From ‘Th’Owd Church’ to Manchester Cathedral, 1830–1914
in Manchester Cathedral
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This chapter tackles issues of Church reform, the transfer to Cathedral status and the emergence of Tractarianism in Manchester in the late nineteenth century. The circumstances of Manchester Cathedral’s creation and the legacy of its former incarnation rendered its early history sui generis, involving disputes of peculiar intensity and unexpected complications. Opinions on the Collegiate Church’s value to ‘Cottonopolis’ differ, but it was unequivocally a Manchester institution, whereas the Cathedral would be mother church to a diocese stretching north of Lancaster. The Collegiate Church was also Manchester parish church. As the city’s ecclesiastical map evolved through church-building and parochial subdivision, how should its dual role be reflected in the allocation of the burgeoning financial resources generated from its property and services by the dynamic urban economy? The process by which ‘th’Owd Church’ (which the Collegiate Church was affectionately referred to after new churches were built in Manchester from the early eighteenth century) metamorphosed into a cathedral would be far from straightforward. This chapter argues that loyalty to ‘th’Owd Church’ was ultimately one of the distinctive strengths of Manchester Cathedral, giving it a wider resonance than many other cathedrals had.

Manchester Cathedral

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

Editor: Jeremy Gregory

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