 1323, was halted by plague and completed 150 years later.

The building of the nave, begun in 1323, was halted by plague and completed 150 years later.

The Chancel- the High Altar has a reredos by J.R. Clayton of Clayton and Bell, and a seasonal altar frontal in the Art Nouveau style.

The Chancel- the High Altar has a reredos by J.R. Clayton of Clayton and Bell, and a seasonal altar frontal in the Art Nouveau style.

gargoyles protecting

Gargoyles protecting the Cathedral

Chester Cathedral is built of New Red Sandstone, in this case Keuper Sandstone from the Cheshire Basin. The stone lends itself to detailed carving, but is also friable, easily eroded by rain and wind, and is badly affected by pollution. This Cathedral has quite an array of different gargoyles protecting it but a lot of them are so eroded that you cant even make out what they used to be.

The nave lectern and tiled floor

The nave lectern with the choir stalls behind it

The Medieval Cathedral of Chester

The Medieval Cathedral of Chester

The cathedral, typical of English cathedrals in having been modified many times, dates from between 1093 and the early 16th century. All the major styles of English medieval architecture, from Norman to Perpendicular, are represented in the present building and creates an eerie harmony inside the Cathedral.

The Cloister Garth and Refectory

The Cloister Garth and Refectory

The Cloister Garth and Refectory was definitely the most striking and peaceful part of this beautiful Cathedral. I loved the fountain in the middle with the Cathedral as its striking background.

The Cathedral has some very detailed and beautiful lead glass windows depicting different nativity scenes.

Angel inside the Cloisters

Angel inside the Cloisters

The Nativity Window in the Chapel of St Werburgh, by Michael O’Connor (1853)

The buildings are a major tourist attraction in Chester, but it was quite empty on this weekday which was fabulous for taking photos. In addition to holding services for Christian worship, the cathedral is used as a venue for concerts and exhibitions, evidence of this can be seen in the speakers that are fixed to a lot of the beautiful pillars.

The Lady Chapel, Early English Gothic,

The Lady Chapel, Early English Gothic,


The Cheshire Regiment Memorial Garden

The Cheshire Regiment Memorial Garden