Next tour: Sat 28 December 2019.
Meet: Shudehill Metrolink stop, 11.30am.
Booking: Please press here to book with eventbrite.
Manchester Cathedral has grown out of the original church, St Mary’s, built here in the 8th century, of which only one relic, the Angel Stone, fixed to an inside wall at the Cathedral, remains.
In 1421 the rector, Thomas de la Warre, who was also the Lord of the Manor of Manchester, sought permission from the King, Henry V, to upgrade St Mary’s from a parish church to a collegiate church, a church with a college attached. The college is now Chetham’s. St Mary’s was re-dedicated to Mary, George (patron saint of England) and Denys (patron saint of France, on whom Henry V had designs.
Over the centuries the Cathedral has been heavily rebuilt (the main architect left his signature inside, as we’ll you show you), has had its riches confiscated by Henry VIII’s and Elizabeth Tudor’s men, been attacked during the English Civil War, seen its services disrupted (by Ann Lee, founder of the Shakers cult), been bombed by the Nazis, had its windows blown out by the IRA, and its sanctity ridiculed by the makers of a video game. But it’s still here, intact, its mysteries about to be explained on our tour.
We also explore the stories of mediaeval Manchester that fill the surrounding streets: the stone blocks of Chetham’s, the oldest building in Manchester, the 1420s Hanging Bridge, the ancient pubs that seem to have moved a few yards from their original site, and go in search of the last remaining antiquated alleyways and rights-of-way that have somehow survived the centuries.
Come with us as we open up the secrets of mediaeval Manchester.