Cathedrals & Churches

Famous Churches and Cathedrals in England

There are a large number of churches and cathedrals in England. London boasts the beautiful St. Paul's Cathedral. The first church originally built on this site was constructed in 604 AD. It was destroyed by fire and rebuilt only to be destroyed in a Viking invasion. Undeterred, the church was built yet again, but was again destroyed by fire. Eventually it was rebuilt a third time and has been added to for centuries. The current Cathedral was designed by Christopher Wren.

Winchester Cathedral has a long and interesting history. Built upon marsh lands, flooding still plagues parts of this magnificent building. It is the former home of St. Swithun's Shrine. During Henry VIII's religious Reformation, it was destroyed by order of the King. The bones of the saint and all relics were destroyed and scattered. The men in charge of destroying the shrine gathered and kept all valuables such as the gems and precious metals decorating the shrine. The cathedral grounds are also the resting place of King William II. He was buried under the cathedral's tower crossing in 1100.

Canterbury Cathedral has long been a part of history. When St. Augustine landed on the shores of England, it is from Canterbury that he launched his mission to bring Christianity to the country. He built his Cathedral and became the first Archbishop of Canterbury. The original Cathedral has long been gone. Parts of it can still be found underneath the nave of the current Cathedral. Thomas Becket, the Martyr, was enshrined at Canterbury. His shrine was plundered during the religious Reformation, but a candle marks the original shrine today.

These are just three of the historic Cathedrals that remain in England. There are a large number of churches, abbeys and monasteries still in use. Some have become ruins over the centuries, but remain an impressive reminder of the religious history of the country.