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Leicester Cathedral, or the Cathedral Church of St Martin, Leicester is a Church of England cathedral in the Englishmarker city of Leicestermarker, and the seat of the Bishop of Leicester. It is the fourth smallest Anglican cathedral in England.


A church dedicated to St Martin has been on the site for about a thousand years, being first recorded in 1086, when the older Saxon church was replaced by a Norman one. The present building dates to about that age, with the addition of a spire, and various restorations throughout the years. Most of what can be seen today is a Victorian restoration by architect Raphael Brandon. The cathedral of the former Anglo-Saxon diocese of Leicester was on a different site.

A memorial stone to King Richard III is located in the chancel of the church. He is not actually buried there, having been originally buried in the Greyfriars Church in Leicester. According to local tradition his corpse was exhumed under orders from Henry VII and cast into the River Soarmarker.

The church was elevated to a Collegiate Church in 1922, and made a cathedral in 1927, following the establishment of a new Diocese of Leicestermarker in 1926.

The East Window was installed as a monument to those that died in World War I. Its traditional style and masterful use of reds sets the whole cathedral ablaze with light in the mornings. The highest window contains a sun-like orb with cherubs radiating away from it. In the centre Jesus sits holding a starry heaven in one hand with one foot on a bloody hell. Surrounding Jesus are eight Angels whose wings are made from a red glass. To the far right stands St Martin, who stands on the tail of a dragon. The dragon goes behind Jesus and can be seen re-emerging under the feet of St George who stands on its head. On the bottom row can be seen from left St Joan of Arc, Mary, Jesus with crying angels, Mary Magdalene, James and finally St Martin of Tours. A World War I soldier can be found in this window.

The cathedral has had a major interior and exterior tower and spire restoration from 2004 to 2005. The main work was to clean and replace any weak stonework with replacement stone quarried from Tyne Valley. The cost was up to £600,000, some of which was donated by the English Heritage and the public.

Leicester Cathedral has close links with Leicester Grammar Schoolmarker located directly next to it. Morning assemblies take places each week on different days depending on the school's year groups, and services are attended by its pupils.

The cathedral bells

The tower of the cathedral has 13 bells (including a peal of 12). These can be heard on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings, with pealsmarker being rung on special days. The tenor bell weighs 25-0-20. List of inscriptions in notes:


The organ

The organ was installed by J. W. Walker & Sons Ltd in 1873 and since then has been rebuilt by Harrison and Harrison in 1929 and 1972. A specification of the organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register.

The organists

Year instated Name
1927 Gordon Archbold Slater
1930 George Charles Gray
1969 Peter Gilbert White
1994 Jonathan Gregory (formerly organist of St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfastmarker)

Assistant organists

  • Frederick William Dickerson
  • Dennis Arnold Smith 1918 - 1932
  • Stanley Vann 1931 - 1933 (later organist of Peterborough Cathedralmarker)
  • Thomas Bates Wilkinson 1933 - 1938
  • Wallace Michael Ross 1951 - 1954 (later organist of Derby Cathedralmarker)
  • Sidney Thomas Rudge 1955 - ????
  • Geoffrey Malcolm Herbert Carter 1973 - 1994
  • David Cowen 1995 - 1999
  • Simon Headley 1999 - current

See also


External links

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