Herefordshire Places of Worship

Cathedral Church of St Mary & St Ethelbert, Hereford (1) (39k) Cathedral Church of St Mary & St Ethelbert, Hereford (2) (33k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Rosemary Lockie
Cathedral Church of St Mary & St Ethelbert, Hereford
Cathedral Church of St Mary & St Ethelbert (link to Church's website)
Church Street,
Hereford, Herefordshire.

Cemeteries

This Church has (or had) a graveyard.

Note: any church within an urban environment may have had its graveyard closed after the Burial Act of 1853. Any new church built after that is unlikely to have had a graveyard at all.

Church History

This Place of Worship was founded before 825, and we understand it is still open.

"Previous to the erection of the present edifice, more than one large church had already at various times existed in Hereford. So early as the reign of Offa, King of Mercia, a church stood here, which was afterwards pulled down by Milfred, a governor of Mercia, in the reign of Egbert, to give place to a more imposing edifice. Concerning the erection of this second church, tradition has handed down the following account:-

Offa having, at the instigation of his wife, murdered Ethelbert, King of the West Angles, in expiation of his crime caused Ethelbert's remains to be deposited in the church at Hereford, and erected a tomb over them, at the same time making large donations to the church. On becoming Governor of Mercia, hearing that miracles had been performed at Ethelbert's tomb, and satisfied with the results of his inquiries as to their genuineness, Milfred resolved upon erecting a new church in place of the old one, for which purpose he made a large addition to the valuable treasures which the church had already acquired from the munificence of Offa and the offerings of the numerous pilgrims who resorted hither.

This church was completed in 825. After the lapse of 200 years, Milfred's church had fallen into decay. Athelstan, Bishop of Hereford, commenced the erection of a new one, which was completed about 1030. This church was destroyed by Gryffyth in 1055. After the destruction of Athelstan's church, the present cathedral was commenced by Bishop Robert, of Lorraine, and completed by Bishop Raynelm about the year 1115." [Source: The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland, 1868. Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003. Note: most other sources say Ethelbert was king of the East Angles]

The following information about the Church has been provided to accompany the photographs on the right. A list of people who have supplied the information is included in the Acknowledgements, below.

[Image 1] The Cathedral Church in Hereford is dedicated to St Ethelbert, formerly King of the East Angles, who was murdered in 793 by Quendreda the wife of Offa, King of Mercia. Ethelbert had sought Offa's daughter's hand in marriage, and it is said that Offa suffered remorse for the crime, or perhaps more practically, sought dispensation from the Pope for what he and his wife had done. His 'penance' resulted in him arranging for Ethelbert's remains, which had been buried at Marden, to be removed to Hereford, and thereafter spending considerable sums of money towards enriching the Cathedral in Ethelbert's memory.

[Reference: Littlebury's Directory and Gazetteer of Herefordshire, 1876-7][1]

[Image 2] The approach to the Cathedral from St Nicholas's Street, looking towards King Street. On the building wall on the left, above the red phone box is a circular blue sign saying the property is “The Orange Tree”, but underneath it is a ‘For Sale’ sign. The sign on the pavement in the foreground advertises Mortimers Solicitors.

This spot must have been where the original St Nicholas's church once stood - at the head of King street, in the centre of St. Nicholas square, and demolished in 1840 - according to Littlebury's Directory of Herefordshire, 1876-7.[1]

Denomination

Now or formerly Church of England.

If more than one congregation has worshipped here, or its congregation has united with others, in most cases this will record its original dedication.

Maps

This Church is located at OS grid reference SO5099639781. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:

Reference

  • Places recorded by the Registrar General under the provisions of the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855 (2010) is available as a "Freedom of Information" document from the website What Do They Know.

Acknowledgements

A special thanks to the following people who have contributed information for this web page:

1. Information provided by Rosemary Lockie.

Last updated on 3 May 2011 at 00:00.

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This Report was created 8 Nov 2017 - 19:23:41 GMT from information held in the Herefordshire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 3 Jan 2016 at 13:34.

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