The Cathedral of St Mary, St Peter and St Cedd, is a parish church and the Mother church for the whole Chelmsford Diocese of Essex and five Eastern London Boroughs. The second smallest Cathedral in the country, it serves the second largest diocese in the country, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in warmth, light space and colour. It has a modern look which makes it hard to believe that much of the building dates back to the early fifteenth century. Its Gothic perpendicular architecture replaced an earlier church built in the eleventh century. It became a Cathedral in 1914 when the new Diocese of Chelmsford was created to meet the needs of the growing population East of London.
A number of changes in the twentieth century included the lengthening of the sanctuary, major refurbishing to replace pews with chairs, the installation of a honey coloured limestone floor throughout the Nave and Chancel and a new Cathedra, Altar and Font all made from Westmorland slate. Two new organs, and several lovely works of art have enhanced the Cathedral to make it a welcome place for prayer, quiet reflection and daily worship.
The two storeyed South Porch is faced with stone and flint inlay known as "Flushwork". This was greatly enriched in 1953 as a memorial to "tasks and friendships shared" when, during the Second World War, U.S. forces were stationed in the county of Essex The American window depicts the Stars and Stripes, the arms of the U.S. airforce and those of George Washington.
The Cathedral is a busy vibrant place for hosting many large services, theological lectures, Lent courses, Prayer schools, university graduations, civil ceremonies, concerts, organ recitals and welcoming pilgrims and visitors on a daily basis. Educational visits from schools are especially welcome. All these enable the Cathedral to serve as a centre for the spiritual, teaching and artistic life of the Diocese and the community.
A twenty foot painting situated in the North Transept was unveiled in January 2004 to celebrate the 1,350th anniversary of St Cedd's arrival at Bradwell. Painted By Mark Cazelet, it is a Gospel Oak which evokes different levels of response from the viewer. The environmental and ecological themes are obvious and it is a great call to worship the God who creates.
Designed and embroidered by Beryl Dean, this was the result of 850 hours of work and presented to the Cathedral in 1960. The Blessed Virgin Mary is depicted in Byzantine style on a background of Indian cloth of gold with symbols representing the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit and the Star of Bethlehem with interlacing angels' wings.
A colourful patchwork made of 2,220 squares of silk hangs below the lovely East Window. This acts as a perfect background to the Cathedra. Designed by Beryl Dean and made by her students, the colours of the squares are taken from those in the window. Five squares of each colour are placed together to form a cross.
Four impressive, beautifully coloured icons now fill four blank window spaces in the chancel clerestory. Painted in 2010 they are dedicated to Our Lord and our three Patron Saints - Mary, Peter and Cedd. These icons are not just pictures (though as works of art they are magnificent), they are visual aids to prayer.
In 1800, while work was being carried out in the vaults below the south aisle, several pillars and the ceiling collapsed. The ceiling was designed and the repairs completed by 1803 under the direction of the architect, John Johnson. Made of plaster the new ceiling shows circular mouldings much as the previous ceiling. The blue and gilt colouring in pastel shades was given to the restored ceiling in 1961. The visitor's eye is led immediately to look above the Chancel arch at the figure of "Christ in Glory" by Peter Eugene Ball. A Christian symbol of welcome.
Open daily. Free entry although a donation of £1 is requested.
Monday to Saturday 7.45am - 6pm
Sunday 7.30am - 12.30pm and 2pm to 7pm
Visits by adult groups are most welcome and cost £3 per adult. Group visits need to be booked in advance. In addition to showing all the lovely features of the Cathedral we endeavour to meet any special interests within the group. To make a booking please contact the Visitors Officer, Mrs Bobby Harrington. Tel: 01245 294489. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
These can be arranged throughout the year. The education team offer a variety of trails which are all linked to the National Curriculum many of which are cross curricular. Several specially themed workshops such as Christmas, Easter and Pilgrimage have become annual events. The Learning Centre enables the children to carry out various creative activities as well as offering an attractive recreation area. Please see our website for further information.
A visit to the cathedral costs £1 per pupil. Workshops cost £1.50 per pupil. Teachers and helpers are not charged.
Advance booking is essential. Even if a guide is not required it is advisable to make a booking to avoid a clash with another event. To discuss date, times and programme contact the Education Officer, Mrs Bobby Harrington. Tel: 01245 294489. Email: email@example.com.
Wheelchair access and wheelchair to borrow.
Large print service sheets and hymn books.
Loop system for the hard of hearing.
Toilets for disabled.
The Cathedral does not have a refectory but there are a number of pleasant snack bars and restaurants nearby.
Chelmsford Cathedral has a small but comprehensive bookstall that sells books for all ages, gifts and greetings cards.
The Cathedral Courtyard Library is a resource library for the study of theology, Church history and ethics. It is open for borrowing during Cathedral office opening hours. For further information, please contact the Cathedral Office. Tel: 01245 294492. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Essex, CM1 1TY