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|Cathedral Church of St Martin|
Leicester Cathedral Exterior
|Denomination||Church of England|
|Number of spires||1|
|Spire height||67.1 metres (220 ft)|
|Diocese||Leicester (since 1927)|
|Subdean||Barry Naylor, Urban Canon|
|Canon Chancellor||Vacant since 18 May 2013|
|Canon(s)||Paul Hackwood, Canon Residentiary (SSM)
Pete Hobson, Acting Canon Missioner
|Director of music||Dr Christopher Johns|
|Organist(s)||Mr Simon Headley|
The Cathedral Church of St Martin, Leicester (usually known as Leicester Cathedral) is a Church of England cathedral in the English city of Leicester, and the seat of the Bishop of Leicester. The church was elevated to a Collegiate Church in 1922, and made a cathedral in 1927, following the establishment of a new Diocese of Leicester in 1926.
- 1 History
- 2 Architecture
- 3 Services
- 4 Cathedral staff
- 5 The choir
- 6 Organ and organists
- 7 Bells
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
A church dedicated to St Martin has been on the site for about a thousand years, being first recorded in 1086, when the older Saxon church was replaced by a Norman one. The present building dates to about that age, with the addition of a spire, and various restorations throughout the years. Most of what can be seen today is a Victorian restoration by architect Raphael Brandon. The cathedral of the former Anglo-Saxon diocese of Leicester was on a different site.
A cenotaph memorial stone to King Richard III of England is located in the chancel. The monarch, killed in 1485 at the Leicestershire battlefield of Bosworth Field, was roughly interred in the Greyfriars, Leicester. His remains were exhumed from the Greyfriars site in 2012 and publicly identified in February 2013. Sir Peter Soulsby, Mayor of Leicester, and David Monteith, the Cathedral's Canon Chancellor, announced the king's body would be re-interred in Leicester Cathedral in early 2014. The present royal family were making no claim on the body, archaeologists said. The Ministry of Justice initially confirmed that the University of Leicester would make the final decision on where the bones should be re-buried, however an outcry and legal action brought by collateral descendants of King Richard has meant that the King's final resting place has yet to be determined. Those bringing the legal challenge want the King's wishes honoured: to be buried within York Minster with his family. The Dean of Leicester, however, called their challenge "disrespectful", and confirmed the Cathedral would not be investing any more money or time until the matter was decided. In August 2013 a judge granted permission for a judicial review as the original burial plans ignored the Common Law duty "to consult widely as to how and where Richard III's remains should appropriately be reinterred".
The East Window was installed as a monument to those that died in World War I. The highest window contains a sun-like orb with cherubs radiating away from it. In the centre Jesus sits holding a starry heaven in one hand with one foot on a bloody hell. Surrounding Jesus are eight Angels whose wings are made from a red glass. To the far right stands St Martin, who stands on the tail of a dragon. The dragon goes behind Jesus and can be seen re-emerging under the feet of St George who stands on its head. On the bottom row can be seen from left St Joan of Arc, Mary, Jesus with crying angels, Mary Magdalene, James and finally St Martin of Tours. A World War I soldier can be found in this window.
The tower and spire were restored both internally and externally in 2004–5. The main work was to clean and replace any weak stonework with replacement stone quarried from Tyne Valley. The cost was up to £600,000, with £200,000 being donated by the English Heritage, and the rest raised through public donations.
The cathedral has close links with Leicester Grammar School which used to be located directly next to it. Morning assemblies would take place each week on different days depending on the school's year groups, and services were attended by its pupils. The relationship continues despite the school's move to Great Glen, about seven miles south of Leicester.
In 2011, after extensive refurbishment, the cathedral's offices moved to the former site of Leicester Grammar School and the building was renamed "St Martin's House". The choir song school also relocated to the new building, and the new site also offers conference rooms and other facilities that can be hired out. The new building was officially opened by the Bishop of Leicester in the summer of 2011.
Leicester Cathedral is a Grade II* listed building comprising a large nave and chancel with two chancel chapels, along with a 220-foot high spire which was added in 1862. The building has undergone various restoration projects over the centuries, including work by the Victorian architect Raphael Brandon, and the building appears largely Gothic in style today. Inside the cathedral, the large wooden screen separating the nave from the chancel was designed by Sir Charles Nicholson and carved by Bowman of Stamford.
The Vaughan Porch which is situated at the south side of the church was designed by J. L. Pearson, who was also the architect of Truro Cathedral. It is named the Vaughan Porch because it was erected in memory of the Vaughans who served successively as Vicars throughout a great part of the nineteenth century. The front of the porch depicts seven saintly figures set in sandstone niches, all of whom are listed below.
- Guthlac c 673–713 was a Christian saint from Lincolnshire who lived when Leicester was first made a diocese in the year 680
- Hugh of Lincoln c 1135–1200 was a French monk who founded a Carthusian monastery and worked on the rebuilding of Lincoln Cathedral after an earthquake destroyed it in 1185. In Norman times Leicester was situated within the Diocese of Lincoln.
- Robert Grosseteste c 1175–1253 was an English statesman, scholastic philosopher, theologian, scientist and Bishop of Lincoln. He is also the most famous of the medieval Archdeancons of Leicester.
- John Wycliffe c 1329–1384 was an Oxford scholar and is famous for encouraging two of his followers to translate the bible into English. Foxe's famous "Book of Martyrs" (which commemorates the Protestant heroes of the reformation era) begins with John Wycliffe.
- Henry Hastings c 1535–1595 was the 3rd Earl of Huntingdon. The Leicester home of the Earls of Huntingdon was in Lord's Place off the High Street in Leicester, and Mary, Queen of Scots stayed there as a prisoner on her journey to Coventry.
- William Chillingworth 1602–1643 was an Oxford theologian, a friend of Jeremy Taylor and nephew of Archbishop Laud. He was Master of Wyggeston Hospital and became a Chaplain to the Royalist army in the Civil War.
- William Connor Magee 1821–1891 was Bishop of Peterborough and encouraged the building of many of Leicester's famous Victorian churches and a large number of parochial schools. He appointed the first suffragan Bishop of Leicester, Francis Thichnesse, in 1888. Magee later became Archbishop of York.
The cathedral contains three separate chapels, each of which is dedicated to a different saint. St Katharine's and St Dunstan's Chapels act as side chapels and are used occasionally for smaller services and vigils. St George's Chapel, which is located at the back of the cathedral commemorates the armed services, and contains memorials to those from Leicestershire who have been killed in past conflicts.
St Katharine's Chapel is located on the north side of the Cathedral to the left of the sanctuary. In the window above the altar is St Katharine who was tied to a wheel and tortured (hence the firework named after her). Below this is a carved panel showing Jesus on the cross with Mary and John on either side of him. St Francis of Assisi and the 17th century poet Robert Herrick are also pictured – indeed, the chapel is sometimes referred to as the 'Herrick Chapel'
St Dunstan's Chapel, located on the other side of the chancel to St Katharine's Chapel, is specially put aside for people to pray in. A candle burns in a hanging lamp to show that the sacrament of Christ's body and blood is kept here to take to those who are too ill to come to church. The walls of the chapel are covered with memorials to people who have prayed in the chapel. St Dunstan was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 10th century and scenes from his life are depicted in the south-east window.
St George's Chapel was the chapel of the Guild of St George. The effigy of England's national saint, on a horse, was kept here and borne through the streets annually on 23 April in a procession known as 'riding the George'. The legend of George killing a dragon is shown in one of the chapel's windows. The chapel, enclosed by a carved wooden screen, was reconstructed in 1921 and contains memorials to the men of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment. Here the battle honours of the Regiment and the names of those killed in the Crimean, South African and two World Wars are recorded and remembered.
Provosts and deans
- 1927–1934 Frederick MacNutt (was the first provost of Leicester Cathedral, and also acted as Archdeacon of Leicester, 1921–1938, and was subsequently a Canon at Canterbury Cathedral, 1938–1948)
- 1938–1954 Herbert Jones (subsequently Dean of Manchester, 1954–1963)
- 1954–1958 Mervyn Armstrong (subsequently Bishop of Jarrow, 1958–1965)
- 1958–1963 Richard Mayston
- 1963–1978 John Hughes
- 1978–1992 Alan Warren
- 1992–1999 Derek Hole
- The title of Provost was changed in 2002 to Dean.
- 2000–2012 Vivienne Faull (was the first Dean of Leicester Cathedral after the post was renamed in 2002. She was also the first female Dean to be appointed in the Church of England. She became Dean of York Minster in September 2012).
- 2013– David Monteith
Canons and clergy
Leicester Cathedral Choir is made up of the Boys Choir, the Girls Choir, and also the Cathedral Songmen. Boys and girls are recruited from schools throughout Leicester and Leicestershire, whilst many of the songmen originally joined the choir as trebles, and have since stayed on after their voice broke. The cathedral also offers scholarships worth around £1000 a year to gap year and university students at Leicester University and De Montfort University. Whilst the choir occasionally produces CD's and other recordings, it is also one of the only cathedral choirs never to have appeared on BBC Radio 3's 'Choral Evensong'.
The choir participates in regular festivals, with the annual RSCM Leicestershire festival in September often taking place in the cathedral itself. Each year during February the Choir joins those of Derby and Coventry Cathedrals, and more recently Southwell Minster for what is known as the 'Midlands Four Choirs Festival'. Each Cathedral takes it in turns to host the event, although the repertoire is chosen, and music conducted, by the Directors of Music of all participating choirs.
The cathedral choir tours abroad typically once every three to four years, and in both 1998 and 2005 they visited Japan. Other destinations abroad have included Rhode Island in the United States, Germany, and France. In other years, the choir has spent a week during the summer in residence at another English cathedral church, such as Lincoln, Wells, York and Chester. The boys and girls choirs, as well as the younger songmen also spend five days in August at Launde Abbey, a retreat house in east Leicestershire.
Organ and organists
The organ was installed by J. W. Walker & Sons Ltd in 1873 and since then has been rebuilt by Harrison and Harrison in 1929 and 1972. A specification of the organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register.
Organists and directors of music
- John Morland 1870 – 1875
- Charles Hancock 1875–1927
- Gordon Archbold Slater 1927–1931 (subsequently organist at Lincoln Cathedral 1931–1966)
- George Charles Gray 1931–1969 (previously organist at St Michael le Belfrey, York and St. Mary le Tower, Ipswich
- Peter Gilbert White 1969–1994 (previously Assistant Organist of Chester Cathedral 1960–1962)
- Jonathan Gregory 1994–2010 (previously organist of St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast, now Director of Music of the UK Japan Choir)
- Christopher Johns 2011–present (formerly Choral Director in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Leeds)
Assistant organists and assistant directors of music
- Frederick William Dickerson
- Dennis Arnold Smith 1918
- Stanley Vann 1932 (subsequently Master of the Music at Peterborough Cathedral 1953–1977)
- Thomas Bates Wilkinson 1933
- Wallace Michael Ross 1951 (subsequently assistant organist at Gloucester Cathedral 1954–1958, and organist of Derby Cathedral 1958–1982)
- Sidney Thomas Rudge 1955
- Robert Prime 1965
- Geoffrey Malcolm Herbert Carter 1973 (subsequently organist of St Mary's Church, Humberstone)
- David Cowen 1995 (now Associate Organist of Leicester Cathedral)
- Simon Headley 1999 (now Assistant Director of Music – see below)
In 2010 the posts of Organist and Director of Music were separated, the Assistant Organist post being re-titled Organist & Assistant Director of Music.
- Simon Headley 2010–present (also acted as Acting Director of Music in the Autumn of 2010 between the departure of Jonathan Gregory and the appointment of current Director of Music, Dr Christopher Johns)
The tower of the cathedral has 13 bells (including a peal of 12). These can be heard on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings, with peals being rung on special days. The tenor bell weighs 25-0-20.
The following is the full list of the inscriptions on the thirteen bells.
- XII THE CORONATION BELL OF HIS MAJESTY KING GEORGE VIth RECAST BY THE FREEMASONS OF LEICESTERSHIRE AND RUTLAND 12 May 1937. F B MACNUTT PROVOST C F OLIVER PROVINCIAL GRAND MASTER GOD SAVE THE KING H Watchorn Esq. Mayor J Nichols. W Capp Churchwardens Edwd. Arnold Fecit 1781
- XI THE NORTH BELL RECAST BY ALDERMAN SIR JONATHAN NORTH J.P. MAYOR OF LEICESTER 1914–1918 and WILLIAM ALBERT NORTH J.P. HIGH SHERIFF OF LEICESTERSHIRE 1935–36. 12 May 1937 GOD SAVE CITY AND SHIRES Recast by J Taylor and Co. 1879 Edward Arnold Fecit 1781 Thomas Ingram 1879
- X THE BELL OF THE CONGREGATION RECAST BY THE CONGREGATION OF THE CATHEDRAL 12 May 1937 GOD SAVE HIS CHURCH H Watchorn Esq. Mayor J Nichols. W Capp Churchwardens Edward Arnold Fecit 1781
- IX THE SAMSON SMITH BELL RECAST BY SAMSON SMITH OF LEICESTER 12 May 1937 CHRIST IS RISEN ALLELUYA H Watchorn Esq. Mayor J Nichols. W Capp Churchwardens Edwd. Arnold Fecit 1781
- VIII THEJARVISBELL RECAST BY WILLLAM GEORGE JARVIS CHURCHWARDEN AND DEPUTY WARDEN OF ST MARTINS 12 May 1937 ADESTE. FIDELES. GAUDETE. ORATE. Praise him upon the well tuned cymbals: Praise him upon the loud cymbals. 1781
- VII THE PARTRIDGE BELL RECAST IN MEMORY OF SAMUEL STEADS PARTRIDGE J.P. BY HIS WIFE ELIZABETH PARTRIDGE 12 May 1937 GOD SEND US PEACE IN CHRIST J Taylor & Co. Founders Loughborough MDCCCLXXIX Continentia THE STELFOX BELL (HALF-TONE) GIVEN IN MEMORY OF JAMES WALTER STELFOX, LAY CANON, CHURCHWARDEN AND DEPUTY WARDEN OF ST MARTINS BY HIS WIFE EVELYN MARSLAND STELFOX 12 May 1937 NON CLAMOR SED AMOR
- VI THE DANIELS BELL RECAST BY SAMUEL KILWORTH DANIELS, LAY CANON OF ST MARTINS IN MEMORY OF HIS WIFE CAROLINE DANIELS 12 May 1937 IN HIS WILL IS OUR PEACE
- V THE FIELDING JOHNSON BELL RECAST IN MEMORY OF THOMAS FIELDING JOHNSON MA, J.P. LAY CANON OF ST MARTINS AND HIS WIFE FLORENCE LYNE JOHNSON BY THEIR CHILDREN FLORENCE JULIA FIELDING EVERARD J.P. AGNES MIRIAM FIELDING JOHNSON, WILLIAM SPURRETT FIELDING JOHNSON 12 May 1937 PEACE TO THEM THAT ARE AFAR OFF AND TO THEM THAT ARE NIGH Rev. Edward Thomas Vaughan Vicar, Henry Sharpe Jones. Joseph Simpkin Church Wardens. John Taylor & Son Bellfounders Loughhorough Late of Oxford, Bideford Devon and St. Neots Hunts. Successors to the old and celebrated Founders Newcombe, Watts, Eyre and Arnold of Leicester. Names of high repute dating as early as 1560.
- IV THE GERTRUDE ELLIS BELL RECAST IN MEMORY OF GERTRUDE ELLIS BY HER DAUGHTER FREDA LORRIMER AND HER NIECE KATHLEEN BROWNING 12 May 1937 JOHN TAYLOR AND SON FOUNDER OXFORD AND LOUGHBOROUGH A.D. 1854.
- III THE BOWMAR BELL RECAST IN MEMORY OF WALTER HAMMOND BOWMAR BY HIS WIFE EVA BOWMAR 12 May 1937 JESU CHRISTE MISERERE NOVIS John Taylor & Son Founders Loughborough A.D. 1854.
- II THE JOHN EDWARD ELLIS BELL GIVEN IN MEMORY OF JOHN EDWARD ELLIS LAY CANNON, CHURCHWARDEN AND DEPUTY WARDEN OF ST MARTINS BY HIS WIFE MABEL ELLIS AND HIS DAUGHTER FREDA LORRIMAR AND HIS NIECE KATHLEEN BROWNING 12 May 1937 PRAISE GOD FOR BLESSED MARTIN, SOLDIER BISHOP SAINT
- I THE BELLFOUNDERS BELL GIVEN BY E DENISON TAYLOR BELLFOUNDER LOUGHBOROUGH 12 May 1937
- List of cathedrals in the United Kingdom
- List of ecclesiastical restorations and alterations by J. L. Pearson
- Leicester Cathedral Go Leicestershire
- Telegraph news report. Septembert 2012
- "Richard III dig: DNA confirms bones are king's". BBC News. 4 February 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "Richard III set to be buried in Leicester as university makes final decision", Leicester Mercury, 7 February 2013. Accessed 11 February 2013
- "King Richard III burial row heads to High Court". BBC NEWS. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- "Richard III remains: Reinterment delay 'disrespectful'". BBC NEWS. 16 July 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- £2m package to repair cathedrals
- Leicester Grammar School Teamwork – Moral & spiritual well being
- Leicester Grammar Junior School Who we are
- About St Martins House
- Arts in Leicestershire
- Cathedral Plus – Leicester Cathedral
- The Seven Statues of the Vaughan Porch
- Leicester Cathedral Guide
- Service and Opening Times
- Leicester Murcurym 6 July 2012
- Diocese of York staff accessed 23 February 2013
- BBC News – Faull appointed Dean of York
- Diocese of Leicester – Monteith installed as Dean
- Leicester Mercury – Canon appointed at cathedral
- Leicester Cathedral – 2011 Report and Annual Account
- Leicester Cathedral Choral Scholarships
- Leicester Cathedral Tours
- The Boy Choir and Soloist Directory
- Launde Abbey Homepage
- Who's who in Music. Fourth Edition. 1962. p.229
- Dove, R. H. (1982) A Bellringer's Guide to the Church Bells of Britain and Ringing Peals of the World, 6th ed. Aldershot: Viggers
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