Sunday, April 13, 2014

Leicester Cathedral, England

St. Martin's, the medieval church in the center of Leicester, only became a cathedral in 1927. In AD 680, the Saxons established the first bishop in Leicester. Two hundred years later, his successor fled from the invading Danes. Subsequently, the people of Leicester were shepherded by the bishop of Lincoln (from 1072) and later Peterborough (from 1837). The first St. Martin's was built by the Normans in the 11th century. It was rebuilt in the 13th and 15th centuries, becoming the "civic church" since the Guildhall is across the street. The Victorians also added to and redesigned some of the church. When the diocese of Leicester was re-established, it was chosen as the bishop's church.

The exterior of the church is surrounded by yet more renovations, mostly due to the discovery of King Richard III's remains in a car park across across the street.

Leicester Cathedral (with construction)

Where Richard III's body was found

Detail of the side entrance

We entered through the west entrance and came upon the 1849 baptismal font.

Nave from the baptismal font

The font

To the right is St. George's Chapel, dedicated to the patron of England with memorials of the Royal Leicester Regiment. The tiger emblem from their seal has been adopted by the local rugby team, the Leicester Tigers.

St. George's Chapel with regimental colours

Mosaic of the regiment

Further up the south aisle of the church is the Archdeacon's Court, which has activities for children, including a replica of the church created by a Sunday school class.

Recreation of the church and other crafts

Memorial to John Johnson (not someone so historically significant, but I liked the carving)

Around the corner is St. Dunstan's chapel, notable for the Greek icon of Mary and Jesus Pointing the Way and the Russian icon of the Hospitality of Abraham.

Mary and Jesus

Hospitality of Abraham

In the north aisle is St. Katharine's Chapel with memorials to the Herrick family. The family's home stood where the Greyfriars friary was located. It's now some town offices and the car park where Richard was found.

One memorial to the family

The chapel

Banner for the Mothers' Union

At the center of the church is the main altar with the high altar behind it. This area also has a memorial stone to Richard.

Main altar

High altar at the back

Memorial to Richard III

Also by the high altar is the cathedra, the bishop's seat from which the cathedral gets its name.

Bishop's chair

Also notable in the church are the ceiling decorations and trim, which add a nice bit of color.

Over the main altar

Well trimmed

I talked to one of the docents in the cathedral and she said they are getting an area ready for the tomb of Richard, though as of my writing (March 2014), the decision has not yet been made whether he would be entombed here or at York Minster (where he is from).

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