Down Cathedral

The Church of Saint Patrick of Down


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Down Cathedral is one of the two oldest ecclesiastical foundations in Ulster still in use. Although the present structure dates from the early thirteenth century it is known that there had been a monastery and place of workship on the Hill of Down for many centuries before then. Down Cathedral, the Church of Saint Patrick of Down describes and illustrates the history of the Hill of Down from those earliest times to the present day. The relationship of St Patrick with the Hill is narrated and takes careful account of the latest research, some of it controversial, on the association of the island's patron saint with the Hill on which he is thought to be buried.

The intriguing early and middle history of the Cathedral, including the building of the Benedictine monastery, the bishops and priors who ruled over it and its destruction at the dissolution of the monasteries in the middle of the sixteenth century, is told in clear and absorbing detail. Its subsequent restoration to full glory from the 1790s, largely due to the influence of the Downshire family, marks the beginning of the modern period for this much loved building, described by John Betjeman as 'the prettiest small cathedral in these island'.

The story is brought right up to date with the recent appointment of a New Bishop and a new Dean. Important new sources in the State Papers and in archiepiscopal registers that have only recently become accessible have been used in the telling of this fascinating study. Many of the images in this generously-illustrated work are published for the first time and include photographs of irreplaceable artefacts uncovered during the significant archaelogical excavations of the last few years. The outcome is a comprehensive, pioneering and beautifully illustrated account of one of Ireland's most treasured historical locations, written with authority and affection by one of the country's most accomplished and respected ecclesiastical historians.

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Price: £14.99
Author: J. Frederick Rankin
Illustrator: N/A
ISBN: 9780901905864
No. Pages: 241
Dimensions: 214 x 268mm
Type: Hardback