After dinner I went to check of Saint Mary’s Cathedral with my dad. After looking at the architecture I announced that I thought it was built somewhere in the end of the 13th and during the 14th century but there was some definite 15th century architecture in there.
My dad didn’t think so but since I pride myself on history I pointed out all the awesome features :D
According to the internet I rock :
"St. Mary’s is by a long way the largest church in the county (saving, of course, St. Alban’s Cathedral). It is also one of the oldest churches in the entire country. A Benedictine Monastery was founded here in 792 AD by King Offa (he of Dike fame). This church was destroyed by fire in 910 and the Monks moved to St. Albans Abbey.
However, the church in Hitchin was rebuilt only to be partly destroyed by the “Great Wind” of 1115 and then almost entirely taken down by an earthquake in 1298.
Work began immediately on rebuilding the church and most of what can be seen today was built between 1300 and 1450. An underground tunnel linked the church with Hitchin Priory across the other end of town and the basements of the shop properties in Churchyard and Sun Street contain remains of this tunnel – one of the few instances of these tunnels being authenticated.
This new church was dedicated to St. Andrew, but became St. Mary’s in the late 15th Century due to the influence of the Guild of Our Lady which was very powerful in Hitchin.
Sadly most of the stained glass fell victim to wind, fire and Henry VIII. Cromwell’s men used part of the church as a prison during the Civil Wars, but Hitchin was obviously a Royal town as there is a sundial on the tower above the door which was placed there to mark the Restoration of Charles II in 1660.
Things to look out for around the church are any heart-shaped things which were placed there when James Herte was vicar and also the Thompson mouse carved on the altar rail – the trademark of Robert Thompson the famous “Mouseman of Kilburn” – a master carpenter from the 19th Century. “
The market place was lovely. The black and white Tudor buildings are stunning and I never tire of looking at their warped roofs. Sadly I forgot my camera and it was nightime so my own cellphone photos are rather creepy (especially since I lost interest in the Cathedraland generally spazzed about the cemetery.) so I found a good photo of the Cathedral in the daylight. I plan on coming back in about three weeks and looking at St. Albans so hopefully I can stop by St. Mary’s Cathedral again and look at the inside.