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Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral.jpg

Salisbury Cathedral from the northeast

Basic information
Location Salisbury
Full name Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary
County Wiltshire
Country England
Ecclesiastical information
Denomination Church of England
Province Canterbury
Diocese Salisbury
Diocese created 1220
Bishop The Rt. Revd. David Stancliffe
Dean Very Rev June Osborne
Organist David Halls
Website www.salisburycathedral.org.uk
Building information
Previous Cathedrals 2
Dates built 1220-1320
Architect(s) Bishop Richard Poore, Elias of Dereham
Architectural style Early English Gothic
Length 134.7m
Height (choir) 25.6m
Towers 1
Tower height(s) 63.8m (without spire)
Spires 1
Spire height(s) 123m
The plan shows the double transepts with aisles and extended east end, but not the cloisters or chapter house.
Salisbury Cathedral by John Constable, ca. 1825. As a gesture of appreciation for John Fisher, the Bishop of Salisbury, who commissioned this painting, Constable included the Bishop and his wife in the canvas (bottom left).
The cathedral's roof

Salisbury Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in Salisbury, England, considered one of the leading examples of Early English architecture.[1] The main body was completed in only 38 years.

The cathedral has the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom (123m/404 ft). Visitors can take the "Tower Tour" where the interior of the hollow spire, with its ancient wood scaffolding, can be viewed. The cathedral also has the largest cloister and the largest cathedral close in Britain (80 acres).[1] The Cathedral contains the world's oldest working clock (from AD 1386) and has one of the four surviving original copies of the Magna Carta (all four original copies are in England).[1] Although commonly known as Salisbury Cathedral, the official name is the Cathedral of Saint Mary. In 2008, the cathedral celebrated the 750th anniversary of its consecration in 1258.[2]

It is the Mother Church of the Diocese of Salisbury, and seat of the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt. Revd. David Stancliffe.

Contents

History

This sculpture on the west front of the Cathedral is of Bishop Poore, who oversaw the early years of its construction, beginning in 1220. He is holding a model of the Cathedral.

As a response to deteriorating relations between the clergy and the military at Old Sarum, the decision was taken to resite the cathedral and the bishopric was moved to its present place in Salisbury.[3] The move occurred during the tenure of Bishop Richard Poore, who was a wealthy man and donated the new land for construction. The new cathedral was also paid for by donations, principally by all the canons and vicars of the south-west, who were asked to contribute a fixed annual sum until its completion.[4]. Legend has it that the Bishop of Old Sarum shot an arrow in the direction he would build the cathedral, the arrow hit a deer and the deer finally died in the place where Salisbury Cathedral is now.

The foundation stone was laid on 28 April 1220.[5] Due to the high water table in the new location, the cathedral was built on only four feet of foundations, and by 1258 the nave, transepts and choir were complete. The west front was ready by 1265. The cloisters and chapter house were completed around 1280. Because the cathedral was built in only 38 years, Salisbury Cathedral has a single consistent architectural style, Early English Gothic.

The only major sections of the cathedral built later were the Cloisters, Chapter house, tower and spire, which at 404 feet (123 metres) dominated the skyline from 1320. Whilst the spire is the cathedral's most impressive feature, it has also proved to be troublesome. Together with the tower, it added 6,397 tons (6,500 tonnes) to the weight of the building. Without the addition of buttresses, bracing arches and iron ties over the succeeding centuries, it would have suffered the fate of spires on other great ecclesiastical buildings (such as Malmesbury Abbey) and fallen down; instead, Salisbury is the tallest surviving pre-1400 spire in the world. To this day the large supporting pillars at the corners of the spire are seen to bend inwards under the stress. The addition of tie beams above the crossing led to a false ceiling being installed below the lantern stage of the tower.

Significant changes to the cathedral were made by the architect James Wyatt in 1790, including replacement of the original rood screen and demolition of the bell tower which stood about 320 feet (100 metres) north west of the main building. Salisbury is one of only three English cathedrals to lack a ring of bells, the others being Norwich Cathedral and Ely Cathedral. However it does strike the time every 15 minutes with bells.

The nave
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Chapter House and Magna Carta

The chapter house is notable for its octagonal shape, slender central pillar and decorative mediæval frieze. The frieze circles the interior, just above the stalls, and depicts scenes and stories from the books of Genesis and Exodus, including Adam and Eve, Noah, the Tower of Babel, and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The chapter house also displays the best-preserved of the four surviving original copies of Magna Carta. This copy came to Salisbury because Elias of Dereham, who was present at Runnymede in 1215, was given the task of distributing some of the original copies. Later, Elias became a Canon of Salisbury and supervised the construction of Salisbury Cathedral.

Clock

The Salisbury cathedral clock dating from about AD 1386 is the oldest working modern clock in the world.[6] The clock has no face because all clocks of that date rang out the hours on a bell. It was originally located in a bell tower that was demolished in 1792. The clock was then placed in storage and forgotten until it was discovered in 1929, in an attic of the cathedral. It was repaired and restored to working order in 1956. In 2007 remedial work and repairs were carried out to the clock.[7]

Choir

The Cathedral choir auditions boys and girls aged 8–9 years old annually for scholarships to Salisbury Cathedral School, housed in the old Bishop's Palace. The boys choir and the girls choir (each 16 strong) sing alternate Evensong services throughout the school year. Choristers come from across the country, some boarding. Lay readers (adults) comprise the rest of the choir (singing tenor and bass parts) and tend to live locally.

Depictions in art, literature and film

The cathedral is the subject of famous paintings by John Constable. The view depicted in the paintings has changed very little in almost two centuries.

The cathedral is also the subject of William Golding's novel The Spire which deals with the fictional Dean Jocelin who makes the building of the spire his life's work.

In Edward Rutherfurd's historical novel Sarum, the narrative deals with the human settlement of the Salisbury area from pre-historic times just after the last Ice Age to the modern era. The construction of the Cathedral itself, its famous spire, bell tower and Charter House are all important plot points in the novel, which blends historic characters with invented ones.

The cathedral featured as the setting for the 2005 BBC television drama Mr. Harvey Lights a Candle, written by Rhidian Brook and directed by Susanna White. A teacher takes a party of unruly London fifth-form school children on an outing to the cathedral, and, unbeknownst to them, marking the day 21 years previously when he had proposed to his girlfriend who had later committed suicide. The journey is also his personal pilgrimage to regain his lost spirituality.

The cathedral was the subject of a Channel 4 Time Team programme that was first broadcast on February 8, 2009.

Organs and Organists

Organ

The organ was built in 1877 by Henry Willis & Sons.

Details of the organ from the National Pipe Organ Register

Organists

Assistant organists

  • John Elliott Richardson 1845? - 1863 (then organist)
  • Thomas Bentinck Richardson
  • Albert Edward Wilshire 1881 - 1884
  • George Street Chignell 1886 - 1889[8]
  • Herbert Howells 1917
  • Cuthbert Edward Osmond 1917 - 1927 (later organist of St Albans Abbey)
  • Reginald Moore 1933 - 1947 (afterwards organist of Exeter Cathedral)
  • John Charles Stirling Forster 1947 - 1950
  • Ronald Tickner 1947 - 1954[9]
  • Christopher Hugh Dearnley 1954 - 1957
  • Richard Hey Lloyd 1957 - 1966
  • Michael J Smith 1967 - 1974 (then organist of Llandaff Cathedral)
  • Colin Walsh 1978 - 1985 (later organist of St Albans Cathedral and Lincoln Cathedral)
  • David Halls 1985 - 2005
  • Daniel Cook 2005 - current

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Visitor Information, Salisbury Cathedral". http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/visitor.intro.php. Retrieved 2008-01-17.  
  2. ^ "750th Anniversary, Salisbury Cathedral". http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/750.php. Retrieved 2008-01-17.  
  3. ^ Evans, p. 10-11
  4. ^ Evans, p. 13
  5. ^ Evans, p. 15
  6. ^ "Oldest Working Clock, Frequently Asked Questions, Salisbury Cathedral". http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/visitor.faqs.php?id=23. Retrieved 2009-04-08.  
  7. ^ "Clock repaired, Salisbury Cathedral". http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/news.php?id=239. Retrieved 2008-01-17.  
  8. ^ Dictionary of organs and organists. First Edition. 1912. p.258
  9. ^ Who's who in Music. Fourth Edition. 1962. p.212.

Bibliography

  • Evans, Sydney. Salisbury Cathedral: A reflective Guide, Michael Russell Publishing, Salisbury. 1985.

External links

Coordinates: 51°03′53″N 1°47′51″W / 51.06472°N 1.7975°W / 51.06472; -1.7975

bishop martival built the spire


Simple English

File:Salisbury
Salisbury Cathedral in the morning
File:Cathédrale Salisbury cour inté
Cloister of Salisbury cathedral
File:Salisbury Cathedral - choir facing
Salisbury Cathedral quire (choir)
File:Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop Grounds c.
Salisbury Cathedral by John Constable, ca. 1825. As a gesture of appreciation for John Fisher, the Bishop of Salisbury who commissioned this painting, Constable included the Bishop and his wife in the canvas (bottom left).

Salisbury Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. The main body was completed in only 38 years, starting in 1220. It is considered to be one of the leading examples of Early English architecture.[1]

The cathedral has the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom (123m/404 ft).[1] Visitors can take the 'Tower Tour' where the interior of the hollow spire, with its ancient wood scaffolding, can be seen. The cathedral also has the largest cloister and the largest cathedral precinct ('close') in Britain (80 acres).[1][2] The Cathedral contains the world's oldest working clock (from AD 1386).[3][1] It also has one of the four surviving original copies of the Magna Carta (all four original copies are in England).[1]

Although commonly known as Salisbury Cathedral, the official name is the Cathedral of Saint Mary. In 2008, the cathedral celebrated the 750th anniversary of its consecration in 1258.[4] It the seat of the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt. Revd. David Stancliffe.

Contents

Architectural style

The whole of Salisbury Cathedral (except the tower and spire) is in the Early English style. Slim, pointed, vertical 'lancet' windows are used throughout. The image is simple and pure. There is little or no embellishing, and less detailed tracery than would be used in later buildings. This is characteristic of the Early English style, roughly 1190 to 1310. The consistency of style was achieved by the rapidity of the building.

History

The foundation stone was laid on 28 April 1220.[5] Due to the high water level in the new location, the cathedral was built on only four feet of foundation. By 1258 the nave, transepts and quire (choir) were complete. The west front was ready by 1265. The cloisters and chapter house were completed around 1280. Because the cathedral was built in only 38 years, Salisbury Cathedral has a single consistent architectural style, English Gothic architecture.

The only major parts of the cathedral built later were the Cloisters, Chapter House, tower and spire (1320), which at 404 feet (123 metres) dominates the skyline. Whilst the spire is the cathedral's most impressive feature, it has also proved to be troublesome. Together with the tower, it added 6,397 tons (6,500 tonnes) to the weight of the building. Without the later addition of buttresses, bracing arches and iron ties, it would have fallen down, as spires on other great buildings have done. Instead, Salisbury is said to be the tallest surviving pre-1400 spire in the world. To this day the large supporting pillars at the corners of the spire are bent inwards under the stress.

Chapter House and Magna Carta

The Chapter House is notable for its octagonal shape, slender central pillar and decorative mediæval frieze. The frieze circles the interior, just above the stalls. It shows scenes and stories from the books of Genesis and Exodus. The chapter house displays the best-preserved of the four surviving original copies of Magna Carta.[1] This copy came to Salisbury because Elias of Dereham was present at the meeting with King John at Runnymede in 1215. He was given the task of distributing some of the original copies. Later, Elias became a Canon of Salisbury and supervised the construction of Salisbury Cathedral.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Visitor Information, Salisbury Cathedral". http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/visitor.intro.php. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  2. Cloister = rectangular open space surrounded by covered walks or open galleries. It has open arcades on the inner side, running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle. Close = precinct or area of land surrounded by walls.
  3. The clock, now in the north nave aisle, was in the Bell Tower (demolished in 1789). It has ticked more than 5 million times since it was first built.
  4. "750th Anniversary, Salisbury Cathedral". http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/750.php. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  5. Evans, p15


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