Statements in stone – England’s Norman cathedrals

It was a vast civil engineering programme that diverted the resources of the nation. At fifteen sites across the country, from Durham in the north to Chichester in the south, Norwich in the east to Hereford in the west, thousands of men laboured to create marvels that would amaze their contemporaries.

Their creations would become instant landmarks, the centre of civic pride in their local areas and a clear sign of the power and wealth of their patrons and creators. They would stand the test of time and many years later would remain some of the most popular and most visited buildings ever created.

Am I talking about the great Victorian railway stations? Or Tudor England’s palaces and mansions? Perhaps the great Georgian terraces and squares that forced discipline out of unruly city streets? As important as these all are, they do not quite match the sublime splendour of England’s Norman cathedrals – an eleventh century building project like no other.

The fifteen Norman cathedrals shown in the map above (with their original building time in brackets) are:

  1. Durham (1093–1133)
  2. York Minster (c.1080 – 1100)
  3. Lincoln (1074 – 1092)
  4. Norwich (1096-1145)
  5. Ely (1083-1109)
  6. Rochester (1083-1130)
  7. Canterbury (1070 – 1077)
  8. St. Pauls (1087- 1240)
  9. Chichester (1075 – 1108)
  10. Winchester (1079 – 1093)
  11. Old Sarum Cathedral (1066 – 1092)
  12. Gloucester (1089–1412)
  13. Hereford (1107-c.1158)
  14. Worcester (1084 – 1089)
  15. Chester (1093 – 1250)

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