The pre-collegiate church
Origins and early development
in Manchester Cathedral
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This chapter examines the history and architecture of the parish church before it was made into a Collegiate Church, assessing the archaeological and manuscript evidence. It explores the evidence for the first dating of the church, which is mentioned in the Domesday Book as St Mary. Between the turn of the thirteenth century and the middle of the fourteenth, successive phases of building transformed the earlier church into a substantial structure probably equalling the present Cathedral in length. The rebuilding of the church is reflected in the revenue of the benefice by this period. Manchester was a large parish, covering sixty square miles and later containing thirty townships. By the thirteenth century, the surroundings of the church were also being transformed as Manchester developed as a place of economic importance. One reason given for the foundation of the Collegiate Church in 1421 was the neglect of the parish by absentee rectors or their appointees. The decline of the Hanging Ditch into a rubbish dump on the church’s own doorstep may itself reflect the lack of a strong clerical authority in those preceding years.

Manchester Cathedral

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

Editor: Jeremy Gregory

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