Historically, the heart of every Medieval (and earlier) European city was its cathedral. Manchester, UK is no exception. Formally known as "The Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St. Mary, St. Denys, and St. George", Manchester Cathedral serves as the seat of the City's Bishop. While the official origins of the church remains somewhat of a mystery, an "Angel Stone" (small carving of an angel holding a scroll) found embedded in the wall of the south porch provides some evidence of a possible earlier Saxon church, ca. 700 AD. Other documents suggest that well before this, the Celtic tribe known as the Brigantes had established a stronghold in northern England on the sandstone outcropping where the Cathedral now stands. In 1086, William the Conqueror had recorded the existence of a parish church on this site. While visiting this magnificent cathedral , we learned that a predecessor church was constructed as part of Manchester Castle - a fortified medieval manor house under the auspices of the Greslet family (they were the Lord of the Manor), where Chetham library now stands. In 1311, the ownership of the property then passed, by marriage, to the de la Warres. By 1421, King Henry V and Pope Martin V "...granted a license to establish a collegiate church to Thomas de la Warre." (the Lord of the Manor at that time). These are the historical details that we love to learn. The cathedral has gone through several renovations, expansions, and restorations over the years. All of the Victorian era stained glass windows were destroyed during the Manchester Blitz of 1940. They have been painstakingly replaced slowly since then. One outstanding feature of the Cathedral are the 36 exquisitely carved hinged seats within the Quire, known as "Misericords" or "Mercy Seats". Church protocol during the long medieval religious ceremonies, required parishioners to stand for extensive periods of time. These seats were designed with elaborate shelves on the underside so that those who had difficulty remaining standing could rest while appearing to still be on their feet. The Manchester Cathedral's Misericords are considered to be some of the best in Europe. This was a wonderful learning experience for us, which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Manchester Cathedral is located on Victoria Street.
The Angel Stone (ca. 700 AD) found embedded in the wall of the south porch, indicates the possible existence of an earlier Saxon church on this same site.
The exquisite pipe organ adds a lot of penanche to the cathedral's appearance.
All of the Victorian era stained glass windows were destroyed during the Manchester Blitz of 1940. Most have been painstakingly restored.
This ornately carved ceiling was breathtaking.
The 36 Misericords (Mercy Seats) are some of the best in Europe.
Close up look at one of the exquisitely carved Mercy Seats...
...and another one.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.