Chester Cathedral is a working place of worship as well as a trove of English history.
Originally, a Benedictine abbey was founded here in 1092 (abbey of St. Werburgh). However, there are references suggesting the possibility that it was the site of worship since the Roman era.
You can still see parts of the old Norman building. The church has been rebuilt and modified over the centuries. The current Gothic style building took 275 years to create. In 1541 it was known as the cathedral of Christ and St. Mary.
Chester Cathedral was one of six cathedrals "refounded" by Henry VIII following his break with Rome.
Inside the cathedral complex you will find open spaces, a falconry, and gardens.
The stained glass windows are mostly of recent origin (19th-20th century). Earlier windows were lost to Parliamentary troops during the English Civil War. The cathedral also suffered some damage in World War II.
The art work is magnificent.
The massive organ is impressive.
In addition to walking about the Cathedral, we purchased a guided tour to the top of the Cathedral.
As part of the tour, we learned about the clock and bells. Only a couple of bells remain in the Cathedral. Other bells are in a separate clock tower building built in the 20th century.
In addition to great view of the inner courtyard and campus buildings, you can see much of Chester, the hills of Northern Wales, and a glimpse of Liverpool from atop the Cathedral roof. We thought the tour worthwhile.
When we visited in 2018, a LEGO model of the cathedral was under construction. Visitors can add to the project for a small donation. The model is 4m by 2m and, on completion, will include 350,000 bricks. You can follow their progress on the cathedral website.
Check the cathedral website for current information about hours, fees, and so forth.
More on Chester: http://suttontravels.blogspot.com/2018/06/chester-england-worth-visit.html
Entry is free
It is open most days but check the website for visiting hours and service times.
There is a store with a range of gifts for people of all ages and a wide price range.
There is a cafe, which serves baked goods and meals.
The toilets were clean and well maintained
There are several eateries nearby. We enjoyed a take-away lunch on a bench outside the main entrance facing the old town hall.
The falcon event looked interesting but when we watched from the walls, it seemed as if the falcon was reluctant to return as many attempted bird calls went unanswered.
The tour to the height of the cathedral requires a certain level of fitness and tolerance of heights and closed-in spaces. The winding staircases are narrow at points and we needed to duck our heads even though we are not tall persons.
Read more history at this British History link.
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