Chester Cathedral Reviews
Chester Cathedral Sep 21, 2015
Being Canadian, it's somewhat hard to fathom standing in a building that was originally built over 400 years before Europeans first stepped foot in your country and established permanent settlements (though there is evidence of Viking settlements on the East coast from around 1000 AD and of course the Inuit and First Nations have been here for thousands of years).
Very little remains of that original building as it was rebuilt starting in the 13th century to be the current incarnation that we see today. The architecture is amazing and I wandered around amazed at the details. Most of the stained glass windows were replaced in the late 1800s and 1900s.
The Consistory Courtroom established in 1636 is the oldest remaining complete example in England.
I decided to do spend the extra money and do the tower tour. We walked up the 216 steps and stopped along the way looking at the old bells and the guide pointing out horse hairs in the wall. We had a great guide who was a very good storyteller. Due to the rain it wasn't a totally clear day but you could still see far away. From the tower you can see 5 different counties and on a clear day you can see Liverpool.
The Cathedral is free to enter but a donation is suggested and the cost for the tower tours depend on which one you take.
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Chester Cathedral Apr 25, 2010
Chester Cathedral is a lovely cathedral in the North West of England. Like Gloucester, it has intact cloisters. The cathedral itself is made of red sandstone, which is really pretty.
It appears to charge quite a high admission fee, but when I went, there was no honesty box and no one at the door, so I went in free. Disabled access would probably be fine to the main part of the cathedral, but not some of the chantries or the ecclesiastical courtroom.
Chester cathedral was founded to honour a saint I can neither spell nor pronounce – sometime soon I will look her up on Wikipedia for you. The cathedral has lovely cloisters and some beautiful gardens. Sadly, the peace garden in the centre of the cloister was locked the day I went, which would seem to defeat the point. The architecture is very nice, but the highlight for me was the wood carvings in the choir stall. There were lots of very playful carvings, including one that appeared to be a man with his head inside a dragon. I didn’t take photos for you, I’m afraid, so you’ll just have to look for it yourself.
Another interesting thing about the cathedral is the ecclesiastical court room in the back of the cathedral, which is one of the only ones to survive the reformation.
Personally, I think this cathedral is worth a visit if you can get in free or if there is a special event, but I am unconvinced that it is interesting enough for the £5 they looked like they charged – it isn’t as impressive artistically or as beautiful as some of the others I’ve been to. It also has an alarming number of signs telling you not to do things – don’t touch, don’t go in this bit… it’s sort of nagging.
If you are only going to visit one historic church in Chester, I would go to St John’s near the amphitheatre. But it is nice.
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