Bangor Cathedral

A little while back I paid a visit to Bangor Cathedral, North Wales. If you are ever in Bangor you might be confused and assume that the Gothic style building on the hill is the cathedral, but that’s actually part of the University.

Instead, the Cathedral is low-lying and inconspicuous, on a site that has been in use as a place of Christian worship since the 6th century, almost in the centre of town.

The site of Bangor Cathedral was originally occupied by St. Deiniol‘s monastery which was sacked in 634 and again in 1073. Nothing of the original building survives.

Bangor Cathedral

The earliest part of the present building was built between 1120 and 1139. Like many religious building of the time it was built in a cruciform shape in the Norman style, about 130 feet in length.

Bangor Cathedral

The church was badly damaged when King Edward I of England invaded Gwynedd in 1282, but later there was extensive rebuilding and the nave was rebuilt in the late 14th century. During the 15th century there was further extensive reconstruction, with further work being done during the 18th century.

Tiled Floor At Bangor

The building as seen today is the result of extensive work carried out under the supervision of Sir George Gilbert Scott begun in 1868. Scott’s design originally called for a high central tower and spire, but this was never completed as cracks appeared which were thought to indicate subsidence of the foundations. The tower was therefore left as a low structure.

14 thoughts on “Bangor Cathedral

  1. I can only think about the incredible workmanship that went into this cathedral. The photos are astounding. Such beauty. Wonder if Bangor, Maine in the Us got its name from here. I should look that up.


    1. Hi Yvonne, two sources on the net cite this is how Bangor in the US got its name

      The Rev. Seth Noble, who had arrived in 1786 from Wakefield, Mass., convinced his neighbors they should call their town Sunbury. Noble’s neighbors gave him the task of going to Boston to deliver the town’s petition.

      While waiting to present the petition in Boston, Noble — an organist and composer — began whistling one of his favorite tunes: “Bangor,” a Welsh hymn written by Tans’ur. In Welsh, “Bangor” means “high choir.” In Celtic, “Bangor” means “the white choir.”

      When a court official asked Noble what his town wanted to be called, Noble was caught off guard. Daydreaming, perhaps, Noble thought he’d been asked the name of the tune he’d been whistling. So instead of saying “Sunbury,” he said “Bangor.”

      And Bangor it was. On Feb. 25, 1791, the General Court approved Bangor, not Sunbury, for incorporation.

      Historians don’t know why Noble didn’t correct the court. Perhaps he decided the name of one of his favorite tunes sounded better than Sunbury.

      Nov 28 11, 2:40 AM



      1. Thank you Mike for all the info about Bangor, Maine. This is some of the most interesting history that I’v read in a very long time. I thinkl you should put it in a post. It would be some excellent reading. I honeslty believe that you should do a book with the really beautiful churches and cathedrals -would be marvelous for sure. Sort of like a coffee table book.


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