5a. Carlisle (1) The Cathedral
The Cathedral and Precinct
When visiting, and I hope you will visit Carlisle's great Cathedral, and ...
... PLEASE LEAVE A DONATION to help with the upkeep of this wonderful and majestic old building
In 1102 Henry 1st granted a site to Carlisle for a religious establishment, so Carlisle Cathedral has been a place of Christian worship for over 900 years.
View of Carlisle Cathedral from the south-west, a wonderful piece of architecture from blocks of carved red sandstone, but partly thanks to the Scots, its the 2nd smallest cathedral in England.
The east end of the cathedral showing the great east window and its intricate medieval tracery.
The south door entrance which is at the end of the south transept, and, the south walls of the chancel and choir.
Two early Norman 'Romanesque' style clerestory windows in the west end of original nave with characteristic Norman decoration.
A gateway relic from other parts of the medieval complex.
Across from Carlisle Cathedral is the fratry. The Augustinian canons of the original medieval Carlisle Cathedral Priory ate their meals on the upper floor of the fratry. The canons got up at midnight and processed into the cathedral for Matins, the 1st long service of the day. There was also an infirmary near the fratry which cared for the sick and elderly canons. The entrance to the cafe is on the far left of the north side and entrance shown above.
The 'back' south side of the fratry. This refectory stands to its full height and was built in the early 14th century and remodelled in 1500 and the ground floor is a beautifully vaulted undercroft.
The lovely arches of the vaulting of the undercroft below the fratry. In medieval times this would be a storage area BUT now houses the Prior's Kitchen Cafe with its menu subtitle of 'Food for Body and Soul'.
BUT, after suitable refreshment!, we enter the main south entrance in the south transept of Carlisle Cathedral.
Left: Part of the original nave
The two remaining bays of the south aisle-arcade of the nave (the other six bays were destroyed by the Scots between 1645 and 1652). The 'Romanesque' early Norman columns are massive in diameter, not tall but with finely carved scalloped capitals at the top of the pillars which date from 1122.
The might wide round columns of the two remaining arches of the original Norman nave, only the west end remains, but at least on both sides which date from 1122! This part of the nave is now the Regimental Chapel of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (formerly the Border Regiment).
The remaining three pairs of great columns of the Norman nave.
The Norman west end of the nave of Carlisle Cathedral.
The two remaining arches of the south aisle of the original Norman nave of Carlisle Cathedral.
The arches at the Crossing beneath the tower.
The light shining into the west end of the nave through the upper clerestory windows, very atmospheric and brilliantly 'illuminate' the purpose of these simple round-arched 'Romanesque' style windows! The triforum is 'filled in', or was it always so?
A view of the upper parts of the crossing from the south transept, nave on the left, north transept ahead. Note the fine architectural features of the columns with their carved capitals and the rib vaulting helping support the tower.
Looking east down the south aisle from the west end of the nave with characteristic zig-zag carvings on the arches.
In the Treasury Museum there are many interesting exhibits including a 1st century AD Roman vase found in the Botchergate district of Carlisle and a carving of the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Christ - part of a Flemish altar piece from ~1500.
On the left is a relatively modern stained glass window, contrasting on the right, with a collections of surviving medieval glass 'fragments' assembled in 1926.
In the north transept is St Wilfrid's Chapel which contains, behind the altar, a superb carving known as the 'Brougham Triptych' carved in Antwerp around 1515.
In the south-east corner of cathedral is an Anglo-Saxon Cross with three carved figures on it and characteristic patterned carvings on the other three sides.
Looking west down the south aisle as the afternoon sunlight beams in illuminating the inspiring architecture of the chancel.
The wonderful 14th century tracery of the great east window and below it the high altar where the Eucharist is celebrated every Sunday in Carlisle Cathedral.
Looking east down the chancel and choir to the organ originally built by Henry (Father) Willis in 1856. The visually attractive semi-circular timber ceiling dates from 1530.
The choir and choir stalls
The east window tracery, triforum and clerestory windows of the chancel of Carlisle Cathedral.
Looking east through the choir into the chancel (wonderfully preserved in its full length) and the high altar. The east window is quite splendid with its very ornate tracery and stained glass - some of it surviving from the 14th century, but most of it is 19th century.
The choir and chancel of Carlisle Cathedral.
The east window, high altar, and south aisle of the chancel.
The arcade columns and arches of the north aisle in the choir.
Details of the carved canopies of the choir stalls.
Details of the woodwork carving of the magnificent choir stalls which date from ~1500
The misericord 'seats' in the choir stalls of Carlisle Cathedral. The Canon's stalls and their misericords date from ~1400 and most of them are displayed below.
misericord example 1
Four examples of misericords - carvings on the underside of the seats of the Canons' Stalls in the Choir.
misericord example 2
misericord example 3
misericord example 4
The rest of the misericords - including the four above re-photographed (I think?)
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