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The Cornish See Cathedral

The Cornish See Cathedral

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Excerpt from The Cornish See Cathedral: Historical Architectural Notes

The special circumstances of the Cornish See and Cathedral seem to demand some particular notice and record. The revival of an ancient Bishopric, merged and absorbed into another for 830 years, and the building of a new Cathedral, arc events for which it is not easy to find parallels in the history of "this Church and Realm." I he Consecration of the Cathedral at Truro on November 3rd, 1887, is the first instance of the kind in England since the Reformation. There was the consecration of St. Paul's, rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren after the destruction of " Old St. Paul's" in the great fire of London in 1666. There have been built in Scotland, Ireland, and the Colonies, Cathedrals of varying size and magnificence during the last quarter of a century; but in recent times no such event as the consecration of a newly-founded Cathedral has taken place in the Church of England ; in that body which historically and ecclesiastically is one with the ancient Church of the Kingdom of England-the Church that was founded for the English by St. Augustine of Canterbury - that drew to itself the Cornish and Welsh remnants of still earlier Churches, as well as the fruits of the labours of Scottish and Irish missionaries in the northern and central regions of this country.

If we go back beyond the Reformation we find the last instance of a newly-built and consecrated Cathedral at Salisbury (that lovely and well-nigh perfect model of a Christian Church), dedicated in 1258. But here there was but the moving of the Cathedral Body from the site at Old Sarum to the new spot at Salisbury, where they built their Cathedral. Indeed, for a similar instance to that of Truro, we are carried back to the tenth, eleventh, or twelfth centuries, when new Cathedrals like Wells (909), Norwich (1096), Ely (1109), Carlisle (1133), were founded, in some cases absorbing portions of earlier monastic and parish Churches, much in the same way that Truro Cathedral has taken into itself the Parish Church of St. Mary.

It is thought, therefore, that a small handbook like the present one may be useful to visitors to Cornwall and others who desire information about the Sec and Cathedral of this county. It aims at giving within a small compass such facts as arc necessary for the purpose, without attempting anything like a technical or scientific description. Its unambitious character may, perhaps, spare it any great severity of criticism.

The Editor desires to thank Mr. J. L. Pearson, R.A., the architect, Mr. E. A. Freeman, Regius Professor of Modern History, Oxford, Lord Grim-thorpe, and the Rev. W. S. Lach-Szyrma, Vicar of Newlyn St. Peter, for important architectural and historical assistance; the Editor of the "Truro Diocesan Kalendar," for permission to reprint the Bishop of Chester's valuable account of the Cornish Bishopric; the proprietors of the "West Briton," for permission to make use of former numbers of their paper, and Messrs. Heard and Sons, for the generous co-operation by which it has been possible to give so many and such excellent illustrations. There remain many others whom it would occupy too large a space to name, such as those who have executed the various "ornamenta" of the Cathedral, and who have kindly assisted the Editor in making the description of the details complete, and arc now asked to accept this acknowledgment of their kindness.

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