CATHEDRAL (2005)

BBC Two

360 Panorama of the interior of St. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh
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Date Added: 10 years ago.

Documentary Description


The history of Britain and the aspirations of her Christian communities can be traced in the glorious excesses of the cathedrals. From Norman grandeur.



Centuries of style

The cathedrals of Britain span the millennium - from the cathedrals dating from the 1100s to the modern cathedrals found in Liverpool and Coventry. They display a wide array of architectural styles from Early English Gothic, to the majesty of the Renaissance at St Paul's and the sixties modernism of Liverpool's Roman Catholic Cathedral. In the Middle Ages and up to the Reformation in the 1500s, the Church enjoyed enormous power and wealth, and cathedrals are eloquent symbols of its dominant place in British society.



Cathedrals in the Middle Ages weren't the quiet, reverential places of worship we know today. In Lincoln, for example, the central nave or aisle was where pilgrims chatted and shared news; there would have been an elaborately carved stone screen to separate the ordinary people in the nave from the priests and monks worshipping and singing in the choir.



Cathedrals were elaborate and brightly coloured before much of the interior decoration and original medieval art was destroyed during the Reformation and the Civil War. During the Civil War, cathedrals were used as garrisons, prisons and even stables. Now only traces remain of the vibrant colours that were often whitewashed out of existence.

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