Derby's Heritage Part 04 - The Cathedral
w/e 25 April 2010
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

We have already caught sight of external views of Derby Cathedral in earlier parts and no doubt we will also see more of the exterior from various angles as the Heritage Walk continues around the city centre. For this fourth part, after crossing the road from the Cathedral Centre that we visited in Part 03, we will concentrate on the inside of the building, pausing here only to mention the stone pre-Reformation tower built between 1511 and 1532. At 212 feet (64m) high the tower is second only to St Botolph's Church in Boston, Lincolnshire (better known as the Boston Stump) as the largest perpendicular tower in England but it houses the oldest ring of ten bells in the world.

Derby Cathedral

Formerly the Collegiate Church, All Saints' was raised to cathedral status in 1927 when the Diocese of Derby was created. The aforementioned tower is all that remains of the old church as the rest of the building was rebuilt between 1723 and 1725 by Francis Smith of Warwick to a design by architect James Gibbs, a pupil of Christopher Wren. The nave was extended in 1968-72 but whatever its origins, it is said that new visitors often comment on the light and airy interior so different to older churches.
Bakewell Screen Detail

A free Walk Around Plan is available just inside the entrance and a more detailed guide may be purchased for a nominal fee both of which point out the main features to be seen in the cathedral. One of those features is the Bakewell Screen which will appear in several images on this page with the one above showing some of the detail of the screen. The wrought iron screen, also designed by James Gibbs, dates from 1736 and was made by Robert Bakewell of Melbourne, a celebrated eighteenth century ironsmith.
The Cavendish Corner

The south east corner of the cathedral is known as the Cavendish Area and contains a number of interesting features not least among them, the Bess of Hardwick memorial. Bess, or to give her her full title, Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, is buried in the vault below the elaborate memorial in what is now St Katharine's Chapel. A much humbler monument in the same area and seen here on the left of the above image is the tombstone of the Derby artist Joseph Wright. This was moved to the cathedral in 2002 from St Alkmund's Church and is known to be an eighteenth century re-use of a medieval vault marker.
The Pulpit

In front of the Cavendish Area is the lectern on the right whilst on the opposite side is the pulpit both of which are worthy of closer inspection to appreciate the craftsmanship involved in their construction.
The Chancel

Behind the Bakewell Screen is the chancel where morning and evening prayer is celebrated daily and this is also where the Bishop's throne is situated on the north side.
The Altar

Holy Communion is also celebrated on a daily basis at the altar which as the Walk Around Plan states is at the heart and focus of the cathedral.
The Organ

The organ in the cathedral positioned over the main entrance was built in 1939 by John Compton (1865 - 1957) a pipe organ builder born in Newton Burgoland, Leicestershire and who operated his business from both Nottingham and London. He also built cinema organs but his cathedral organ at Derby was without a case until 1963 due to the intervening war. Several additions and modifications took place until it was given a complete overhaul in 1992.
Ceri Richards' Glass

Derby Cathedral is also noted for its modern stained glass windows from 1965 designed by Welsh artist Ceri Richards (1903 - 1971) and whilst traditional stained glass windows are more to my taste, Richards' windows in the cathedral of which the above is one example, are fine examples of his work..

As would be expected there is much more to the cathedral than can be covered in these few images and notes and two good sources of information are the Derby Cathedral website and a Wikipedia article. As we started this part with a brief look at the tower, so we'll finish it with another mention. Since 2006 Peregrine Falcons have nested there and have been the focus of much interest both on site and via webcams on the internet. Click the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project for more information.
 Back to Part 03
 The Derby Heritage Walk Index
Continued in Part 05

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