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Extracts from England’s Other Cathedrals along with a feature written by the author. Due to be published by The History Press in April 2012


Terrington St Clement Church

Byland Abbey, looking west







Beverley Minster

Bath Abbey, from the south-west


Tewkesbury Abbey

Fountains Abbey, from the south-east


Exploring England’s Other Cathedrals by Paul Jeffery In turning what began as a fascinating idea into the reality of a book I have visited or revisited almost all of the ‘other cathedrals’. Some seemed like old friends; others were new to me. Most rewarding in architectural and artistic terms have been those medieval churches fully of cathedral size and splendour and still in use today – such as Beverley Minster, Tewkesbury Abbey and Westminster Abbey. But many others are equally exciting. Some are mutilated but still in use. Chester St. John, though now only a parish church, began life as a Norman cathedral: the outside is battered and partly in ruins, but the inside is splendid. At Bridlington Priory only the nave still stands, but this is convincingly of cathedral scale and quality. Also wonderful are some of the successors to lost Anglo-Saxon cathedrals, especially the thrilling abbeys of Dorchester (Oxfordshire), Hexham and Sherborne. Rewarding in a different way are those that are now in ruin. Some, such as the famous Fountains Abbey, are superb and inspiring even in their roofless state. Others are much more ruinous: for example, though enough remains of Bury St. Edmunds Abbey to show how enormous and magnificent it must have been, one’s main feeling must be regret for what has been lost. A very different pleasure has been seeing the cathedrals of the nineteenth century and later. Many of these have been new to me; indeed, most are little known. Yet they are often a delight. An example is Portsmouth’s Anglican cathedral. From east to west it has first beautiful work of about 1180, then of the late 17th century, then the 1930s, and finally of 1991. Another is the Roman Catholic cathedral at Brentwood, most of which was built in 1989-91, remarkably not ‘modern’ but in an exquisite baroque style that might have been designed by Wren. Some visits have been memorable for other reasons. One took me deep into the bowels of Welbeck Abbey to see the surviving medieval parts of what might have been made a cathedral by Henry VIII. The abbey is now a vast mansion mostly of the seventeenth century and later. For sixty years it was used as an army college, but in 2005 it returned to being entirely a private home. As a house it is amazing; but equally so are the underground rooms and tunnels built round it for the eccentric Victorian fifth Duke of Portland. Some are dark and mysterious, but the ballroom, newly decorated, is a vast and wonderful room lit by skylights. Extraordinary in an entirely different way was a visit to the Central Church of the Catholic Apostolic Church. This once-important denomination now has no priests or services. The huge and splendid church stands near the British Museum in Bloomsbury; yet it is little known: it is normally inaccessible, and being unfinished it lacks its intended 300-foot tower and spire. Equally exciting have been aspects such as the history revealed by these ‘other cathedrals’...


England’s Other Cathedrals Paul Jeffery To be published April 2012, £25.00 Hardback 978-0-7524-5347-7

An illustrated guide to the great English churches that are outside the traditional canon of the cathedrals The greatest of England’s cathedrals are widely considered the country's finest and most magnificent buildings. Few people realise, however, that in addition to these outstanding buildings there are many others that share, or once shared, some of that greatness. Around half of the cathedrals established between the seventh and the thirteenth centuries subsequently lost that status, though most continued in use and many were rebuilt. Then Henry VIII planned to create many further cathedrals, but most remained unfulfilled. From the nineteenth century onwards, many new cathedrals have been established, sometimes newly built and sometimes adapting or enlarging an earlier building. England’s Other Cathedrals is an illustrated guide to these magnificent and important buildings, many of which have rich architectural and historical pasts. Including previously unpublished historical details, Paul Jeffery takes the reader on a tour of the country, looking at the history behind over 100 of these ‘other cathedrals’. From Chester St John and Beverley Minster to Salford Cathedral and Dorchester Abbey, this unique volume reveals a wide array of art and architecture comparable to that of the great cathedrals themselves. 

England’s cathedral’s are generally considered to number twenty-six; Paul Jeffery discusses over one hundred other cathedrals.

8 groups of other cathedrals are addressed, from Anglo-Saxon ruins to the most modern church buildings.

Includes previously unpublished material on the cathedral schemes of Henry VIII.

An original look into the subject, discussing new aspects that have never been addressed.

Over 120 colour and black & white images.

Paul Jeffery is a retired computer engineer. He has had a life-long interest in ancient history, especially medieval buildings and in particular churches, and he is also the author of The Collegiate Churches of England & Wales. He lives in Winchester.


England's Other Cathedrals - Sampler  
England's Other Cathedrals - Sampler  

Extracts and pictures from England's Other Cathedrals by Paul Jeffery, an illustrated guide to 100 English churches that are outside the tra...