St Columb's Cathedral

Londonderry, United Kingdom

St Columb's Cathedral in the walled city of Derry, Northern Ireland, is the cathedral church and episcopal see of the Church of Ireland's Diocese of Derry and Raphoe. It is dedicated to Saint Columba, the Irish monk who established a Christian settlement in the area before being exiled from Ireland and introducing Christianity to Scotland and northern England. Built after the Reformation in Ireland, St Columb's is the first Anglican cathedral to have been built in the British Isles after the Reformation and was the first non-Roman Catholic cathedral to be built in Western Europe.

The original site of the diocesan cathedral was in Templemore. Due to the violence of the Nine Years' War, the church was destroyed. It was first damaged by an accidental explosion on 24 April 1568, the church having been appropriated for the storage of gunpowder. On 16 April 1600, Sir Henry Docwra entered Derry with a force of 4,000 soldiers. He tore down the ruins of the Big Church and used its stones to build the walls and ramparts of the city. A small square stone tablet from An Teampall Mór is today fixed into the porch of the present structure. The cathedral is located close to the original.

The present church was built by William Parratt, from London, and was consecrated in 1633. It is a good example of 'Gothic Survival' in the English Gothic architecture of the 17th century, contemporary with the college chapel of Peterhouse, Cambridge.

After its consecration in 1633, the church was nearly unaltered until the bishop in 1776, Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol, extended the total height of the building to 67m by building up the tower by 6.4 m and adding a very tall spire. This spire lasted only two decades before it threatened to collapse and was dismantled for rebuilding. The tower was finished in 1802, but the replacement spire was built another two decades later. The original south porch, attached to the hitherto unaltered nave, was removed in 1825, and in 1827 the turrets on either side of the east end were remodelled, with their previously crenallated tops rebuilt with domes.

In 1861-1862, the whole interior was remodelled with new woodwork in oak, and the galleries which had previously been in the aisles were removed. Other decorations and furnishings were replaced at the same time. In 1887, in beginning work for a new chancel, the 17th-century foundations were unearthed, and the new chancel was constructed on their plan, completing the church's intended form.



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Founded: 1633
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rodney (9 months ago)
Great venue to visit
Alison Collier (2 years ago)
An outstanding cathedral, steeped in history. Attended a friend's wedding, beautiful service in an idyllic place. Will visit again
Aishwariya Murali (2 years ago)
Beautiful place Too peaceful Great scenic beauty
Harleysargeuk (2 years ago)
The church lies again. It says open mon to sat for prayer and meditation. Also for visitors. All doors were locked when i visited at 10am. I did see the vicar going out in his new car. Must have been going to get a gold filling. The joy of tourism
Margo Carr (3 years ago)
Lovely church Beautiful cross community Carol Series Bravo!
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