History in Structure

Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary of Rochester (Formerly Priory of St Andrew Was Included)

A Grade I Listed Building in Rochester, Medway

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Latitude: 51.389 / 51°23'20"N

Longitude: 0.5033 / 0°30'11"E

OS Eastings: 574273

OS Northings: 168521

OS Grid: TQ742685

Mapcode National: GBR PPN.VFC

Mapcode Global: VHJLT.NCY2

Plus Code: 9F329GQ3+H8

Entry Name: Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary of Rochester (Formerly Priory of St Andrew Was Included)

Listing Date: 24 October 1950

Last Amended: 2 December 1991

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1086423

English Heritage Legacy ID: 173125

Also known as: Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary

ID on this website: 101086423

Location: Rochester Cathedral, Rochester, Medway, Kent, ME1

County: Medway

Electoral Ward/Division: Rochester West

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Rochester

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Rochester St Peter Parish Centre

Church of England Diocese: Rochester

Tagged with: Anglican or episcopal cathedral Norman architecture

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TQ 7468 NW, TQ 7468 SW;
7/193, 9/193

Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary of Rochester

(formerly Priory of St Andrew was included)




Cathedral Church. (For cloister buildings see refs. 9/188 and
9/189; for associated medieval buildings, see 7/187, 7 and 9/199,
7 and 9/200, 9/201). C7 origins (reverted in excavations). Re-
established as a cathedral-priory by Bishop Gandulf and rebuilt
by him (1078-1108); parts of his cathedral survive within the
present walling of the nave aisles along with the formerly
detached Gandulf's tower and parts of the crypt. Mid-C12
rebuilding (W front no earlier than the late-1140s). E end
(including E 2 bays of nave) c.1210-40. Alterations (mainly
refenestration) in C14 and C15. Early C16 Lady Chapel. Major
restorations by Cottingham (1825), Scott (1870s, mainly E end
repairs and internal refurbishing), Pearson (1888, especially the
W front), and C Hodgson-Fowler (1904-5 rebuilding of central
tower). Ragstone with limestone ashlar and dressings; slate and
lead roofs. Nave and aisles of eight bays; Lady Chapel in angle
formed by S aisle and transept, central crossing (with tower),
aisled choir (with Gandulf's Tower to N), E transepts, aisleless
presbytery with library and chapter room to S. Crypt.

The cathedral is fully described and evaluated in Newham (1980, pp.
470-88); detailed descriptions given there are not duplicated in
this account which is cross-referenced to Newman throughout. Of
particular importance note Gandulf's Tower (p. 473): the original
ashlar lining has been replaced in brick but enough survives at
2nd-floor level to confirm the existence of a doorway that must
have led by way of a wooden bridge into the N transept. The nave
gallery (p. 475) is unusual in that it possesses no floor. W
front (carefully restored by Pearson) retains important carving
to the central portal (left untouched by Pearson) influenced by
St Denys of the 1140s. The design of the E parts is of great
interest and quality: the presbytery has no aisles and its
elevation is of two storeys (unique in an English cathedral, Newman
p. 478); the choir is unusual in having solid walls dividing it
from the N and S aisles (p. 479). Not mentioned in Newman is the
library, entered through the Decorated doorway in the SE transept
(p. 479): C15 with wall plate (wavy and concave moulding), C17
(possibly re-worked) doorcase to S, C18 panelled shutters with
HL hinges; fireplace with eared architrave with cyma moulding.

Fittings and Furnishings. Nave. Font, by Earp, 1893: stone,
circular bowl on clustered shafts; figures under arcade with
larger baptismal scenes at cardinal points. Glass. W window
(8 lights), 1880s, Clayton & Bell, upper tier of O.T. figures
(Joshua, David, Jeptha etc) with scenes from their lives in lower
lights. This, with the mosaic tablets below, form a monument to
the Royal Engineers who fell in the Italian and South African
campaigns. Aisles. Monuments: Francis Barrell (1676),
Francis Barrell (1724), Ann Spice (1795), all N (see Newman, P
485), with minor C19 tablets, many to military men. Richard
Somer (1682), An Henniker (1792), John Lord Henniker (1806), all
S (see Newman, p 485) with , in addition, an early C18 pedimented
tablet to Daniel and Francis Hill (1729) and a substantial mural
war memorial (dated 1903) to the fallen of the South Africa War,
foliated marble frame frame with raised script epitaph. Glass:
interesting Romanesque Revival glass (1880s) and Christian
Warriors, to W end of N and S aisles; N aisle, NE, by Kempe,
signed. One S aisle window with a fiture of St Luke in the C17
manner, not dated or signed. Pulpit: woden, large, polygonal,
with canopied facets, on a stem with open arcaded stair. Lady
Chapel. Glass. An interesting and large-scale sequence of
Flemish-style windows, C.1910-18, possibly by Burlison & Grylls,
scenes from the Life of Christ with various saints. S transect.
Jacobethan revival screen, c.1928, into Lady Chapel. Monuments:
Sir Richard Head (1689), Richard Watts (1736), Sir Edward Head
(1798), Sir William Franklin (1833), James Forbes (1836), all
mural, and effigy of Dean Hole (1905), see Newman, p 484. Glass:
clerestory windows, Kempe, 1898; S window, 1888, Clayton & Bell,
various saints, a memorial to Royal Engineers who fell in Egypt
and Sudan Wars. N transept. Monuments to Augustine Caesar
(1677) and John Parr (1792), Newman, p 484. N and S choir
aisles. Bishop John de Bradfield (1283) and Hamo de Heth (1352)
described by Newman, p 484. Choir: pulpitum, organ frontal,
stalls, Bishop's throne all by Scott; pulpitum figures by
Pearson. Medieval furnishings survived in part and were
incorporated in the new work and provided the model for Scott's
designs. The mural decoration is a copy of the medieval scheme
which had also survived concealed behind later panelling. E end.
The important C13 and C14 tombs are described and assessed in
Newman pp 481-3, as are the monuments to Bishops Lowe (1467), and
Warner (1666), Archdeacon Warner (1679) and Lee Warner (1698).
Altar with reredos (Last Supper in relief) Caen stone; openwork
wooden pulpit; mosaic on E wall to rear of altar (possibly
modelled on medieval decoration uncovered in 1825), and the
entire titled floor design, al by Scott. Glass. Presbytery
windows by Clayton & Bell (1873); NE transept also by Clayton &
Bell, but later (1880s); SE transept glass by Gibbs and Hardman
(transept aisle) and Clayton & Bell (transept proper); details
of glass from Palmer (1897).

References. John Newman, West Kent and the Weald, Buildings of
England (2nd ed., reprinted with corrections, 1980), pp. 470-88.
Much extra detail in G. H. Palmer, The Cathedral Church of
Rochester (Bell's Cathedral Series, 1897).

Listing NGR: TQ7427368521

This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 25 October 2017.

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