Rochester Cathedral, Kent

Rochester is the second oldest English Cathedral foundation. It was founded by St. Justus in AD 604. It was later given to the evangelist of the North, St. Paulinus, as compensation for being kicked out of York. The present building is a great mixture of architectural styles. The eastern end is transitional, while the nave is largely late Norman. The spire has had varied fortunes and was only rebuilt in 1904. The west front is a good example of restored Norman work with a beautiful, but much weathered, doorway and tympanum. Bishop Hamo's 14th century memorial doorway inside is also very fine. The cathedral was once well known as a pilgrimage centre and contained shrines to St. William of Perth, St. Paulinus and St. Ithamar. Apart from Paulinus, the most famous Bishops of Rochester were the Reformation martyr, John Fisher, and the Chancellor of England, Walter de Merton, who founded Merton College, Oxford and is buried in the north quire transept. The place is also associated with Charles Dickens who died in the area.

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