ChristChurch Cathedral, Christchurch


ChristChurch Cathedral, Christchurch
ChristChurch Cathedral

ChristChurch, Cathedral Square

Coordinates: 43°31′52″S 172°38′13″E / 43.531°S 172.637°E / -43.531; 172.637
Location Christchurch Central City
Country New Zealand
Denomination Anglican
Website www.christchurchcathedral.co.nz
Architecture
Heritage designation Category I
Designated 7 April 1983
Architect(s) George Gilbert Scott
Benjamin Mountfort
Architectural type Gothic Revival style
Clergy
Dean Peter Beck

The Anglican cathedral of ChristChurch in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, was built in the second half of the 19th century. It is located in the centre of the city, surrounded by Cathedral Square. It is the cathedral seat of the Bishop of Christchurch in the New Zealand tikanga of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

The February 2011 Christchurch earthquake destroyed the spire and part of the tower – and severely damaged the structure of the remaining building. The cathedral had been damaged previously by earthquakes in 1881, 1888, 1922, 1901 and 2010.

Since 2002, Peter Beck has been the dean of the cathedral.[1]

Contents

History

Architect George Gilbert Scott

The origins of Christchurch Cathedral date back to the plans of the Canterbury Association who aimed to build a city around a central cathedral and college in the Canterbury Region based on the English model of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. Henry John Chitty Harper, the first Bishop of Christchurch, arrived in 1856 and began to drive the cathedral project forward. In 1858 the project was approved by the diocese and a design was commissioned from George Gilbert Scott, a prolific British architect who was known for his Gothic Revival churches and public buildings (he later went on to build St Pancras railway station in London, England, and St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland). Scott himself never visited Christchurch, but handed over the oversight of the project to Robert Speechley.[2]

The cornerstone was laid on 16 December 1864, but financial problems in the fledgling city saw its completion delayed between 1865 and 1873. At the start of the project, Christchurch was still a small town (its male population numbering only 450), and raising funds for the construction of the cathedral proved to be difficult. Commentators of the time voiced their disappointment at the lack of progress – the novelist Anthony Trollope visited the town in 1872 and referred to the "vain foundations" as a "huge record of failure".[2]

In 1873 a new resident architect, New Zealander Benjamin Mountfort, took over the project and construction began again. Mountfort adapted Scott's design, adding tower balconies and the west porch, and decorative details such as the font, pulpit and stained glass.[2] The initial plans called for wooden construction, but were changed with the discovery of a source of good quality masonry stone locally. Banks Peninsula totara and matai timber was used for the roof supports.[3]

ChristChurch Cathedral prior to 1894 without the western porch

The nave—100 foot (30 m) long—and tower were consecrated on 1 November 1881, but the transepts, chancel and sanctuary were not finished until 1904.[3] The Christchurch Beautifying Society planted two plane trees to the south of the cathedral in 1898.[3]

The Rhodes family—which arrived in Canterbury before the First Four Ships—provided funds for the tower and spire. Robert Heaton Rhodes built the tower in memory of his brother George; and the spire was added by the children of George Rhodes. The cathedral spire reached to 63 metres (207 ft) above Cathedral Square. Public access to the spire provided for a good viewpoint over the centre of the city, but the spire has been damaged by earthquakes on four occasions. The tower originally contained a peal of ten bells, cast by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough, hung in 1881. The original bells were replaced in 1978 by 13 new bells, also cast at Taylors of Loughborough.[4]

In 1894, the widow of Alfred Richard Creyke arranged for the western porch of the Cathedral to be built in his memory.[5] On the south side of the Cathedral's nave, there is also a Watts-Russell Memorial Window in memory of her first husband.[6]

The cathedral underwent major renovations during 2006–2007, including the replacement of the original slate roof tiles.

Earthquakes

ChristChurch Cathedral, before the 1901 earthquake damaged its spire
ChristChurch Cathedral, after the 2011 earthquake collapsed its spire. Note the round 'rose window'.

The Canterbury Region has experienced many earthquakes over the years, and like many buildings in Christchurch, the cathedral has suffered varying degrees of earthquake damage.

1881
A stone was dislodged from the finial cap, immediately below the terminal cross, by an earthquake in late 1881, within a month of the cathedral's consecration.[7]
1888
Approximately 8 metres of stonework fell as a result of the 1 September 1888 North Canterbury earthquake. The stone spire was replaced.[7]
1901
The top of the spire fell again as a result of the 16 November 1901 Cheviot earthquake. This time, the stone construction was replaced with a more resilient structure of Australian hardwood sheathed with weathered copper sheeting, with an internal mass damper.[7] The repairs were funded by the Rhodes family.
1922
One of the stone crosses fell from the Cathedral during the 25 December 1922 Motunau earthquake.[8]
2010
The 4 September 2010 Canterbury earthquake caused some superficial damage, and the cathedral was closed for engineering inspections until 22 September 2010, when it was deemed safe to re-open.[9] Some further damage was sustained in the "Boxing Day Aftershock" on 26 December.[10]
2011 February
The 6.3-magnitude earthquake on 22 February 2011 left the cathedral damaged and several surrounding buildings in ruins. The spire that had withstood damage in the September 2010 quake was completely destroyed, leaving only the lower half of the tower standing. While the walls and roof of the cathedral itself remained mostly intact, the gable of the west front sustained damage, and the roof over the western section of the north aisle, nearest the tower, collapsed.[11] Further Inspections showed that the pillars supporting the building are severely damaged and investigations of damage to the buildings foundations will determine whether the cathedral can be rebuilt on the present site.[12]
Preliminary reports suggested that as many as 20 people had been in the tower at the time of its collapse.[13][14][15] However, a thorough examination of the site by Urban Search and Rescue teams subsequently found no bodies.[16]
2011 June
The Cathedral suffered further significant damage on 13 June 2011 from the 6.3-magnitude June 2011 Christchurch earthquake with the rose window in the west wall falling in[17] and raised the question of "...whether the cathedral needed to be deconsecrated and demolished".[18]

It was announced on 28 October 2011 that the present, damaged structure would be deconsecrated and at least partially demolished.[19] Whether any parts of the damaged building will be retained and included in a future building will depend on the state of the fabric as determined during demolition. [20]

Interior

Dean Peter Beck with a member of the US Armed Forces
The nave of the cathedral

The high altar reredos was made from kauri planks from an old bridge over the Hurunui River, and includes six carved figures: Samuel Marsden, Archdeacon Henry Williams, Tamihana te Rauparaha, Bishop Selwyn, Bishop Harper, and Bishop Patteson.[21]

The pulpit, designed by Mountford, commemorates George Augustus Selwyn, the first and only Bishop of New Zealand. Mountford also designed the font, which was donated by Dean Stanley of Westminster Abbey in memory of his brother, Captain Owen Stanley of Akaroa in 1840.[4]

The Cathedral contains the throne and memorial to Bishop Harper – first Bishop of Christchurch and the second Primate of New Zealand – who laid the foundation stone of the cathedral in 1864, and preached at the consecration service in 1881.[22] In the west porch are stones from the Christ Church, Canterbury, Christchurch Priory, Tintern Abbey, Glastonbury Abbey, Herod's Temple, St Paul's Cathedral, and Christ Church, Oxford.[23]

The north wall includes a mural dado of inlaid marble and encaustic tiles, donated by the Cathedral Guild in 1885, which includes fylfot motifs. A memorial window above the mural was donated in memory of Sir Thomas Tancred, Bt.[4]

The Chapel of St Michael and St George was opened by Governor-General, Sir Bernard Freyberg VC on Remembrance Day, 6 November 1949, and dedicated to Archbishop Campbell West-Watson.[24]

Heritage listing

On 7 April 1983, the church was registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a Category I historic place, with the registration number being 46. It is the only church designed by Scott in New Zealand. Its design was significantly influenced by Mountfort. It is a major landmark and tourist attraction, and for many it symbolises the ideals of the early settlers. There are numerous memorial tablets, memorial windows and so forth in the church, acting as a reminder to the early people and the region's history.[25]

See also

References

  1. ^ Dudding, Adam (27 February 2011). "'God is in this, weeping with those who weep'". Stuff.co.nz. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-earthquake/4709342/God-is-in-this-weeping-with-those-who-weep. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Cathedral History". Christchurch Cathedral. http://www.christchurchcathedral.co.nz/Discover/Overview/Cathedral-History. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c The Cathedrals of Christchurch, Christchurch City Libraries
  4. ^ a b c http://www.christchurchcathedral.co.nz/Discover/Inside-the-Cathedral/The-Nave-Northern-Side
  5. ^ Smith, Jo-Anne (updated 1 September 2010). "Watts Russell, Elizabeth Rose Rebecca – Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/1w8/1. Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  6. ^ "The Nave – Southern Side". ChristChurch Cathedral. http://www.christchurchcathedral.co.nz/Discover/Inside-the-Cathedral/The-Nave-Southern-Side. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c "Cathedral no stranger to quake damage". Brisbane Times. 22 February 2011. http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/cathedral-no-stranger-to-quake-damage-20110222-1b3lk.html. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  8. ^ "Our Shaky History". Environment Canterbury. http://ecan.govt.nz/advice/emergencies-and-hazard/earthquakes/Documents/shaky_history.swf. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Cathedral re-opens after clearance"
  10. ^ http://www.christchurchcathedral.co.nz/News/Latest-News/Quake-Assessment
  11. ^ "First look inside collapsed Christchurch Cathedral", bbc.co.uk, 22 February 2011. Retrieved 22 2011February .
  12. ^ "Cathedral damage worse than feared". TVNZ. 28 May 2011. http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/cathedral-damage-worse-than-feared-4191734. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "65 dead in devastating Christchurch quake". Stuff.co.nz. 23 February 2011. http://www.stuff.co.nz/4688231/Large-quake-strikes-Christchurch. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  14. ^ Interview, Radio New Zealand, broadcast 22 February 2011.
  15. ^ 'We may be witnessing New Zealand's darkest day': PM says 65 killed in quake, The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 February 2011.
  16. ^ "Christchurch quake: 'No bodies' in cathedral rubble". BBC News. 5 March 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12654197. 
  17. ^ "Landmarks suffer further damage". stuff.co.nz. 15 June 2011. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-earthquake/5145089/Landmarks-suffer-further-damage. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  18. ^ Gates, Charlie (16 June 2011). "Cathedral future now uncertain". The Press. http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/5150179/Cathedral-future-now-uncertain. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  19. ^ http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/5866482/Partial-Christ-Church-Cathedral-demolition
  20. ^ "Cathedral to be deconsecrated". http://news.anglican.ca/news/stories/2436. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  21. ^ http://www.christchurchcathedral.co.nz/Discover/Inside-the-Cathedral/The-Apse
  22. ^ http://www.christchurchcathedral.co.nz/Discover/Inside-the-Cathedral/North-Transept
  23. ^ http://www.christchurchcathedral.co.nz/Discover/Inside-the-Cathedral/West-Porch
  24. ^ http://www.christchurchcathedral.co.nz/Discover/Inside-the-Cathedral/South-Transept
  25. ^ "Cathedral Church of Christ (Anglican)". Register of Historic Places. New Zealand Historic Places Trust. http://www.historic.org.nz/TheRegister/RegisterSearch/RegisterResults.aspx?RID=46&m=advanced. Retrieved 19 March 2011. 

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