Medieval English Churches and Cathedrals Medieval English Churches and Cathedrals

Click on an image for a LARGE version--but beware, the enlargements are high-resolution images which may take several dozen seconds, or even minutes, to load. For more images of these and other English edifices, see Alison Stone's Medieval Art and Architecture site. You might also want to look at the Images page of my Middle English Romances website.

Duntisbourne Rouse, Gloucestershire

Another (rather humble) property once held by the Mull (alias Myll or Mill) family (see Harescombe, below), who inherited it through marriage to the Rouse family. As supporters of the Lancastrian cause during the Wars of The Roses, the Mylls lost everything when the throne was won by Edward of York (Edward IV) in 1461. The church, which dates from the thirteenth century at least, is located about five miles North-West of Cirencester in the heart of the Cotswolds.
Durham Cathedral

The Cathedral rises high above the river Wear. The imposing effect of the scene cannot have been much different to the early twelfth-century Anglo-Saxon author of Durham.

For more images of Durham and its Cathedral, visit the University of Durham's virtual Tour of Durham Cathedral and Castle.
Gloucester Cathedral

The South Aisle, looking into the Nave on a rare sunny winter's day. The stained glass provides more than just images and lessons from scripture; it is also a source of wonder in the way it projects its colours onto juxtaposed walls and columns. The arcade columns and triforium are of Norman vintage, the vaulting and clerestory thirteenth century. The Cathedral is also noted for its elaborately-fan-vaulted Cloisters.

Hailes Abbey, Gloucestershire

The Cistercian Abbey of Hailes was founded in 1246 by Richard, Earl of Cornwall (brother to Henry III); it was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539. The panoramic view here is of the ruins of the Abbey's cloisters from the west; the Abbey Church would have stood behind the thick stone wall to the left (north) of the picture. Chaucer's Pardoner disingenuously condemns the swearing of oaths in God's name, and one of the examples he gives is "By the blood of Crist that is in Hayles" (Pardoner's Tale, l. 652). The reference is to a relic which was the Abbey's greatest claim to fame. A vial of Christ's Blood--a gift from Edmund, son of Richard of Cornwall--was enshrined there and attracted multitudes of miracle-seeking pilgrims from 1270 until the dissolution. Little remains of the Shrine of Christ's Blood except for a raised foundation platform behind what would have been the high altar of the Abbey Church.

Harescombe Church, Gloucestershire

A January sunset. The church sits just above the base of the Cotswold Escarpment, about five miles south of Gloucester. Visible high to the left is Haresfield Beacon, a site of military encampment since prehistoric times, whence the first part of the place-name; cf. Old and Middle English here, "army". The small church was built in 1315. From about 1395 to 1461 the church belonged to the Mull family (who also held Duntisbourne Rouse, above).
Lichfield Cathedral

Though the interior of this cathedral was badly damaged by the iconoclasts, the elaborate West Front (c. 1265-1320, with Victorian restoration of the lower tier) remains relatively unscathed. While most medieval cathedrals retain their high towers, few retain their spires, and in this repect, along with the glorious West Front, Lichfield is a rare gem. The two western spires here rise in excess of 190 feet, and the central spire rises in excess of 250 feet.
Lincoln Cathedral

The Cathedral's North Transept and central Tower (1253-1311) looking through the arcade (1674) of the north walk of the Cloister; the other walks of the Cloister were completed c. 1299. See Christopher Brighton, Lincoln Cathedral Cloister Bosses (Lincoln, 1985).

For more pictures, visit another website.
Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire

For information on this interesting building--once home to the Arthurian chronicler William of Malmesbury, burial-place of King Athelstan, part ruin and part active church--see the very good description in the Cotswold Hyperguide.
Follow this link for a QuickTime 360-degree panorama of the Abbey grounds, prepared by Ian Aberle of SMU's Digital Commons.
Salisbury Cathedral

Left: View from the North-East. Right: View of the West Front. The cathedral is renowned for its 404-foot spire, the highest in England (and about a third of the height of the Empire State Building). Construction on the present Cathedral began in 1220 and the spire, the last portion of the present Cathedral to be constructed, took from 1285-1310 to complete. By medieval standards of cathedral-building this was fast work, and to modern eyes this is reflected in the relative uniformity of both its floorplan and its predominantly Early English style of gothic architecture.

All photos Copyright S. H. A. Shepherd