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Truro Cathedral

A Grade I Listed Building in Truro, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.2641 / 50°15'50"N

Longitude: -5.0512 / 5°3'4"W

OS Eastings: 182634

OS Northings: 44916

OS Grid: SW826449

Mapcode National: GBR ZF.XGBB

Mapcode Global: FRA 089B.HXV

Plus Code: 9C2P7W7X+MG

Entry Name: Truro Cathedral

Listing Date: 29 December 1950

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1205377

English Heritage Legacy ID: 377394

Also known as: The Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Truro

ID on this website: 101205377

Location: Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Truro, Cornwall, TR1

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Truro

Built-Up Area: Truro

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Mary Truro

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Tagged with: Gothic Revival Anglican or episcopal cathedral

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880-1/7/76 Truro Cathedral


Cathedral. 1880. By J L Pearson; eastern parts built before
Pearson's death in 1897; nave, central tower and western
towers were carried out to the original design by his son F L
Pearson between 1895 and 1910; the early C16 south aisle of
the former parish church of St Mary is incorporated as St
Mary's Aisle.
Exterior walls are of dressed granite from Mabe and Bath stone
for details; interior has dressed granite from St Stephen,
columns and arcades of Bath stone, decorations in serpentine
from the Lizard and marble and other contrasting materials.
Dry Delabole slate roofs with stone spires and turret roofs
and copper spire over bell tower at west end of St Mary's
Plan has west narthex flanked by corner towers, 8-bay nave
with aisles, and 2-storey south porch at west end of aisle;
crossing tower and flanking 2-bay transepts, flat to south
with square annexe to round baptistry adjoining to west; south
transept porch adjoins east bell tower; St Mary's Aisle to
south of ambulatory and 5-bay choir above crypt with one-bay
east transepts and 2-bay sanctuary flanked by chapels. Early
English style with spires of Normandy type and a strong
emphasis on verticality.
St Mary's Aisle, of 6 bays and Perpendicular style, has
enriched panel carving to 2-tier plinth; crenellated parapet;
quatrefoils to plinth and parapet and mouchettes to spandrels;
canopied niches to corners of east gable which has 5-light
Perpendicular window; each bay articulated by a pair of
slender crocketed pinnacles framing niche with pedestal shaft
for statue; each 4-light window is grouped into 2 paired
Y-tracery windows set in basket arch, the second bay from east
has a basket-arched doorway.
C19 church has moulded capitals to engaged shafts of lancet
and plate-tracery windows, offset buttresses with weathered
tops and trefoil-headed frieze beneath parapet. East gable has
wheel window set above trefoil frieze and 3 large lancets to 2
tiers, and is flanked by corner buttresses with open octagonal
turrets; 2-light plate-tracery windows to sanctuary, above
chapels with group of 4 linked lancets to north and south
Similar plate-tracery windows to side walls of east transepts
which have lucarnes to corner buttresses crowned by octagonal
turrets with pierced quatrefoils; wheel window and 4 linked
lancets set in arch with shafts to south gable and wheel
window above paired lancets to north gable. Similar 2-light
plate-tracery windows to choir and nave; both have flying
buttresses to aisles, those to nave having arcades of lancets
separated by buttresses.
Similar windows and octagonal turrets to main transepts, which
are dominated to north and south by great rose windows, flat
to north above arcade of lancets and flat to south above
enriched portal with figure sculpture; bell tower has clasping
corner buttresses, pyramidal roof and a pair of tall 2-light
transomed windows to each face of belfry.
Crossing tower of 2 stages above body of church, with 3 tall
2-light windows to each face, taller to second stage; pierced
parapet with tiers of lancets to octagonal pinnacles and
2-light windows to lucarnes at base of spire. Baptistry with
grouped lancets and quatrefoils to pierced parapet.
Similar treatment to 4-stage west towers with spires which
flank west front and have triple arcades of tall lancets to
tall buttresses with spirelets; these flank west gable which
has enriched detail and sculpture above great arch on 2 orders
of shafts which frame recessed bay with rose window above
arcade of 4 lancets and elaborate narthex with figure
sculpture and engaged shafts to 2 portals.
INTERIOR: richly detailed with vaulting and engaged shafts
with capitals to rere arches throughout, the arcade piers
having clustered shafts, moulded capitals and inner vaulting
shafts continued to meet corbels on piers. Triforium has
unusual design of 4 lancets and 2 quatrefoil circles under
arch to each bay, the choir having additional quatrefoils and
enriched dog-tooth carving; 2 double lancets with walkway to
each bay of triforium, also with enriched carving to choir.
Three rows of arcades on north side of choir to St Mary's
Aisle, which has standard A-type (Pevsner) arcades and early
C16 waggon roof with carved wall plates and ribs. Tower
lantern has radiating vault on square plan. Baptistry has
groined vault with clustered wall shafts and centre boss.
Groined crypt with chamfered ribs beneath choir. Nave has
sexpartite vaulting in French style (quadripartite to rest of
church); walkways to freestanding wall arcades.
Principal fittings include stone reredos by Pearson with tiers
of canopied figure sculpture and a Majesty above a central
Crucifixion surrounded by Old Testament scenes; wooden altar
by Pearson with marble top and arcaded sides; sanctuary
enclosed by stone side screens with richly-canopied
Decorated-style sedilia also by Pearson; choir to west,
enclosed by wrought-iron screens, has marble mosaic floor with
ancient porphyry, teak Bishop's Throne with richly-carved
canopy and flanking more simple chaplains' seats, and choir
stalls canopied to rear also by Pearson; altar frontal chest
of 1887; C16 poor box; reredos painting of Christ blessing
Cornish industry in north aisle; large brass eagle lectern;
pulpit by Pearson has upper tier enriched by figure sculpture
set in ogee-headed canopied niches; red marble font with
canopied cover to baptistry, which has similar marble floor to
choir; west gallery set on 2 pointed arches with figure
sculpture set in canopied niches to spandrels and
trefoil-headed panelled parapet; C16 octagonal freestone font
and C18 octagonal walnut and mahogany font.
Principal monuments include 2 kneeling alabaster figures of
c1620 in crypt; monument of 1614 to Richard Robartes and his
wife have double columns to sides and small figures of Death
and Father Time; brass to Edward White Benson, first Bishop of
Truro 1877-1882; large canopied aedicule with 2 reclining
effigies on shelves to Richard Robartes, d.1614; tablets in
north transept to Vivian family; slate headstone to Owen
Phippen, d.1636, with an account of his adventures in Turkey;
monuments to Richard Hoblyn, d.1714, and Francis Burges,
d.1684, and his wife Anne d.1688.
Stained glass by Clayton and Bell except glass to south side
of St Mary's aisle of the 1840s by Warrington. Cornwall was
linked with Devon as part of the Exeter diocese from 1050 to
1876, when the Cornish see was revived.
(The Creation Of A Cathedral: Fisher-Barham: Falmouth: 1980-;
Metcalfe P: The Cathedrals of England: 1985-; The Buildings of
England: Pevsner N: Cornwall: London: 1951-1970: 233-4).

Listing NGR: SW8263944915

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