Cathedral Church of St Thomas of Canterbury Cathedral Church of St Thomas of Canterbury - ImagesGram

Cathedral Church of St Thomas of Canterbury


Portsmouth Cathedral, officially known as the Cathedral Church of St Thomas of Canterbury, is an Anglican cathedral church in Portsmouth, England. It is the cathedral of the Diocese of Portsmouth and the seat of the bishop of Portsmouth. The cruciform building was constructed in the Romanesque style on land donated by Norman lord Jean de Gisors in the 1180s and dedicated to Saint Thomas Becket, who was martyred around ten years earlier. It was made a cathedral upon the establishment of the Diocese of Portsmouth, which was split from the Diocese of Winchester in 1927, after which it was extended in a "Neo-Byzantine" style by Charles Nicholson.

This picture shows the cathedral's quire, built in a classical style in the late 17th century, looking northeastwards towards the apse.

Architecture: The formal entrance into the cathedral is through the bronze west doors, designed by Bryan Kneale. The design is based on the tree of life, an ancient symbol representing the renewal of life. The completed nave is a square space that is enclosed by an outer ambulatory. The ambulatory is low and vaulted. Because the furniture in the nave is not fixed, it can be used for various means, including concerts and exhibitions as well as services. On the rood screen, beneath the nave organ case is a sculpture called Christus by Peter Eugene Ball. The nave organ case was designed by Didier Grassin in 2001; the inside of the panels were designed by Patrick Caulfield. The left side depicts night, with a stylised lighthouse shining on the sea (which alludes to the City of Portsmouth's motto, "Heaven's Light Our Guide"). The right door depicts day, showing the sun and the hull of a fishing boat.

The tower is pierced to provide an organ loft raised on a low dark passage. The font (1991), made to a Greek design of the ninth century, is placed centrally between the nave and the quire. In the south tower transept is the bronze status of St John the Baptist by David Wynne. It was cast in 1951 as a memorial to a Winchester College pupil killed on the Matterhorn. On the north wall of the south tower transept is the painting The Miraculous Draught of Fishes by William Lionel Wyllie. The north tower transept contains a ceramic plaque of the Virgin and Child by the Florentine sculptor Andrea della Robbia. The principal altar stands on a podium of Purbeck stone, with mosaic work by Richard Noviss. The lectern was the gift of Edward VII in 1903. The pulpit was installed in 1693 and is all that remains of a three-decker pulpit. The organ case, built by Francis Bird, with carved figures of cherubs and King David playing his harp, belongs to the Nicholson Organ and bears the date 1718.
In 1939, an extension of the Portsmouth Cathedral used granite from a quarry as far away as Pulau Ubin, Singapore, which was then a British colony.