Exeter Cathedral: Wikis

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Exeter Cathedral
Exeter Cathedral (West End) 300px.jpg
Basic information
Location Exeter
Full name Cathedral Church of Saint Peter
Geographic coordinates 50°43′21″N 3°31′48″W / 50.72244°N 3.52991°W / 50.72244; -3.52991Coordinates: 50°43′21″N 3°31′48″W / 50.72244°N 3.52991°W / 50.72244; -3.52991
County Devon
Country United Kingdom
Ecclesiastical information
Denomination Church of England
Tradition Broad Church
Province Canterbury
Diocese Exeter
Diocese created 1050
Bishop The Rt Revd Michael Langrish DD
Dean The Very Revd Jonathan Meyrick
Canons Carl Turner, Precentor
Tom Honey, Treasurer and Pastor
Andrew Godsall, Chancellor
Dr Paul Avis, Theologian
Director of
Music
Andrew Millington
Organist Paul Morgan, Organist
Stephen Tanner, Assistant Organist
Website www.exeter-cathedral.org.uk
Building information
Previous Cathedrals 2
Dates built 1112-1400
Architectural style Norman, Gothic

Exeter Cathedral, the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter at Exeter, is an Anglican cathedral, and the seat of the Bishop of Exeter, in the city of Exeter, Devon in South West England.

The present building was complete by about 1400, and has several notable features including an early set of misericords, an astronomical clock and the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling in England.

Contents

History

The founding of the cathedral at Exeter, dedicated to Saint Peter, dates from 1050, when the seat of the bishop of Devon and Cornwall was transferred from Crediton because of a fear of sea-raids. A Saxon minster already existing within the town (and dedicated to Saint Mary and Saint Peter) was used by Bishop Leofric as his seat, but services were often held out of doors, close to the site of the present cathedral building.

In 1107, William Warelwast, a nephew of William the Conqueror, was appointed to the see, and this was the catalyst for the building of a new cathedral in the Norman style. Its official foundation was in 1133, after Warelwast's time, but it took many more years to complete. Following the appointment of Walter Bronescombe as bishop in 1258, the building was already recognized as outmoded, and it was rebuilt in the Decorated Gothic style, following the example of nearby Salisbury. However, much of the Norman building was kept, including the two massive square towers and part of the walls. It was constructed entirely of local stone, including Purbeck Marble. The new cathedral was complete by about 1400, apart from the addition of the chapter house and chantry chapels.

One of the misericords, depicting a pipe and tabor player

Like most English cathedrals, Exeter suffered during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, but not as much as it would have done had it been a monastic foundation. Further damage was done during the English Civil War, when the cloisters were destroyed. Following the restoration of Charles II, a new pipe organ was built in the cathedral by John Loosemore. Charles II's sister Henrietta Anne of England was baptised here in 1644. During the Victorian era, some refurbishment was carried out by George Gilbert Scott.

The bombing of the city in World War II caused considerable damage to the cathedral, including the loss of most of the stained glass. Subsequent repairs and the clearance of the area around the western end of the building uncovered portions of earlier structures, including remains of the Roman city and of the original Norman cathedral. Notable features of the interior include the great clock, the minstrels' gallery, and the ceiling bosses, one of which depicts the murder of Thomas Becket. Because there is no centre tower, Exeter Cathedral has the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling in England.

Misericords

The fifty misericords are the earliest complete set in the United Kingdom. They date from two periods: 1220–1230 and 1250–1260. Amongst other things, they depict the earliest known representation of an elephant in the UK. Also, unusually for misericords of this period, they have supporters.

Clock

The clock

The clock is one of the group of famous 14th to 16th century astronomical clocks to be found in the West of England. Others are at Salisbury, Wells, Ottery St Mary, and Wimborne Minster.

The main, lower, dial is the oldest part of the clock, probably dating from the 1480s. The fleur-de-lys 'hand' indicates the time (and the position of the sun in the sky) on a 24-hour analogue dial. The numbering consists of two sets of I-XII Roman numerals. The silver ball and inner dial shows both the age of the moon and its phase (using a rotating black shield to indicate the moon's phase). The upper dial, added in the 1760s, shows the minutes.

The Latin phrase Pereunt et Imputantur, a favourite motto for clocks and sundials first penned by the Latin poet Martial in the poem "Character of a happy life", is usually translated as "they perish and are reckoned to our account", referring to the hours that we spend, wisely or not. The original clockwork mechanism, much modified, repaired, and neglected until it was replaced in the early 20th century, can be seen on the floor below.

The nursery rhyme "Hickory Dickory Dock" originated from Exeter Cathedral. Underneath the Clock, there is a small door, containing a flap. Members of the Clergy were known to have sent cats up through the flap, and into the workings of the Clock to chase out any mice that may be inside.

The 17th century organ case (enlarged in 1891)[1]

Organ and organists

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Organ

The Cathedral organ stands on the ornate medieval screen, preserving the old classical distinction between quire and nave. The largest pipes, the lower octave of the 32ft Contra Violone, stand just inside the south transept. The organ has one of only three trompette militaire stops in the country (the others are in Liverpool Cathedral and London's St Paul's Cathedral), housed in the minstrels' gallery, along with a chorus of diapason pipes.[1]

Organists / Director of Music (since 1999)

  • 1584 Matthew Godwin
  • 1591 Arthur Cocke
  • 1609 John Lugge
  • 1665 Theodore Coleby
  • 1674 Henry Hall
  • 1686 Peter Passmore and John White
  • 1693 Richard Henman
  • 1741 John Silvester
  • 1753 Richard Langdon
  • 1777 William Jackson
  • 1804 James Paddon

Assistant organists / Organist (since 1999)

  •  ???? - 1880? Mr. Vinnicombe
  • 1881 - 1889 Ernest Slater
  • Frederick Gandy Bradford[2]
  • Walter Hoyle[3]
  • 1900 - 1906 Revd Arnold Duncan Culley [4]
  • 1919 - 1927 Ernest Bullock [5] (later organist of Westminster Abbey)
  • 1929 - 1937 William Harry Gabb [6]
  • 1937 - 1940 John Norman Hind
  • 1945 - 1946 John Norman Hind
  • 1950 - 1955 Howard Stephens [7]
  • 1961 - 1969 Christopher Gower
  • 1969 Paul Morgan (until July 2010)

Assistant organist (since 1999)

  • 1994 - present Stephen Tanner

Organ Scholars

Exeter Cathedral has only had one organ scholar in its history.

See also the List of Organ Scholars at Exeter Cathedral.

Holy relics

It is recorded in the missal of the 11th-century that King Athelstan had brought together a great collection of holy relics at Exeter Cathedral; sending out emissaries at great expense to the continent to acquire them. Amongst these items were a little of the bush in which the Lord spoke to Moses, and a bit of the candle which the angel of the Lord lit in Christ's tomb.[8]

Prest's wife and the Stonemason from an 1887 edition of Foxe's Book of Martyrs

Legends

According to the semi-legendary tale, Agnes Prest, during her brief time of liberty in Exeter before her execution in 1557, met a stonemason repairing the statues at the Cathedral, and stated that there was no use repairing their noses, since "within a few days shall all lose their heads".[9]

Wildlife

The Tube web spider Segestria florentina, notable for its metallic green fangs, can be found within the outer walls. The walls are made of calcerous sandstone, which decay from acidic pollution, to form cracks and crevices which the spider and invertebrates inhabit.[10].

Images

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Details of the organ from the National Pipe Organ Register
  2. ^ Dictionary of Organs and Organists. First Edition. 1912. p.252
  3. ^ Dictionary of Organs and Organists. First Edition. 1912. p.291
  4. ^ Dictionary of Organs and Organists. First Edition. 1912. p.265
  5. ^ Who's who in Music. Fourth Edition. 1962. p.30
  6. ^ http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_/ai_n13975654
  7. ^ Who's who in Music. Fourth Edition. 1962. p.201
  8. ^ Jusserland, J.J (1891) English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages. Pub. T. Fisher Unwin. London. P. 327.
  9. ^ John Foxe (1887 republication), Book of Martyrs, Frederick Warne and Co, London and New York, pp. 242–44
  10. ^ Wild Devon The Magazine of the Devon Wildlife Trust,pages 4 to 7 Winter 2009 edition

External links


Simple English

File:Exeter cathedral
Ceiling decoration

[[File:|thumb|right|230px|The clock]] Exeter Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in the city of Exeter, Devon, in the southwest of England. It is the seat of the Bishop of Exeter. The present building was complete by about 1400, and has the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling in England, and other notable features. The cathedral is built in Gothic style.

Contents

History

In 1107, William Warelwast, a nephew of William the Conqueror, was appointed to the see, and this was the catalyst for the building of a new cathedral in the Norman style. Its official foundation was in 1133, after Warelwast's time, but it took many more years to complete. In 1258 the building was already outmoded, and it was rebuilt in the Decorated English Gothic architecture style, following the example of nearby Salisbury Cathedral. However, much of the Norman building was kept, including the two massive square towers and part of the walls. It was constructed entirely of local stone, including Purbeck Marble. The new cathedral was complete by about 1400, apart from the addition of the chapter house and chantry chapels.

World War II

On 4 May 1942, an early morning air raid took place over Exeter. The cathedral sustained a direct hit by a large high-explosive bomb on the chapel of St James, completely demolishing it. The muniment room above, three bays of the aisle and two flying buttresses were also destroyed in the blast. The medieval wooden screen opposite the chapel was smashed into many pieces by the blast, but it has been reconstructed and restored.[1] Fortunately many of the cathedral's most important artifacts, such as the glass of the great east window, the misericords, the Exeter Book, the bishop's throne and the Bronescombe Effigy, had been removed at the start of the war in anticipation of such an attack. Subsequent repairs and the clearance of the area around the western end of the building uncovered portions of earlier structures, including remains of the Roman city and of the original Norman cathedral.

Astronomical clock

The clock is one of a group of famous 14th to 16th century astronomical clocks to be found in the West of England. Another one is at Wells Cathedral.

The main, lower, dial is the oldest part of the clock, dating from 1484.[1] The fleur-de-lys 'hand' indicates the time (and the position of the sun in the sky) on a 24-hour analogue dial. The numbering consists of two sets of I-XII Roman numerals. The silver ball and inner dial shows both the age of the moon and its phase (using a rotating black shield to indicate the moon's phase). The upper dial, added in 1760, shows the minutes.[1]

The Latin phrase Pereunt et Imputantur, a favourite motto for clocks and sundials was written by the Latin poet Martial. It is usually translated as "they perish and are reckoned to our account", referring to the hours that we spend, wisely or not. The original clockwork mechanism was much modified, repaired, and neglected until it was replaced in the early 20th century. The door below the clock has a round hole near its base. This was cut in the early 17th century to allow entry for the Bishop's cat to deter vermin. The vermin were attracted to the animal fat used to lubricate the clock mechanism.[1]

Reference

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Cathedral Church of St Peter in Exeter. Printed leaflet distributed at the Cathedral. 2010.


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