Battlefield History Tours

Battlefield History Tours
Incorporating History and Heritage tours

Cathedrals and Abbeys of England on 9 September 2019


We awoke this morning to what would be a very wet day. Today we went further to the West to visit one of the youngest of the English Cathedral Cities, Truro. Nowhere in England are the early Celtic roots of Christianity so obvious with the profusion of local saints is Cornwell. In contrast to this the Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin, in Truro, has the distinction of being the first entirely new foundation since the Reformation. The consecration was performed in 1887 by Edward White Benson, who had moved 4 years earlier from being the first Bishop of Truro to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The building's position in the centre of this small Cornish City is unique among English Cathedrals and is a powerful focus for the County with its 3 strong spires.

This is a Victorian Building and in fact could be revered to as a Colonial Building as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane Cathedrals were being built at the same time. Truro Cathedral was built because the diocese of Truro was formed, and it was the Parish Church of Truro that was selected to be transformed into the Cathedral as we see it now. The site was selected due to its location and the amount of land available for the building. Pearson, the Architect, had a vision of a cathedral in the Anglo-French style tucked into the heart of the city and using the south aisle of the mediaeval parish church of St Mary as the outer south aisle of the new cathedral choir. Fitting the cathedral into the city and not disrupting the local adjacent traders had caused a 6% bend halfway up the length of the cathedral.

This was the first new cathedral to be built in 500 years. The Foundation stone was laid in 1880 and the completed cathedral was consecrated in 1910. Cornwell is part of Celtic Europe with links to Celtic Christianity and as such that when an ancient monastery was closing in Brittany, the Monks donated a 700 years old statue depicting Mary holding Jesus as he was removed from the cross. This and another statue are the oldest items in the cathedral.

There is a magnificent font in the Baptistry which was paid for by the children at Sunday School and, their Sunday School teachers paid for the canopy above the font. The organ is from the 1700 period and due to the wonderful aesthetics does not need a heavy hand to operate it. Another special is the Victorian Glass Glazing Scheme that is followed by Melbourne's Cathedral.

The 3 aspects of this cathedral that make it so special are:

• Pearson's Architecture.
• The Stained-Glass Windows and
• Father Willis's Organ which is rated as one of the best organs in the world.

This was an excellent day visiting a truly beautiful cathedral. Tomorrow we stay in the are and visit Buckfast Abbey.


Graham Fleeton


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