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Cathederal Church Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary of Rochester (Formerly Pri, Rochester

Description: Cathederal Church Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary of Rochester (Formerly Pri

Grade: I
Date Listed: 24 October 1950
English Heritage Building ID: 173125

OS Grid Reference: TQ7427368521
OS Grid Coordinates: 574273, 168521
Latitude/Longitude: 51.3890, 0.5033

Location: 62A High Street, Rochester ME1 1SW

Locality: Rochester
County: Medway
Country: England
Postcode: ME1 1SW

Incorrect location/postcode? Submit a correction!

Listing Text

TQ 7468 NW, TQ 7468 SW
7/193, 9/193 Cathedral
Church of
Christ and
the Blessed
Virgin Mary
of Rochester
Priory of
St Andrew was
Cathedral Church. (For cloister buildings see refs 9/188 and
9/189; for associated medieval buildings, see 7/187, 7 and 9/199,
7 and 9/200, 9/201). C7 origins (reverted in excavations). Re-
established as a cathedral-priory by Bishop Gandulf and rebuilt
by him (1078-1108); parts of his cathedral survive within the
present walling of the nave aisles along with the formerly
detached Gandulf's tower and parts of the crypt. Mid-C12
rebuilding (W front no earlier than the late-1140s). E end
(including E 2 bays of nave) c.1210-40. Alterations (mainly
refenestration) in C14 and C15. Early C16 Lady Chapel. Major
restorations by Cottingham (1825), Scott (1870s, mainly E end
repairs and internal refurbishing), Pearson (1888, especially the
W front), and C Hodgson-Fowler (1904-5 rebuilding of central
tower). Ragstone with limestone ashlar and dressings; slate and
lead roofs. Nave and aisles of 8 bays; Lady Chapel in angle
formed by S aisle and transept, central crossing (with tower),
aisled choir (with Gandulf's Tower to N), E transepts, aisleless
presbytery with library and chapter room to S. Crypt. The
cathedral is fully described and evaluated in Newham (1980, pp
470-88); detailed descriptions given there are not duplicated in
this account which is cross-referenced to Newman throughout. Of
particular importance note Gandulf's Tower (p 473): the original
ashlar lining has been replaced in brick but enough survives at
2nd-floor level to confirm the existence of a doorway that must
have led by way of a wooden bridge into the N transept. The nave
gallery (p 475) is unusual in that it possesses no floor. W
front (carefully restored by Pearson) retains important carving
to the central portal (left untouched by Pearson) influenced by
St Denys of the 1140s. The design of the E parts is of great
interest and quality: the presbytery has no aisles and its
elevation is of 2 storeys (unique in an English cathedral, Newman
p 478); the choir is unusual in having solid walls dividing it
from the N and S aisles (p 479). Not mentioned in Newman is the
library, entered through the Decorated doorway in the SE transept
(p 479): C15 with wall plate (wavy and oncave moulding), C17
(possibly re-worked) doorcase to S, C18 panelled shutters with
HL hinges; fireplace with eared architrave with cyma moulding.
Fittings and Furnishings. Nave. Font, by Earp, 1893: stone,
circular bowl on clustered shafts; figures under arcade with
larger baptismal scenes at cardinal points. Glass. W window
(8 lights), 1880s, Clayton & Bell, upper tier of OT figures
(Joshua, David, Jeptha etc) with scenes from their lives in lower
lights. This, with the mosaic tablets below, form a monument to
the Royal Engineers who fell in the Italian and South African
campaigns. Aisles. Monuments: Francis Barrell (1676),
Francis Barrell (1724), Ann Spice (1795), all N (see Newman, P
485), with minor C19 tablets, many to military men. Richard
Somer (1682), An Henniker (1792), John Lord Henniker (1806), all
S (see Newman, p 485) with , in addition, an early C18 pedimented
tablet to Daniel and Francis Hill (1729) and a substantial mural
war memorial (dated 1903) to the fallen of the South Africa War,
foliated marble frame frame with raised script epitaph. Glass:
interesting Romanesque Revival glass (1880s) and Christian
Warriors, to W end of N and S aisles; N aisle, NE, by Kempe,
signed. One S aisle window with a fiture of St Luke in the C17
manner, not dated or signed. Pulpit: woden, large, polygonal,
with canopied facets, on a stem with open arcaded stair. Lady
Chapel. Glass. An interesting and large-scale sequence of
Flemish-style windows, C.1910-18, possibly by Burlison & Grylls,
scenes from the Life of Christ with various saints. S transect.
Jacobethan revival screen, c.1928, into Lady Chapel. Monuments:
Sir Richard Head (1689), Richard Watts (1736), Sir Edward Head
(1798), Sir William Franklin (1833), James Forbes (1836), all
mural, and effigy of Dean Hole (1905), see Newman, p 484. Glass:
clerestory windows, Kempe, 1898; S window, 1888, Clayton & Bell,
various saints, a memorial to Royal Engineers who fell in Egypt
and Sudan Wars. N transept. Monuments to Augustine Caesar
(1677) and John Parr (1792), Newman, p 484. N and S choir
aisles. Bishop John de Bradfield (1283) and Hamo de Heth (1352)
described by Newman, p 484. Choir: pulpitum, organ frontal,
stalls, Bishop's throne all by Scott; pulpitum figures by
Pearson. Medieval furnishings survived in part and were
incorporated in the new work and provided the model for Scott's
designs. The mural decoration is a copy of the medieval scheme
which had also survived concealed behind later panelling. E end.
The important C13 and C14 tombs are described and assessed in
Newman pp 481-3, as are the monuments to Bishops Lowe (1467), and
Warner (1666), Archdeacon Warner (1679) and Lee Warner (1698).
Altar with reredos (Last Supper in relief) Caen stone; openwork
wooden pulpit; mosaic on E wall to rear of altar (possibly
modelled on medieval decoration uncovered in 1825), and the
entire titled floor design, al by Scott. Glass. Presbytery
windows by Clayton & Bell (1873); NE transept also by Clayton &
Bell, but later (1880s); SE transept glass by Gibbs and Hardman
(transept aisle) and Clayton & Bell (transept proper); details
of glass from Palmer (1897).
References. John Newman, West Kent and the Weald, Buildings of
England (2nd ed, reprinted with corrections, 1980), pp 470-88.
Much extra detail in G H Palmer, The Cathedral Church of
Rochester (Bell's Cathedral Series, 1897).

Listing NGR: TQ7427368521

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.