‘A perpetual college’
Writing the history of Manchester’s Collegiate Church and Cathedral
in Manchester Cathedral
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This introductory chapter puts the book in the context of previous histories and highlights its main themes and approaches. ‘A perpetual college’ is a phrase taken from the first charter of 1421, which envisaged the Collegiate Church lasting for ever. The chapter argues that while national and even international factors had a vital bearing on the institution’s history right from the start, what was also crucial was its role in the local community. Manchester’s Collegiate Church and Cathedral also has a number of idiosyncratic features which means that this volume brings some new facets to the genre of ‘cathedral history’. Most strikingly, it allows us to examine a multi-organizational and multi-functional structure over six hundred years. The Collegiate Church was an extension of an existing parish church before being upgraded to become a Cathedral in 1847. Manchester’s history is thus unusual in that very few collegiate churches survived the Reformation, and it was one of only four collegiate churches to be elevated to cathedral status in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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Manchester Cathedral

A history of the Collegiate Church and Cathedral, 1421 to the present



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