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Photo: Spectre Appears on Steps of Derry Cathedral

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Author Topic: Photo: Spectre Appears on Steps of Derry Cathedral  (Read 147 times)
Spectral Encounter
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Posts: 55

« on: September 05, 2009, 07:50:58 pm »

History of St. Columb's Cathedral

Named after St. Columcille, the Ulster monk who established a Christian settlement in the area before being exiled from Ireland and introducing Christianity to Scotland and northern England. The monastery was the foundation on which Derry was built, the cathedral was constructed between 1628 and 1633 and was the first Protestant cathedral in Britain or Ireland (all older ones were confiscated Catholic cathedrals). The original wooden steeple burnt down after being struck by lightning, while the second (a leaden and rounded replacement) was smelted into bullets and cannonballs during the Great Siege of 1689. The same fate did not befall the cathedral itself, as it was designed to double as a fort with 6-inch- thick walls and a walkway for musketeers to shoot from the spire. The porch still holds the mortar shell that delivered the terms of surrender directly to the courtyard. The roughly hewn stone interior holds an exquisite Killybegs altar carpet, an extravagant bishop’s chair dating from 1630, and 214 hand-carved Derry-oak pews, of which no two are the same.

A small museum in the chapter house at the back of the church displays the original locks, along with keys of the four main city gates and other relics. The tombstones lying flat on the ground in the graveyard outside were leveled during the siege to protect the graves from Jacobite cannonballs. The small Mound of Martyrs, in the back left corner toward the walls, contains the 5000 dead previously buried in the cellars of the nearby houses, transplanted here during the city’s redesigning efforts.

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