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Lancaster Cathedral

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Title: Lancaster Cathedral  
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Subject: Lancaster, Lancashire, List of ecclesiastical works by E. G. Paley, List of cathedrals in England and Wales, Christ Church, Lancaster, St Thomas' Church, Lancaster
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Lancaster Cathedral

Lancaster Cathedral
St Peter's Cathedral, Lancaster
Lancaster Cathedral showing the apsical east end, the steeple and the baptistry
Lancaster Cathedral is located in Lancaster
Lancaster Cathedral
Lancaster Cathedral
Location in Lancaster
OS grid reference SD 481,615
Location St Peter's Road,
Lancaster, Lancashire
Country England
Denomination Roman Catholic
Website Lancaster Cathedral
Dedication Saint Peter
Status Cathedral
Heritage designation Grade II*
Designated 10 November 1994
Architect(s) E. G. Paley
Austin and Paley
Style Gothic Revival
Groundbreaking 1857
Completed 1901
Spire height 240 feet (73 m)
Materials Sandstone, with slate and copper roofs
Diocese Lancaster
Province Liverpool
Bishop(s) Rt Revd Michael Campbell
Dean Very Rev Canon Stephen Shield
Director of music Damian Howard

Lancaster Cathedral, also known as The Cathedral Church of St Peter and Saint Peter's Cathedral, is located in St Peter's Road, Lancaster, Lancashire, England. It was a Roman Catholic parish church until 1924, when it was elevated to the status of a cathedral. It started as a mission church in 1798, and the present church was built on a different site in 1857–59. It was designed by E. G. Paley in the Gothic Revival style. In 1901 a baptistry was added by Austin and Paley, and the east end was reordered in 1995 by Francis Roberts. The cathedral is in active use, arranging services, concerts and other events, and is open to visitors. The building is designated by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building.


Until the passing of the [7] chancel stalls in 1899,[8] and a new baptistry in 1901;[9] the baptistry cost £4,000 (£380,000 in 2015).[4][10]

The golden jubilee of the church was celebrated in 1909, and a number of alterations were made under the direction of Stations of the Cross were replaced by a set of carvings.[13] Since then, there have been further minor changes to the interior of the cathedral,[14] and in 1995 the east end was reordered by Francis Roberts.[15]



The cathedral is constructed in sandstone ashlar, with roofs of slate, other than the baptistry which is roofed in copper. The architectural style is Gothic Revival. Is plan consists of a five-bay nave with a clerestory, aisles and transepts, a two-bay chancel with aisles, side chapels, and a semi-octagonal apse. The steeple stands at the northeast corner, and the octagonal baptistry is attached to the north transept.[16] The steeple consists of a tower with a spire rising to a height of 240 feet (73 m).[17] The tower is in four stages that are separated by string courses, and it has a stair turret at the northwest corner. On the west side of the bottom stage of the tower is a gabled north porch, above which is a canopied niche containing a statue of St Peter, and a three-light window. On each side of the second stage is a row of six arches, the central two arches containing windows, and on each side of the third stage is a small window. The top stage contains paired bell openings, and at the corner of the parapet are pinnacles. The spire is recessed, and has three tiers of lucarnes. At the west end of the church is a doorway, above which is a five-light window containing Geometric tracery. Along the sides of the aisles are three-light windows with Decorated tracery. In the north transept is a four-light window with Geometric tracery, and the south transept contains a ten-light wheel window surrounded by ten circular windows. In the apse are three-light windows containing Decorated tracery.[16]


Inside the cathedral are six-bay north and south Preston. Alterations were made to it in 1976 by Pendlebury of Cleveleys.[20] As of 2012 it is being restored by Henry Willis and Sons of Liverpool.[21] There is a ring of ten bells. Eight of these were cast in 1879 by John Warner and Sons, the other two in 1848 by Mears and Stainbank at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.[22]


St Peter's was designated by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building on 10 November 1994.[16] Grade II* buildings are defined as being "particularly important buildings of more than special interest"; only 5.5% of the listed buildings are included in this grade.[23] In the Buildings of England series, Hartwell and Pevsner express the opinion that the church is the "chef d'oeuvre" of Paley's works.[24] They also describe the baptistry as being a "tour de force".[25] In his book about the architectural practice of Sharpe, Paley and Austin, Brandwood expresses the opinion that the building is "Paley's masterwork as an independent church architect".[3]

Present day

The building is in active use as a Roman Catholic cathedral. It arranges masses and other regular services,[26][27] and organises concerts and other events.[28] The cathedral is open daily to visitors,[29] and arranges group and educational visits.[30][31]


See also



  1. ^ The parish before 1859, Lancaster Cathedral, retrieved 2 June 2012 
  2. ^ A new church building, Lancaster Cathedral, retrieved 3 June 2012 
  3. ^ a b Brandwood et al. 2012, p. 59.
  4. ^ a b UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2014), "What Were the British Earnings and Prices Then? (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
  5. ^ Brandwood et al. 2012, p. 218.
  6. ^ Brandwood et al. 2012, p. 219.
  7. ^ Brandwood et al. 2012, p. 237.
  8. ^ Brandwood et al. 2012, p. 243.
  9. ^ Brandwood et al. 2012, p. 244.
  10. ^ Baptistery, Lancaster Cathedral, retrieved 3 June 2012 
  11. ^ The Golden Jubilee 1909, Lancaster Cathedral, retrieved 3 June 2012 
  12. ^ The foundation of the Diocese of Lancaster, Lancaster Cathedral, retrieved 3 June 2012 
  13. ^ The Centenary, 1959, Lancaster Cathedral, retrieved 3 June 2012 
  14. ^ The 1970s and 1980s, Lancaster Cathedral, retrieved 3 June 2012 
  15. ^ The 1995 reordering, Lancaster Cathedral, retrieved 3 June 2012 
  16. ^ a b c  
  17. ^ Brandwood et al. 2012, p. 61.
  18. ^ Hartwell & Pevsner 2009, pp. 369–370.
  19. ^ Lancashire, Lancaster, Cathedral of St. Peter, East Road (E01300),  
  20. ^ Lancashire, Lancaster, Cathedral of St. Peter, East Road (N08559),  
  21. ^ The Organ at Lancaster Cathedral, Lancaster Cathedral, retrieved 3 June 2012 
  22. ^ Lancaster RC Cath of S Peter,  
  23. ^ Listed Buildings,  
  24. ^ Hartwell & Pevsner 2009, p. 369.
  25. ^ Hartwell & Pevsner 2009, p. 370.
  26. ^ Mass and Services at Lancaster Cathedral, Lancaster Cathedral, retrieved 3 June 2012 
  27. ^ Cathedral Diary, Lancaster Cathedral, retrieved 3 June 2012 
  28. ^ Cathedral Concerts and Events, Lancaster Cathedral, retrieved 3 June 2012 
  29. ^ Information for Visitors, Lancaster Cathedral, retrieved 3 June 2012 
  30. ^ Group Visits, Lancaster Cathedral, retrieved 3 June 2012 
  31. ^ Cathedral Trails, Lancaster Cathedral, retrieved 3 June 2012 


  • Brandwood, Geoff; Austin, Tim; Hughes, John; Price, James (2012), The Architecture of Sharpe, Paley and Austin, Swindon:  
  • Hartwell, Clare;  
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