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Manchester Collegiate Church, 1558–1660
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Between the Reformation and the Restoration Manchester Collegiate Church was dissolved twice, in 1547 and 1649, restored twice, in 1556 and 1660, and all but dissolved twice, in 1559 and 1609, requiring two further re-foundations, in 1578 and 1635. This confused history reflected a national church in which there was no agreed role for a collegiate church like Manchester. That uncertainty had a profound effect on the institution and its personnel, for even when the college was not facing the immediate threat of dissolution, it was never placed on a secure footing for long. This chapter helps us understand the nature of the Elizabethan and early Stuart Church, the character of ‘puritanism’, and the role of Manchester’s Collegiate Church in the Civil War. The chapter also aids our understanding of mid-seventeenth century events, where the Manchester Presbyterian classis evolved from within rather than from outside the religious establishment. Most collegiate churches and cathedrals were badly damaged during this period as a result of Cromwellian iconoclasm, but Manchester’s Collegiate Church was almost totally unscathed, and, as the chapter notes, Manchester is the only example where a ‘Cathedral-type foundation led the Parliamentarians’.

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Manchester Cathedral

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



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