12 Abbey Square
Ian Atkinson, Services and Events Officer
Chester Cathedral’s history spans almost two thousand years. According to legend, a prehistoric Druid temple existed on this site, succeeded by a Roman temple dedicated to Apollo. A church was founded here in 660, and in 875 the relics of St Werburgh were brought to Chester to protect them from attacks by the Vikings.
In 1092, a great monastery was founded here. The building evolved over succeeding centuries with a 130-year break in building between 1360 and 1490, due to the plague when not enough workers were available to continue construction. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540, Henry VIII handed it back as the Cathedral of the Diocese of Chester. George Gilbert Scott restored it between 1868-76.
Each part of the building represents the work of different generations combining to make the Cathedral that we see today, but which remains one of the finest and most complete monastic complexes in the United Kingdom.
Five highlights of Chester Cathedral are: the woodcarving in the quire, dating from 1380; the Cobweb Picture painted on the web of a caterpillar; the Chester Imp carving of the Devil in chains; the Consistory Court, the only surviving ecclesiastical court in the country; and the Creation Window in the Refectory.
Heritage site, Sacred space
Architecture, Fine Art, Music, Performing Arts, Religion
Key artists and exhibits
- Creation window by Rosalind Grimshaw