A History of the County of Chester: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1980.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
The former abbey of St. Werburgh, Chester, was reconstituted the cathedral of Christ and St. Mary in August 1541, with an establishment consisting of a dean and six prebendaries. (fn. 1) It was the second of the six former monasteries to be so re-founded by Henry VIII; Westminster Abbey had been made a cathedral some eight months earlier, and Gloucester, Peterborough, Bristol, and Oxford were shortly to follow. (fn. 2) Chester's administration was set out in statutes promulgated in 1544, which were very similar to those issued at about the same time for other cathedrals of the New Foundation. (fn. 3) In addition to the dean and prebendaries, the cathedral was to be served by 6 minor canons, a deacon and sub-deacon, 6 lay clerks or conducts, 8 choristers and a master, 2 teachers of grammar, 24 grammar scholars, 6 bedesmen, 2 under-sextons, a butler, 2 porters, a cook, and an under-cook. (fn. 4) The right to appoint prebendaries, at first reserved to the Crown, was given in 1558 to the bishop of Chester in compensation for his loss of the advowson of Workington (Cumb.). (fn. 5) The cathedral's endowment consisted of 9 Cheshire manors which had belonged to St. Werburgh's abbey, and of most of the abbey's other possessions in Chester and Cheshire. (fn. 6)
Thomas Clarke, last abbot of St. Werburgh's, became the first dean of Chester. (fn. 7) He died about a month after his appointment and was succeeded by Henry Man (d. 1556), a Carthusian who had been prior of Sheen (Surr.). (fn. 8) Man became bishop of Sodor and Man in 1546. Other deans promoted to bishoprics during the first century of the cathedral's existence were John Piers (d. 1594), William Barlow (d. 1613), and Henry Parry (d. 1616). (fn. 9) The remaining 7 deans appointed between 1547 and 1644 died in office. Only two, John Nutter (d. 1602) and Thomas Mallory (d. 1644), survived longer than a decade; Mallory held the deanery for some 37 years, a length of tenure never exceeded.
Four of the 6 prebendaries named at the cathedral's foundation had been monks at St. Werburgh's. (fn. 10) Nicholas Bucksey (d. 1566 or 1567), the former prior, retained his stall throughout the religious changes of the generation following the dissolution, as did William Wall (d. 1573 or 1574), who had been warden of the Franciscan friary at Chester. (fn. 11) There is little evidence of deprivation on account of religious convictions; two prebendaries may have resigned or been deprived under Mary I in 1554 and one under Elizabeth I in 1567. (fn. 12) Two prebendaries, John Piers and John Nutter, were preferred to the deanery of Chester, another, David Lloyd (d. c. 1663) to that of St. Asaph, and a fourth, Roger Parker (d. 1629) to that of Lincoln. (fn. 13) Apart from John Piers, three gained preferment to bishoprics; George Cotes (d. 1555) to Chester, George Downham (d. 1634) to Londonderry, and William Forster (d. 1635) to Sodor and Man. (fn. 14) Among those who held positions outside the diocese of Chester were Edward Hawford (d. c. 1582), master of Christ's College, Cambridge, and John Meyre (d. c. 1623), master of Sedbergh grammar school (Yorks. W.R.). (fn. 15) Others were employed within the diocese; David Yale (d. c. 1613) as chancellor, Robert Perceval (d. after 1563), Robert Rogers (d. 1595), and George Snell (d. 1655) as archdeacons of Chester, and Thomas Dod (d. 1648) as archdeacon of Richmond. (fn. 16) Nepotism does not seem to have been a strong factor in the selection of prebendaries at that time. Only George Downham and Dove Bridgeman (d. 1637) were the sons of bishops of Chester. (fn. 17)
The statutes of Chester cathedral laid down strict rules for the residence of dean and prebendaries, whose absences were respectively limited to 100 and 80 days a year. (fn. 18) Nevertheless, absenteeism was particularly marked among the cathedral dignitaries in the late 16th century. In 1559 there were said to be only two prebendaries in residence. (fn. 19) In 1578 Dean Richard Longworth (d. 1579), chaplain to Queen Elizabeth I, was said to have attended only twice since his appointment six years earlier; Prebendary Hawford, master of Christ's College, had attended only once in the last ten years, and three other prebendaries had achieved little more. The schoolmaster could not remember seeing the dean or any prebendary administering communion during his own thirteen years at Chester. (fn. 20) At Bishop Chadderton's visitation in 1583 the dean, Thomas Modesley (d. 1589), and three prebendaries were said to be non-resident. (fn. 21) Forty years later Bishop Bridgeman laid down a schedule for the prebendaries' residence, with more stringent penalties than hitherto for absenteeism. (fn. 22)
A recurrent theme during the first three centuries of the cathedral's existence was its poverty. In the reign of Edward VI, and again in the 1570s, the dean and prebendaries were accused of embezzlement. (fn. 23) The depletion of goods and property was aggravated by losses resulting from the reform of the currency in 1551, and plate and a bell had to be sold in order to pay stipends and to finance repairs to the fabric. (fn. 24) Under Dean William Cliffe (1547-58) much of the cathedral's endowment was alienated to fee-farmers. The manor of Iddinshall and land to the north-east of Chester was granted to Richard Hurleston of Picton in 1550, at the request of Edward VI and his council. (fn. 25) In 1553 most of the remaining lands, together with some tithes and advowsons, in Cheshire were granted to Sir Richard Cotton (d. 1556), controller of the Household. (fn. 26) It was afterwards claimed that the grant to Cotton was made under duress; the dean and two prebendaries, summoned before the Privy Council to answer allegations that they had removed lead and iron from their church, were committed to the Fleet in February 1553 but released shortly before the grant to Cotton. Successive deans tried to obtain its annulment, but the best that could be achieved by the early 1580s was an increase in the fee-farm rents. (fn. 27) What remained of the endowment was leased out, usually for large entry fines and low rents. In 1649 it was alleged, for example, that land, mostly in Chester, and tithes leased for three lives 20 years earlier were worth nearly £500 a year more than the rent that was being paid. (fn. 28) In 1623 Bishop Bridgeman prohibited the leasing of property in Abbey Square, to the north of the cathedral, other than to its members; at that time part of the square was occupied by a brewhouse. (fn. 29) The injunction, however, was ineffective and had to be repeated fifteen years later by Archbishop Laud. (fn. 30)
The cathedral's annual income was barely sufficient to meet its ordinary expenditure, of which the largest items were the salaries of its servants and the firstfruits and tenths paid to the Crown. (fn. 31) There was therefore little money available for maintaining the church and other buildings. In 1578 it was alleged that the dean and chapter had pulled down some of the buildings, that lead, glass, and slate were lacking, and that one of the prebendaries' houses was ruinous. (fn. 32) Four years later some of the additional income derived from fee-farm rents was directed to be applied to repairs, and in 1583 new work at the cathedral was mentioned. (fn. 33) At the end of the century the roof and woodwork were repaired. (fn. 34) In the 18th century Bishop Vaughan rather than the dean and chapter was named as responsible for those repairs, and for the re-casting of five old bells in 1605 and again in 1606; Vaughan, however, had been translated to London in 1604. (fn. 35) Bishop Bridgeman was certainly responsible for many improvements of the fabric of the cathedral and of St. Oswald's parish church which occupied the south transept. They included the whitewashing of the interior and painting of the choir stalls, alterations to the organ, restoration of the window tracery, the removal of the consistory court from the lady chapel to the south-west tower, and the provision of cottages for the conducts in the precinct. (fn. 36) Work financed by the dean and chapter in the early 17th century resulted in an excess of expenditure over income in several years; in 1605, for example, the deficit was more than £90. (fn. 37)
During the first century of the cathedral's existence there were several clashes between its members and the corporation and citizens of Chester. Despite the alienation of estates in the mid 16th century the cathedral remained a major landowner within the city. (fn. 38) Two of the officers serving the cathedral in the late 16th century, William Glasiour (d. 1619), vice-chamberlain of Chester, and Peter Proby, described as a servant of Sir Francis Walsingham, conflicted with the city authorities over matters unconnected with the cathedral. (fn. 39) In the 1570s the dean and chapter successfully opposed the erection of the city's corn market on the east side of Northgate Street, near the bishop's residence. (fn. 40) In 1607 one of the prebendaries forcibly put down the civic sword, which was being carried upright in procession before the mayor in accordance with the city's letters patent of incorporation. The mayor's right to have the sword borne upright before him, in the cathedral as elsewhere, was upheld in the Chester Exchequer. (fn. 41) In the 1620s freemen of the city complained that non-freemen were able to trade within the cathedral precincts. (fn. 42) In 1638 it was said that the corporation, after boycotting cathedral services for twelve years, had recently started to attend again but had withdrawn once more after a dispute with the dean over seating. (fn. 43)
When Dean Thomas Mallory died in 1644, William Nicholls was appointed in his place. By that time, however, Chester was under attack by Parliamentary forces, and the new dean was unable to take up his appointment. The city fell in 1646 and the cathedral's revenues were sequestered. (fn. 44) Cathedral establishments were abolished in 1649, and the possessions of Chester cathedral were soon afterwards surveyed by the trustees appointed by Parliament. (fn. 45)
Henry Bridgeman (d. 1682), appointed dean of Chester at the Restoration, was the son of John Bridgeman, former bishop of Chester. In 1671 he became bishop of Sodor and Man, but he continued to hold the deanery until his death. (fn. 46) No pattern can be traced in the appointment of deans between the Restoration and the mid 19th century. Five were of Cheshire origin, John Arderne (d. 1691), Thomas Brooke (d. 1757), George Cotton (d. 1805), Hugh Cholmondeley (d. 1815), and Robert Hodgson (d. 1840). (fn. 47) William Smith (d. 1787) is said to have owed his position to the influence of the Stanley family; he had been reader to the earl of Derby. (fn. 48) George Davys (d. 1864) was chaplain to the duchess of Kent and tutor to Princess Victoria before his appointment. (fn. 49) One dean, Lawrence Fogge (d. 1718), had served as a prebendary at the cathedral. (fn. 50) Dean Smith was the most eminent scholar among the 18th-century deans; both before and after his appointment he published translations of the classics. (fn. 51) Dean Cholmondeley, before his appointment, collected materials for a history of Cheshire which he proposed to write. (fn. 52) All the deans appointed between 1660 and 1815 died in office. Robert Hodgson resigned in 1820 and became dean of Carlisle. (fn. 53) Edward Copleston (d. 1849) became bishop of Llandaff and dean of St. Paul's in 1828; Henry Phillpotts (d. 1869) bishop of Exeter in 1831; and George Davys bishop of Peterborough in 1835. (fn. 54)
Only one of the prebendaries at Chester, Dudley Garenciers (d. 1702), was promoted from a minor canonry there. (fn. 55) One, Arthur Fogge (d. 1739), was the son of a dean of Chester. Samuel Peploe (d. 1781) was son of Bishop Peploe, and John Thane (d. 1727) was nephew of Bishop Pearson. Thomas Ward (d. 1827) succeeded to the stall of his father on the latter's resignation in 1781. (fn. 56) Charles Henchman (d. 1741) was assistant and subsequently headmaster of the King's School before his appointment to a prebend in 1718. (fn. 57)
Eight of the 12 archdeacons of Chester between 1660 and 1847 were prebendaries of the cathedral. (fn. 58) Two prebendaries, Samuel Peploe and John Briggs (d. 1804), were chancellors of the diocese of Chester. (fn. 59) Peploe, a prebendary from 1727 until his death 54 years later, was also archdeacon of Richmond, rector of Tattenhall, and warden of Manchester collegiate church (Lancs.). (fn. 60) Another notable 18th-century pluralist was Richard Jackson (d. 1796), who was prebendary of Chester, Lichfield, and York. (fn. 61)
From the late 17th century it became customary for the dean and prebendaries to allot amongst themselves most of the livings at their disposal, which included the perpetual curacies of Bromborough and Shotwick, the vicarages of St. Oswald's, Eastham, and Neston, and the rectories of Coddington, Dodleston, Handley, Northenden, Thurstaston, and West Kirby. (fn. 62) The vicarage of St. Oswald was on three occasions in the late 17th and early 18th centuries a preliminary to attaining a prebend. (fn. 63) Coddington, held by minor canons from 1710 to 1748, passed afterwards to prebendaries. Dodleston was held by prebendaries from 1716, and by Deans Brooke and Cotton; Handley by minor canons from 1684 to 1702 and from 1709 to 1766, by Dean Smith from 1766 to 1787, and by prebendaries for forty years after 1787. Dean Arderne obtained Neston in 1682, and was succeeded there in turn by a minor canon and three prebendaries. Northenden was held by prebendaries continuously after 1690, except between 1825 and 1826 when Dean Vaughan was rector. Dean Cholmondeley was rector of Tarporley. The 6 rectors of Thurstaston appointed between 1752 and 1808 were minor canons; West Kirby, however, was held by prebendaries after 1696, except between 1780 and 1787 when the rector was Dean Smith. (fn. 64) As early as 1660 the dean and chapter decided that the dean was to be vicar of Neston, and that each prebendary in turn should be offered the living as vacancies arose. (fn. 65) In 1761 the death of Prebendary John Mapletoft, who had held Neston and West Kirby, resulted in a re-shuffle of livings; Abel Ward took Neston instead of Dodleston, and Edward Mainwaring, who already held Coddington, was given West Kirby, while Richard Jackson resigned St. Oswald's for Ward's living of Dodleston. (fn. 66) At that time the dean, Smith, and his chapter were in dispute over the right of presentation to livings, and each side took counsel's opinion. (fn. 67) It was agreed that the dean should 'have the first option of such living as he shall think proper to accept of', and that successive vacancies were to be filled by the prebendaries in order of seniority 'till they are all served'. (fn. 68) Dean Smith obtained Handley in 1766. (fn. 69)
Relations between the dean and prebendaries seem generally to have been harmonious. In 1668 three prebendaries certified the excellence of Dean Bridgeman. (fn. 70) Dean Arderne found it necessary in 1683 to enter in the chapter act book a protest against an alleged usurpation of his powers, claiming that the foundation deed of the cathedral gave him more authority than the 'certain model . . . received and used as statutes'; it is not clear, however, that his complaint referred to difficulties with the prebendaries. (fn. 71) Apart from the dispute over presentations to livings in 1761 there are no records of disagreement until 1812, when the chapter was divided over the appointment of a clerk. The dean and two prebendaries opposed the remaining four, and refused to accept a majority decision. The four prebendaries appealed to the bishop of Chester on the question whether the dean could veto majority decisions of the chapter, and won Bishop Law's support. Dean Cholmondeley, however, held that the interpretation of the cathedral statutes lay not with the bishop but with the archbishop of York. (fn. 72)
Bishops of Chester carried out infrequent visitations of the cathedral. Bishop Pearson held two, in 1675 and 1677, and his successor, Cartwright, visited the cathedral in 1687; as a result of that visitation, the bishop proposed for a reason not now apparent to suspend Dean Arderne, but the sentence was not put into effect. (fn. 73) Further visitations were held by Bishops Stratford (1692 and 1698) and Peploe (1728, 1738, and 1746); the next, by Bishop Law, only occurred in 1813 when the dean and chapter were in dispute; another was held by Blomfield in 1827. (fn. 74)
The chapter act books, which survive in an unbroken series from the Restoration, provide information on discipline within the cathedral. (fn. 75) During the late 17th and early 18th centuries the dean and chapter seem to have spent much time in asserting control over the lesser servants. In 1746 one of the prebendaries was deprived for immorality, though he long refused to accept the bishop's sentence. (fn. 76) The chapter had many difficulties with the minor canons. By 1676 there were only four on the establishment; in that year three were disciplined. A new minor canon appointed in 1677 was expelled two years later for slandering a prebendary, and his successor lost his place for drunkenness during divine service. (fn. 77) The precentor, suspended for insolence in 1674, was threatened with dismissal by Bishop Cartwright in 1687 for neglecting services; the bishop found a more political fault in another of the minor canons who had been disrespectful about James II and his religion. (fn. 78) In 1717 the chapter complained of frequent absences of the minor canons on Sundays. (fn. 79)
Complaints about the choir and the bedesmen also occur. In 1713 the chapter ordered men in the choir who were too old or infirm to sing, or whose pronunciation was 'indecent or ill-ordered', to find substitutes. (fn. 80) Two years later the organist and choirmaster, already dismissed once in 1707 but reinstated, was expelled for fathering a bastard. (fn. 81) In 1727 the conducts and vergers were warned against absence from services and excessive drinking. (fn. 82) The six bedesmen were appointed by the Crown, and complaints about their behaviour had to be addressed to the sovereign. In 1670 Dean Bridgeman asked for a replacement for one who had run away from his wife; the replacement gave no better service, for within a month Bridgeman complained that he refused to attend prayers or conform to the statutes. (fn. 83) By 1686 a man had to be found to relieve the bedesmen of their duty of cleaning the church; his wages were deducted from the bedesmen's stipends. (fn. 84)
Little is known of services at the cathedral before the early 19th century. In 1831 there were prayers every morning in the lady chapel, and services at 10.30 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the choir. (fn. 85) The quality of music at the services varied with the ability of individual organists and choirmasters and the interest of particular deans. Dean Bridgeman was said in 1668 to have 'given attention to the music of the choir'. (fn. 86) In 1684 the dean and prebendaries agreed to contribute towards the cost of a new organ. (fn. 87) Two organists of the late 16th century, Robert White (d. 1574) and Thomas Bateson (d. 1630), had attained distinction as composers; both moved on after short careers at Chester, White to Westminster Abbey and Bateson to Dublin. (fn. 88) Peter Stringer (d. 1673) combined many talents. He rose from choristership to the position of lay clerk and minor canon, and became precentor, organist, master of the choristers, and deputy to the receiver and treasurer. His son John succeeded to all those offices except the precentorship. Edmund Baker, organist from 1727 to 1765, was a pupil of John Blow. His successors Edward Orme (d. 1777) and John Bailey (d. 1803) did much to improve the quality of music at the cathedral, which by 1782 was one of the earliest in England to have its own anthem book. In 1823-4 the organ was restored, and a new one was built in the refectory.
The cathedral's finances, already inadequate before the Civil War, deteriorated steadily during the late 17th and 18th centuries. There were, indeed, occasional windfalls. In 1703 Mrs. Barbara Dod devised property in Boughton and Childer Thornton to aug ment the stipends of the minor canons. (fn. 89) Dean Arderne left his property to the cathedral in order to found a public library or, should that prove impossible, for other specified purposes; in 1725, following litigation, the bequest was augmented by a large share of the estate of Mrs. Jane Done (d. 1662) which included the manor-house and other lands in Tarporley. (fn. 90) In spite of such gains, however, expenditure continued to exceed income, and by 1677 the chapter was forced to resort to borrowing. In that year £100 was borrowed for roof repairs; a loan of £150 was raised towards the cost of a new organ in 1685. (fn. 91) By the mid 1690s it became necessary to borrow to discharge the cathedral's ordinary debts, including first-fruits and tenths, taxes, and salaries. (fn. 92) Such loans continued to be necessary throughout the 18th century; meanwhile the excess of expenditure over income mounted steadily to reach nearly £1,300 by 1799-1800. (fn. 93) Belatedly the chapter decided in 1790 that the treasurer should not undertake any new building or alterations costing more than £20 without first obtaining a chapter order. (fn. 94) By 1810-11 the accumulated deficit had reached nearly £2,500; when the four prebendaries in dispute with Dean Cholmondeley wrote to the bishop of Chester in 1813 they asked for his advice on their finances. Loans had earlier been obtained upon bonds issued under the chapter seal; the chapter's credit had become exhausted, and individual prebendaries were having to raise loans on their own notes. Tradesmen were complaining about unpaid bills, and creditors threatening legal proceedings. (fn. 95)
A temporary solution to the problem was found in the appropriation of part of the entry fines for leases. As in the 16th and early 17th centuries, the chapter continued to lease at low rents, with large fines demanded for renewals. The fines were divided among the chapter. (fn. 96) Between 1801 and 1810 fines totalled more than £5,700. (fn. 97) Usually the dean was allotted a quarter of the fines, and the six prebendaries each received one eighth. In 1706 £600 of a fine of £1,600 was appropriated to the discharge of the chapter's debts, and in 1763 and 1775 fines were devoted to church repair. (fn. 98) In 1813, on Bishop Law's advice, the chapter decided that one eighth of all future fines were to be set aside for liquidating its debts; the fines themselves were standardized. (fn. 99) The treasurer's limit for unauthorized spending was reduced to £15. (fn. 100) By 1826 more than £2,000 arising from fines had been used to pay off debts. (fn. 101)
The perennial financial difficulties of the cathedral resulted in repairs to the fabric being undertaken only when judged essential. In 1661 the chapter house was said to be so decayed as to be unfit for chapter meetings. (fn. 102) Bishop Cartwright complained in 1687 that the cloisters were in disrepair. (fn. 103) Only the smallest repairs could be financed from ordinary income; otherwise new sources had to be found. In 1701 the dean and chapter obtained a royal brief for repairs to the church and conventual buildings, the estimated cost of which was £7,000. (fn. 104) In 1723 public subscriptions were sought by the treasurer for repairs to the chapter house. His appeal raised more than £107 towards repairs that cost £118. (fn. 105) Other repairs and alterations were financed by individuals. Dean Bridgeman was said to have been liberal in improving the prebendaries' houses. (fn. 106) Bishop Gastrell had the interior of the church whitewashed in 1725, and Bishop Peploe provided galleries in the choir in the 1740s. (fn. 107) In 1751 the commissary of Richmond paid for a marble floor for the choir and a new roof for the cloisters. (fn. 108) Dean Cholmondeley is said to have paid particular attention to improving the cloisters. (fn. 109) Under Hodgson, his successor, the Chester architect Thomas Harrison was called on for advice about the fabric; an appeal for £7,000 for its restoration was made by Bishop Law. (fn. 110) Dean Copleston levelled the ground in the cloister and churchyard and had a drainage ditch dug outside the church; inside, he provided at his own cost a high screen to divide St. Oswald's parish church, in the south transept, from the body of the cathedral. (fn. 111) By 1830 the lessees of the properties to the north of the cathedral, in Abbey Square and Abbey Street, had built new houses there. (fn. 112)
Disputes between the cathedral staff and Chester corporation still occasionally arose after the Restoration. In 1683 the chapter entered in the act book that as 'a body incorporate separate from the city of Chester and not within the district of the same city' they would not pay levies demanded by the corporation in respect of the cathedral precincts. (fn. 113) The mayor and magistrates forced their way through the Abbey Gateway in 1739 in order to proclaim war against Spain. (fn. 114) At the end of the 18th century the corporation was said to be refusing to pay compensation for a piece of ground taken over for widening Northgate Street. (fn. 115)
From the late 18th century the cathedral became more closely involved in the life of the city and county. The corporation attended services there to mark occasions of national importance such as the commemoration of peace in 1814. (fn. 116) In 1772, as part of the first music festival staged in the city, three oratorios by Handel were performed in the nave. Further festivals, the profits of which were given to local charities, were held at intervals between 1783 and 1829. In 1786, for the first time, the west end of the nave was adapted as a stage for the orchestra, and in 1823 similar arrangements were made for a choral performance in the refectory. (fn. 117) Dean Cholmondeley was reputed to be a devoted supporter of charities in the city of Chester. (fn. 118)
The appointment of Frederick Anson as dean in 1839 was followed almost immediately by reorganization under the Ecclesiastical Commissioners Act, 1840. (fn. 119) Two of the 6 prebends, now restyled canonries, were suspended. The bishop was empowered to appoint up to 24 honorary canons. Bishop Sumner was slow to take up the power; by 1846 only 4 had been appointed. (fn. 120)
Before his appointment Dean Anson had been a canon at Southwell (Notts.). He was said to have improved the choral services at the cathedral soon after his installation, and in 1841 he obtained the services of the former organist at Southwell, Frederick Gunton (d. 1888), at Chester. (fn. 121) Anson was also said, in 1856, to have 'done more to beautify his cathedral than all his predecessors put together'. (fn. 122) His achievement lay partly in having the choir and lady chapel restored in the 1840s under the direction of the architect R. C. Hussey. The mid 18th-century galleries and the pews were removed from the choir, and the stalls were moved to the west so that they lay partly under the central tower, an arrangement criticized by the Ecclesiologist in 1846. A new organ, second only in size to that at York, was installed on the rood screen. (fn. 123) Anson won particular praise for reintroducing stained-glass windows into the cathedral, where at the time of his installation only one pane of coloured glass remained. (fn. 124) Under his direction windows were placed above the west entrance, in the nave, in the north and south choir aisles, and in the lady chapel, to designs by Pugin, Wailes, the O'Connors, and Clayton and Bell. (fn. 125)
Anson's reputation as a restorer has tended to become eclipsed by that of his successor, John Saul Howson. Before his death in 1867, Anson had the whole of the cathedral fabric surveyed, with a view to a comprehensive restoration scheme. (fn. 126) The scheme was carried out by Howson between 1868 and 1876, with Sir George Gilbert Scott as supervising architect. (fn. 127) Much of Scott's work would be better described as rebuilding than restoration, though Scott himself claimed archaeological evidence for his work, and in 1872 the dean felt compelled to defend himself against the charge of 'destroying the past, and erecting a new building'. (fn. 128) Most controversial was Scott's decision to shorten the south choir aisle and terminate it in an apse surmounted by a steep polygonal roof. (fn. 129) His proposal to erect a spire on the central tower was rejected, but much of the external appearance of the church is the result of his work. (fn. 130) The restoration cost more than £90,000. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners contributed £15,000, and other sums were sought from individuals and organizations within the diocese. (fn. 131) Howson himself planned the details of some of the new work, such as the sanctuary at the east end of the choir with representations of prophets on the ceiling and of four doctors, two Greek and two Latin, on the floor; and the north and south windows of the lady chapel, illustrating respectively the acts of the Apostles and the ministry of St. Paul. He presented the communion table, which was constructed of wood brought from Palestine. (fn. 132)
In Howson's time the cathedral church was enlarged. In the mid 1870s the bishop's palace to the west was demolished. The north-west tower of the cathedral had been walled off from the nave and used as part of the palace; by 1885 it was incorporated into the cathedral as a baptistery. (fn. 133) In 1881 St. Oswald's parish church ceased to occupy the south transept; a few years earlier Dean Copleston's screen erected to divide the transept from the body of the cathedral had been removed. (fn. 134)
Howson, author of Horae Patrinae, or Studies in the Life of St. Peter (1883), and, jointly with W. J. Conybeare, of The Life and Epistles of St. Paul (1852), was evangelical in sympathy rather than a High Churchman. (fn. 135) His successor, John Lionel Darby (d. 1919), was described after his death as 'rigidly conservative in preserving the integrity of Anglican doctrine and tradition'. (fn. 136) Unlike most of his predecessors and successors, Darby rose to the deanery through ecclesiastical offices in the diocese. He was successively chaplain to the bishop of Chester, diocesan inspector of schools, honorary canon, archdeacon of Chester, and canon. (fn. 137) In his time the work of restoration continued. Particularly important was that of the south transept, carried out under Sir A. W. and C. J. Blomfield; before Darby's death two side chapels were added to it. (fn. 138) A start was also made on the restoration of the conventual buildings, particularly the cloisters and the east end of the refectory. (fn. 139)
The role of the cathedral and its staff in the life of Chester and its neighbourhood continued to develop throughout the second half of the 19th century. Dean Howson found the nave of the church 'if used at all . . . used only as a place for loitering'. From the completion of its restoration in 1872 it was used for Sunday evening services. (fn. 140) In 1879 the organist, J. C. Bridge (d. 1929), revived the Chester music festivals, which had lapsed since 1829, and organized them as a triennial event. (fn. 141) The precentor said in 1888 that he hoped that the opening service of the festival that year, to be held in the nave, would be attended by 'the very lowest of the low in meanest attire'. (fn. 142) Chester's increasing popularity as a tourist centre in the 19th century was reflected in a succession of guide-books to the cathedral. (fn. 143) At the same time the dean and canons became more closely involved in both educational and cultural activities. Among Howson's interests in Chester were the Queen's School, the Grosvenor Museum, and the Chester School of Art; besides his guide-book to the cathedral he wrote works on local topography and history. (fn. 144) Charles Kingsley, a canon residentiary at Chester from 1869 to 1872, took the lead in promoting the Chester Society of Natural Science, Literature, and Art. (fn. 145) Deans Anson and Howson, together with Edward Barber (d. 1914), vice-dean and archdeacon of Chester, and the organist J. C. Bridge, were leading members of the Chester Architectural, Archaeological, and Historic Society. (fn. 146)
Relations between the cathedral and the community were the particular interest of Darby's successor as dean, Frank Selwyn Macaulay Bennett (d. 1947). In 1920 Bennett outlined his plans for the cathedral, where 'besides the regular official services, there should be a considerable variety of use'. (fn. 147) A month after his installation, Chester became the first cathedral to open its doors to visitors without charge every day, including Sundays, an example followed by ten more cathedrals by 1925. (fn. 148) Bennett appropriated various parts of the church to the use of groups within the diocese. The south choir aisle, containing the chapel of St. Erasmus, was reserved for private devotion. Two more side chapels were added to those furnished in the south transept under Darby; the four were devoted respectively to the Boy Scouts, Church Lads' Brigade, and Boys' Brigade; the Cheshire Regiment; the Church of England Men's Society; and the Diocesan Board of Missions. The lady chapel was set aside for the Mothers' Union and the Women's Help Society; in the north choir aisle a new chapel, dedicated to St. Werburgh, was devoted to the Girl Guides and the Girls' Friendly Society. A children's corner was established. The former monastic buildings were also adapted for the use of groups from the diocese. The cloisters were glazed, the refectory restored, and the parlour converted from a coal-house to a common room. (fn. 149)
Bennett aimed to draw the whole diocese into the work of the cathedral. In 1920 he began to write 'Notes by the Dean' every month in the Diocesan Gazette, and summoned a 'Great Chapter' consisting of both residentiary and honorary canons; it was to be 'an advisory body, linking the diocese to the cathedral, and familiarizing the cathedral with the diocese'. In 1921 he published, for the first time, the cathedral accounts, and launched an appeal for £20,000 for restoration work. Three years later he began the practice of remembering each parish in the diocese at the cathedral services on one day each year. From 1925 a cathedral calendar was produced. (fn. 150)
Bennett also encouraged the more widespread use of the cathedral library. In 1849 the library was said to be well stocked in English divinity and the classics, but neglected; it contained about 1,100 volumes. Dean Howson enlarged it. In 1922 it was reorganized, and Bennett printed lists of the more useful books there in the Diocesan Gazette. (fn. 151) In 1925 Bennett's son published a comprehensive guide-book to the cathedral. (fn. 152)
The next two deans, Norman Henry Tubbs (d. 1965) and Michael McCausland Gibbs, came to Chester after service abroad, Tubbs as bishop of Rangoon and Gibbs as dean of Cape Town. (fn. 153) In 1938, under Tubbs, the Friends of Chester Cathedral were founded, 'to strengthen the spirit of worship, . . . to preserve and enrich the fabric, . . . and to support and develop the music'. (fn. 154) Dean George William Outram Addleshaw, who succeeded Gibbs in 1963, did much to publicize the architecture of the cathedral. (fn. 155) He launched an appeal fund for £300,000 for its restoration. (fn. 156) His most controversial achievement was the erection of a detached bell-tower to the south-east of the cathedral, when it became obvious in the late 1960s that continued bell-ringing would endanger the central tower. (fn. 157)
In 1935 new statutes for the cathedral came into force under the Cathedrals Measures of 1931 and 1934. They were modified in 1967. (fn. 158) The cathedral's establishment under the new statutes consisted of 4 canons residentiary, 3 chaplains choral, 6 lay clerks, 16 choristers, and 24 honorary canons. Provision was made for one or two of the canons residentiary to be free to undertake work in the diocese. Canons emeriti were appointed as early as 1917. (fn. 159)
The number of services in the cathedral increased under Dean Bennett. By 1927 there were regularly 9 services on Sundays, and 6 on weekdays; early holy communion on weekdays was performed in each subsidiary chapel in turn. (fn. 160) In 1978 there were 5 services on Sundays and 3 on all weekdays except Thursdays, when there was an extra communion service. (fn. 161)
Deans of Chester
Thomas Clark, appointed 1541, died 1541. (fn. 162)
Henry Man, D.D., appointed 1541, bishop of Sodor and Man 1546, resigned 1547.
William Cliffe, D.D., Ll.D., appointed 1547, died 1558.
Richard Walker, M.A., appointed 1558, died 1567.
John Piers, D.D., appointed 1567, resigned 1573.
Richard Longworth, D.D., appointed 1573, died 1579.
Richard Dorset, D.D., appointed 1579, died 1580.
Thomas Modesley, B.D., appointed 1580, died 1589.
John Nutter, B.D., appointed 1589, died 1602.
William Barlow, D.D., appointed 1603, bishop of Rochester 1605.
Henry Parry, D.D., appointed 1605, bishop of Gloucester 1607.
Thomas Mallory, B.D., appointed 1607, died 1644.
William Nicholls, D.D., appointed 1644, died 1658.
Henry Bridgeman, D.D., appointed 1660, died 1682.
James Arderne, D.D., appointed 1682, died 1691.
Lawrence Fogge, D.D., appointed 1692, died 1718.
Walter Offley, appointed 1718, died 1722.
Thomas Allen, Ll.D., appointed 1722, died 1732.
Thomas Brooke, Ll.D., appointed 1732, died 1758.
William Smith, D.D., appointed 1758, died 1787.
George Cotton, D.D., Ll.D., appointed 1787, died 1805.
Hugh Cholmondeley, B.D., appointed 1806, died 1815.
Robert Hodgson, D.D., appointed 1816, dean of Carlisle 1820.
Peter Vaughan, D.D., appointed 1820, died 1825.
Edward Copleston, D.D., appointed 1826, bishop of Llandaff 1827.
Henry Phillpotts, D.D., appointed 1828, bishop of Exeter 1830.
George Davys, D.D., appointed 1831, bishop of Peterborough 1839.
Frederick Anson, D.D., appointed 1839, died 1867.
John Saul Howson, D.D., appointed 1867, died 1885.
John Lionel Darby, D.D., appointed 1886, died 1919.
Frank Selwyn Macaulay Bennett, D.D., appointed 1920, resigned 1937.
Norman Henry Tubbs, D.D., appointed 1937, resigned 1953.
Michael McCausland Gibbs, M.A., appointed 1954, died 1962.
George William Outram Addleshaw, M.A., B.D., appointed 1963, resigned 1977.
Thomas Wood Ingram Cleasby, M.A., appointed 1978.
The design of the chapter seal has remained unchanged since 1541, though it is probable that a new matrix of the reverse was made after the Restoration, in the time of Dean Bridgeman. (fn. 163) The seal is round, the obverse 8.7 cm. in diameter and the reverse 8.4 cm. The obverse shows Christ appearing to the Virgin Mary, who kneels at a desk upon which is an open book. There is a building in the background. A scroll is lettered, in roman, SALVE SANCTA PARENC. Legend, roman: SIGILLUM COMUNE CATHEDRALIS ECCLESIE XPI ET BEATE MARIA [sic] CESTRIE 1541. The reverse shows Henry VIII seated on a throne, holding the orb and sceptre, between two saints. There are two kneeling figures below the king's feet, and the letters D, HB, and C. Legend, roman: . . . DEI GRACIA . . .