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English Medieval Cathedrals in Context   iCal entry for this event

25th January 2018  to 1st March 2018


11:00 - 13:00

Led by John McNeill

Although the later conferment of cathedral status on medieval churches can easily obscure the
fact, England’s medieval complement of cathedrals never grew to anything like the number
initially envisaged by Pope Gregory the Great. Nonetheless the seventeen dioceses
acknowledged as existing by the fifteenth century gave rise to one of the most remarkable
groups of medieval ecclesiastical precincts to survive in Europe. This series of six lectures will
examine just five English medieval cathedrals - and do so from the perspective of their origin,
location and architectural character. Two of them, Canterbury and Winchester, still occupy
essentially the same sites as were established in the early Anglo-Saxon period. The other three
were established as new diocesan sees after the Norman Conquest, as late as the thirteenth
century in the case of Salisbury. Their origins, the communities they accommodated, and their
specifically local traditions go some way towards explaining their very varied character, but
there is much that suggests their architectural particularity may have been valued in its own

1. Introduction to English medieval cathedrals - their foundation, distribution and
patterns of use.

2. Canterbury: Anglo-Saxon Origins and Post-Conquest Reconstructions.

3. Winchester: The largest and richest English cathedral – eclecticism and late medieval

4. Durham: A bishop with extraordinary powers – the triumph of Anglo-Norman

5. Exeter: Change and Continuity – medieval England’s longest-running cathedral building

6. Wells: Somerset in the late middle ages – the greatest cathedral of fourteenth-century

THIS EVENT IS FULLY BOOKED. Members may apply for one of the limited number of WAITING LIST places. NO PAYMENT SHOULD BE MADE.  If a place becomes available, the waiting list will be contacted in order and payment will be requested at that time. Please contact the event organiser if in doubt.

John McNeill lectures for the Department of Continuing Education at Oxford University and
is a Vice-President of The London Art History Society, in addition to being the Honorary
Secretary of the British Archaeological Association. He has published widely on medieval
architecture, and has a long-standing interest on the art and architecture of English


Location: Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, 235 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8EP


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