1 Coventry Cathedral Pictorial Tour

Last updated:
1 Nov 1998

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NEW! Pictorial tour of the cathedral, pictures by Fransnet

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St Michael

The current cathedral, consecrated in May 1962, replaced the 14th-century parish church of St Michael (which became a cathedral in 1918) after it was reduced to ruins during an air-raid on 14 November 1940.

The new cathedral, joined to the ruins of the old by a porch, is at right angles to the old, and so its east end is actually north! (Traditional ecclesiastical compass points in quotation marks will be used below.)

The pictures below are thumbnails - if you want to see the full size version, click the picture.

cov7.jpg (19662 bytes)The ruins of the old cathedral with the new building in the background.


cov8.jpg (24083 bytes) The altar and the cross of nails in the ruins of the old cathedral. The cross is formed from three 14th C nails which fell from the burning roof, and has become the symbol of Coventry Cathedral's Ministry of International Reconciliation. Two pieces of the charred oak roof beams form the cross behind the altar.


cov2.jpg (17955 bytes) The east end of the ruins, joined by the porc tot the 20th C building. St Michael's Steps lead into the porch. The statue of St Michael defeating the Devil stands between the Steps and the Baptistry window (see below).


cov1.jpg (22798 bytes) A closer view of the porch, St Michael's Steps, St Michael's statue and the Baptistry window.


cov3.jpg (19724 bytes)From the "west" door, looking "east" along the nave towards the tapestry (which replaces the traditional east window).



cov5.jpg (20960 bytes) The nave is 270 feet long, 80 feet wide, 70 feet high and can seat over 2,000 people. The ceiling is a canopy made of slatted spruce panels, carried on concrete lattice beams resting on concrete tapering columns.


cov4.jpg (24899 bytes) The largest tapestry in the world depicts Christ in glory with man between his feet, and below, Christ crucified. The four panels depict beasts described in Revelation.

It was woven in France, took 30,000 hours to make, was donated by an anonymous Coventry resident, and designed by Graham Sutherland.

To the left may be seen the ornate canopy of the bishop's throne, wrought in beaten copper and gilded. It is decorated with nuts and bolts symbolising Coventry's industry. (24.9Kb)

covchoir.jpg (31664 bytes)NEW! The choir and clergy stalls with the organ console (middle left) and some of the organ pipes (top middle).  Above the stalls on each side of the chancel, canopies of triads form a thorn-like avenue which frames the High Altar and parts of the great tapestry (according to the 1970 Pitkin guide book).  (31Kb)
covorgan.jpg (34092 bytes)NEW! Half of the Harrison and Harrison    4-manual organ pipework. The 1970 organ leaflet describes the design of the organ an "eclectic one, embracing what is valuable in all schools of organ building, all subservient to the main musical purpose [of accompanying the cathedral choir and large congregations of 2000 voices]. Transparency, colour and balance between choruses have been combined with the perfection of voicing and regulation for which English organ builders are famous."


cov6.jpg (25357 bytes) The font (a 3-ton boulder roughly hewn from the Valley of Blessedness near Bethlehem) and Baptistry window. 81 feet high and 51 feet across, with 195 panels, the window was designed by John Piper and made by Patrick Reyntiens. Its theme is the light of the Holy Spirit.