Road King goes to: Guildford Cathedral

Guildford Cathedral is the mother church of the Diocese of Guildford, covering 500 square miles of Surrey, north east Hampshire, the London Borough of Kingston and a part of West Sussex. With a seating capacity of 1000, the Cathedral provides both focus and resource for the whole community, a venue for concerts, art and education, a place of pilgrimage, as well as stillness, prayer and daily choral worship.

My wife and I drove by on the Road King Classic, and took some pictures:

As the population of South East England grew during the early part of the twentieth century, the Diocese of Winchester was divided into three sections.  The section in the north became the new Diocese of Guildford and Dr John Grieg was appointed the first Bishop in 1927. Initially, Holy Trinity Church in Guildford High Street was used as the Cathedral, but it soon became clear that it was not large enough.  In 1928, the Diocese resolved to build a new Cathedral. Despite many misgivings, the work of planning and fund raising began.

Initially, an architectural competition was held for the design of the new building and 183 architects submitted proposals.  The portfolios were exhibited for public comment after which five architects were invited to submit full designs. The winner of the competition was Edward Maufe and he was appointed Cathedral Architect in 1933. Work on the new cathedral began, with the foundation stone being laid by Dr Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1936. Its building was interrupted by the Second World War between 1939 and 1952, and the cathedral was not consecrated until 17 May 1961, 33 years after the descision to build a new cathedral.

The tower of Guildford Cathedral is 160 feet (49 m) high, and contains twelve bells, ten of which were cast by Mears and Stainbank in 1965. The bells were augmented to 12 with two Whitechapel trebles in 1975. The largest bell weighs 30cwt (1.360 kg) and is tuned to the key of D. At the top of the tower stands a 15-foot (4.6 m) gilded angel, which turns in the wind. Inside, the cathedral appears to be filled with light, with pale Somerset limestone pillars and white Italian marble floors.The Angel on the top of the tower was given in memory of Reginald Adgey-Edgar of the Intelligence Corps, who died on active service on 5 January 1944.

from Guildford Cathedral website

Writing in 1932, Sir Edward Maufe said: ‘The ideal has been to produce a design, definitely of our own time, yet in the line of the great English Cathedrals; to build anew on tradition, to rely on proportion, mass, volume and line rather than on elaboration and ornament.’ Pevsner described the building as ‘sweet-tempered, undramatic Curvilinear Gothic’, and that the interior was ‘noble and subtle.’

Miscellaneous / Trivia

  • On Thursday April 13, 2006, Queen Elizabeth II visited Guildford Cathedral as part of the Maundy Thursday celebrations before going for lunch with the Mayor of Guildford in the Guildhall.
  • The nearby University of Surrey holds graduation ceremonies for its students at the Cathedral, its location makes this ideal as the students can walk from the campus to the Cathedral. During the graduation services the Cathedral is treated as a secular building.
  • In September 2007, the Cathedral was granted Fairtrade Church status by the Fairtrade Foundation.
  • The Cathedral participated in Earth Hour 2008 by switching off its floodlights.
  • Scenes from the classic horror film The Omen were filmed at the Cathedral.
  • At around 15:00 on Sunday 30 November 2008, an armed man, David Sycamore aged 39, was shot dead by police in the Cathedral grounds. The Cathedral had to cancel an Advent carol service for which over 500 people were expected.
  • The Angel also doubles up as a mobile phone mast for Vodafone.

GPS Location (for Garmin ZUMO 660):
N51° 14.473′, W0° 35.710′


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