Chelmsford Cathedral

Chelmsford Cathedral
Chelmsford Cathedral
Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin, St Peter and St Cedd

Chelmsford Cathedral is located in Essex
Chelmsford Cathedral
Shown within Essex
51°44′08″N 0°28′27″E / 51.735556°N 0.474167°E / 51.735556; 0.474167Coordinates: 51°44′08″N 0°28′27″E / 51.735556°N 0.474167°E / 51.735556; 0.474167
Location Chelmsford, Essex
Country England
Denomination Church of England
Style Gothic
Years built c.1200-c.1520
Diocese Chelmsford (since 1914)
Province Canterbury
Bishop(s) The Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell
Dean The Very Reverend Peter Judd
Precentor The Revd Canon Simon Pothen
Organist(s) Dr Peter Nardone

Chelmsford Cathedral in the county town of Chelmsford, Essex, England is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin, St Peter and St Cedd. It became a cathedral when the Anglican Diocese of Chelmsford was created in 1914 and is the seat of the Bishop of Chelmsford.[1]



Chelmsford Cathedral 2007.jpeg

The church of St Mary the Virgin in Chelmsford was probably first built along with the town eight hundred years ago. It was rebuilt in the 15th and early 16th centuries, with walls of flint rubble, stone and brick. There is also a tower and spire with a ring of thirteen bells, 12 of which were cast by John Warner and Sons at Cripplegate. The nave was again rebuilt in the early 19th century, after it had partially collapsed. The stained-glass windows were all installed in the 19th and 20th centuries. The south porch was extended in 1953 to mark Anglo-American friendship after the World War II and the many US airmen stationed in Essex. In 1954, the cathedral was additionally dedicated to Saints Peter and Cedd. In 1983, the interior of the cathedral was extensively refurbished, with a new floor, seating, altar, Bishop's throne, font and artwork. In 1994 and 1995 two pipe organs were installed, the first in the nave and the second in the chancel.

In 2000 a sculpture of "Christ in Glory", by Peter Eugene Ball, was placed above the chancel arch.

In 2004 two further major works of art were commissioned, and are now in place: Mark Cazelet's "Tree of Life" painting in the North Transept, and Philip Sanderson's altar frontal in the Mildmay Chapel.

The cathedral celebrates its links with Thomas Hooker, who was Chelmsford Town Lecturer between 1626 and 1629. He fled to the New World because of his Puritan views and founded the town of Hartford, Connecticut and was one of the founders of American democracy.

The cathedral enjoys close links with The Cathedral School, St Cedd's School, King Edward VI Grammar School and Chelmsford County High School for Girls. Many of the cathedral's boy and girl choristers attend these schools. On 7 February 2000, whilst the Dean, The Very Reverend Peter Judd was Chairman of Governors, The Cathedral School became the first school in England and Wales to be threatened with a S15. Warning Notice under the Schools Standard and Framework Act because of the threat to pupil safety from the school's failure to follow the required child protection procedures.


  • The Cathedral Music Department led by the Director of Music includes the Assistant Director of Music, Organ Scholar, Music Secretary and Choir Matron.
  • The Cathedral Choir consists of twenty boys (aged 7–13) and twelve men. The choir sings the daily choral services and Choral Eucharist, Matins (monthly) and Choral Evensong on Sundays. The men of the choir are made up of professional Lay Clerks, Choral Scholars and volunteer 'Singing Men'.
  • The Cathedral Consort consists of fourteen girls (aged 11–18). They sing Choral Evensong every Tuesday and frequently join the men of the Cathedral Choir for other choral services and concerts.
  • The Voluntary Choir was formed in 2001 and frequently sings at cathedral services often during the holiday periods after Christmas, Easter and through the Summer.
Cathedral Organs
  • The Nave Organ is situated at the west end of the cathedral under the Tower. It is a four-manual instrument with mechanical action built by Mander Organs in 1994.
  • The Chancel Organ is a two manual mechanical instrument built by Mander Organs in 1995. It incorporates 19th century pipework Hill and Holdich and is widely admired for its character and versatility. The Nave Organ's Great, Swell, Solo and Pedal divisions can be played via an electric link from the Chancel Organ console.

A specification of the organs can be found at the National Pipe Organ Register.

Directors of Music
Assistant Organists
  • Geoffrey Becket
  • 1963 John Jordan
  • 1966 Peter Cross
  • 1968 David Sparrow
  • 1986 Timothy Allen
  • 1996 Neil Weston
Assistant Directors of Music

See also the List of Organ Scholars at Chelmsford Cathedral.

See also


External links

  • Official site
  • [1]
  • Essex Chronicle newspaper article, Thursday July 14, 2011, P4-5.

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