West Riding of Yorkshire

Ripon Cathedral, West Riding of Yorkshire

Full dedication: Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Wilfrid
Became a Cathedral in 1836

The Church of St. Peter was founded by St. Wilfrid in 672 AD. All that has survived of this original church is the ancient stone crypt – this is said to be the oldest church building in England to be in continuous religious usage.

Everything was rebuilt in the 12th Century and, as is usual with the great churches, continuously tinkered with over the following centuries.

The ‘trademark’ towers of the Cathedral were added in the 13th Century and have an almost Romanesque feel to them. The nave was rebuilt in the 15th and 16th Centuries after the central tower collapsed in 1450 taking most of the nave with it. Work continued until the 1530s when the Reformation halted work on the Cathedral as a Catholic Church. Work began again in the reign of King James I who re-founded the Cathedral as a Collegiate Church. As usual the Commonwealth was not a good time for the Cathedral and it lost much of its ancient stained glass during this period.

In 1836 Ripon became the first new Diocese created since the Reformation and thus St. Peter’s Church became St. Peter’s Cathedral.

Because the west front of the Cathedral is largely Norman it has a very simple feel to it (akin to other early Cathedrals like Rochester and Southwell) which belies the intricate work undertaken elsewhere.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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