Chelmsford Cathedral

Chelmsford Cathedral
Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin, St Peter and St Cedd
Location Chelmsford, Essex
Country England
Denomination Church of England
Style Gothic
Years built c.1200-c.1520
Diocese Diocese of Chelmsford (since 1914)
Province Province of Canterbury
Bishop(s) Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford
Dean Nicholas Henshall, Dean of Chelmsford
Precentor Simon Pothen, Canon Precentor
Canon(s) Ivor Moody, Vice Dean and Canon Pastor and Edward Carter, Canon Theologian
Organist(s) James Davy

Chelmsford Cathedral in the city 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]


Parish church

The nave

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. The church has a tower with a spire and a ring of thirteen bells, twelve of which were cast by John Warner & Sons at Cripplegate and were dedicated in 1913.[2] The nave partially collapsed in 1800, and was rebuilt by the County architect John Johnson, retaining the Perpendicular design, but using Coade stone piers and tracery,[3] and a plaster ceiling. The upper part of the chancel was rebuilt in 1878.[4]


The chancel

In 1914 the church became the cathedral for the newly created diocese of Chelmsford.[4]

The south porch was extended in 1953 to mark Anglo-American friendship after 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. The stained-glass windows were all installed in the 19th and 20th centuries.

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 organ

Cathedral organs

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

Directors of Music

Assistant Organists

Assistant Directors of Music

See also


  1. Christ Church Cathedral - Miscellany
  2. Centenary Peal at Chelmsford Cathedral The Ringing World No 5385 11 July 2014 p719
  3. Bettley, James; Nikolaus, Pevsner (2007). Essex. Buildings of England. Yale University Press. p. 53. ISBN 9780300116144.
  4. 1 2 Bumpus, T. Francis (1930). The Cathedrals of England and Wales. London: T. Werner Laurie. pp. 388–90.
  5. Essex Chronicle – Community News, 15 April 2010 (Accessed 6 January 2013)
  6. Pinner Parish Review – October 2007 (Accessed 6 January 2013)
  7. Stephen Cottrell – Sermon for the Collation and Installation of Edward Carter as Canon Theologian, Chelmsford Cathedral, 4 March 2012 (Accessed 6 January 2013)


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Coordinates: 51°44′08″N 0°28′27″E / 51.735556°N 0.474167°E / 51.735556; 0.474167

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