Churches and Cathedrals play a major role in the social life of England. In addition to being places of worship, they also serve as important landmarks for major historical events. They reflect the customs and traditions of the English as many of them have been standing there for several centuries. They also serve as a center of religious unity and Christians from all sections visit churches on Sunday to worship the Almighty. This also serve as a regional gathering and evokes a sense of unity among the people when they are all gathered together. Both the unity and the devotion helps them in maintaining a peaceful and harmonious social and personal life.
Churches and Cathedrals have been of prime importance in the United Kingdom for several centuries now. English Cathedrals can be traced back to a period of 400 years whereas the oldest English church is more than 1300 years old. The oldest English church was built in the year 654 A.D. whereas the oldest surviving parish church was constructed in 670 A.D.
Three types of churches were built in the olden days. They were “The Cathedral Churches”, “The Collegiate Churches” and “The Local Churches”. As per the system of hierarchy the Cathedrals were of the highest authority and were described as the mother churches whereas the collegiate churches were under the second level and were also referred as daughter churches. Finally, there were the local churches which were private in organization and were organized by bishops or by an association of parishioners. The parish churches were usually built and maintained by the Lords.
IMPORTANT CHURCHES AND CATHEDRALS:
Here is a list of some of the important churches and cathedrals in England:
- Barking Baptist Church at Barking
- Christ Church, Thames View at Barking
- Congregational Church at Dagenham
- Harmony Christian Centre at Dagenham
- Hartley Brook Church at Dagenham
- Potter’s House at Dagenham
- St. Alban at Becontree
- St. Chad at Chadwell Heath
- St. Mark at Mark’s Gate
- St. Vincent at Becontree
- Tree of Life Church at Becontree
Most of the Churches were constructed in the shape of a cross. There was a large rectangle with two side rooms. Usually, a tall tower was also present on the west. The other shapes commonly used for constructing churches were circle, octagon, etc. The roof was mostly in the shape of a dome.
The churches were well furnished for sitting. The place was very large so as to accommodate many people since this was the main purpose of a church. The churches consisted of statues or portraits of Jesus.
Since medieval times, United Kingdom was known all over the world for its churches and cathedrals. Many British Empires were influenced by the church in the past. It also resulted in the downfall of a few empires. Even today, Churches and Cathedrals have direct or indirect influence in the English society. Thus, they have always held an important place in the social and political fabric of England though their influence has reduced a bit in modern times.