© Dr R. A. Brierley
FORMER MONASTIC BUILDINGS TO CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF CHRIST AND THE BLESSED VIRGIN, ST WERBURGH STREET (north off)
CHESTER, CHESTER, CHESHIRE
Dr R. A. Brierley
06 December 2004
28 July 1955
Date of last amendment:
06 August 1998
The Images of England website consists of images of listed buildings based on the statutory list as it was in 2001 and does not incorporate subsequent amendments to the list. For the statutory list and information on the current listed status of individual buildings please go to The National Heritage List for England.
CHESTER CITY (IM)
SJ4066SE ST WERBURGH STREET
595-1/4/357 (North side (off))
28/07/55 Former monastic buildings to
Cathedral Church of Christ & the
(Formerly Listed as:
The Cathedral Church of Christ & the
Blessed Virgin Mary incl. monastic
Former monastic buildings to Cathedral Church (qv).
The Cloister: the arcades and vaults were rebuilt c1525-30,
but the south wall to the cathedral and the west wall to the
abbey undercroft are early C12; the east wall to the north
transept, the chapter house vestibule, a passage to the
precinct (the slype) and the monks' parlour are early C13; the
north wall to the refectory with a long stone bench, formerly
the monks' lavatorium, is C12 altered late C13.
The 4 southern bays of the west cloister walk have the arcade
set back to provide carrels; in the west wall is the Norman
doorway to the former Abbot's Lodging, with roll-mould to
arris, colonnettes with scalloped capitals and plain stepped
round arch; segmental-arched doorway to stair to floor above
the cellarer's undercroft; in the carrels two C13 grave-slabs
and 3 of C14, damaged.
The wall of the south walk has a late Norman doorway having
round and octagonal colonnettes with water-leaf capitals and
arch with moulded, ornamented voussoirs; a pair of triple
round-arched recesses with patterned colonnettes, those to
east the burial place of Richard, Abbot 1092-1117, William
1121-40 and Ralph 1141-1157; grave slab of Henry Bebington
1341 and a fine C13 grave-slab; stone to Simon Ripley abbot
1485-93, transferred from the chapter house; the arcade and
vault were rebuilt by Scott 1911-13.
The wall of the east walk has an early English 3-arched stone
screen to the chapter house vestibule, restored and its
central doorway rebuilt 1840s by Hussey, with a C20 buttress
inscribed to Sheriff JB Close Booth and donors to restoration
of cloister, 1913, and 2 blocked simple Norman archways,
south; north of the vestibule screen is the early C13 archway
to the 3-bay rib-vaulted slype passage, then a fragment of the
quatrefoil early C13 middle window to the now truncated stair
to the former dormitory and, complete, its lower window; C13
archway to stair, from which the middle window is visible, and
the monks' parlour.
The wall of the north walk has an early C13 triple blank arch
over the lavatorium bench, carved corbels for the 1520s vault,
one with Henry VIII's arms; doorway to refectory c1225 with
cusped archway. In the garth a stone reservoir; during the
Middle Ages a conduit from Christleton fed it.
The cellarer's undercroft beside the cloister west walk, early
C12, now the cathedral shop, store and workshop is
groin-vaulted with a central row of short circular columns
with scalloped capitals, divided from the cathedral nave by
the rib-vaulted Abbot's Passage, late C12. Above the passage,
reached via the undercroft roof, is St Anselm's Chapel,
formerly the Abbot's chapel C12, having side-piers to nave
with colonnettes; recast and refurnished earlier C17 by John
Bridgeman, Bishop of Chester 1619-52, a Laudian who provided
altar rail, carved oak chancel screen and a good Gothick
Accessible by stair from St Anselm's Chapel or direct from the
baptistry in the north-west tower of the cathedral is a former
undercroft by the Abbot's lodging, now below the cathedral
library formerly King's School by Sir AW Blomfield 1875-7. The
undercroft is C13, vaulted, 3 x 2 bays; plain conical corbels
to springing of vaults; chamfered ribs dying into octagonal
columns on plinths; the west face of the north-west tower C12
is visible from the undercroft and stair.
The vestibule to the chapter house, early C13 and domestic in
scale, is square, 3 x 3 bays; the piers of 8 attached shafts
with no capitals run into the vault-shafts. The stone screen
to the chapter house, of 3 arches, has central entrance
flanked by 2-light openings with quatrefoil plate tracery; the
supports between the lights are of 3 detached colonnettes with
stiff-leaf capitals. The 3-bay rectangular chapter house has
free-standing vaulting piers and intermediate shafts to each
side, on stiff-leaf corbels and with stiff-leaf capitals;
rib-vault with ridge-rib; cupboard, east, with C13 ironwork;
the 5 east lancets have glass 1872 by Heaton Butler and Bayne
depicting the history of Abbey and Cathedral in memory of Dean
Anson initiator of the Victorian restoration.
The monks' parlour, now choir-room, has C13 cusped arched
doorway, 2 recesses of former open fireplaces, 4 x 2 bays of
vaulting on octagonal piers carrying chamfered ribs.
The refectory, now cathedral cafe, of Norman origin was
refurbished c1300 and C20. Romanesque doorway; raised
corbelled reading pulpit c1300 has stair in thickness of south
wall, with trefoil-headed doorway and screen of 5 arches with
quadruple colonnettes and quatrefoil plate tracery; 5
cusp-arched windows to stair visible from cloister garth.
String-course approx 2m above floor level; decorated side
windows; east window rebuilt 1913 by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott;
roof rebuilt 1939 by FH Crossley.
Features of prime interest include the exceptional extent of
the monastic buildings in continuous use with the cathedral,
the late C14 choir stalls, the late C13 Lady Chapel and the
chapter house with its vestibule.