Monuments in Bradford Cathedral

16th Century tower of Bradford Cathedral.

Bradford Cathedral was once St Peter, Bradford’s Parish Church, enlarged in the mid-20th Century after it achieved Cathedral status following World War I. The oldest part is the nave, with arcading of the 14th Century, and the tower is of the late 15th/early 16th Century. It is this tower which, low though it is, can be seen from some considerable distance and vantage from across the city, a mellow-coloured, buttressed and crocketed thing with a double pair of Gothic windows on each side. The view from close by is mostly of the 1950s extension, widening and lengthening the church. The porch however is early 19th Century. The small churchyard is atmospheric: many monumental slabs laid flat to form a pavement, with a few still standing. An interesting time can be had perusing thsee lain-down slabs, most of which are in clearly cut script, and date from the 18th Century, with a few from earlier.

The pavement of gravestones, and a 17th Century example.

Inside the impression is of length and height of the nave, the roof being a wooden construction of the 18th Century, though the various little angels forming corbels are mid-Victorian. The modern part, especially to the rear of the altar, is well done, but spare, plain and clean, and hopefully the next century or so will see the emplacement of lots more monuments and antiquities than it has at present.

The oldest relic in the Cathedral is a small piece of Saxon cross set into a wall. This is rare enough that it needs to be seen despite its fragmentary state. It shows the usual carved scrolling with loops over and under, but not enough to see a whole design. But we are here to see the monuments, of which the Cathedral has a large collection, almost exclusively wall plaques. There are about 60 in all, about half of which are 18th Century – a very good spread – and most of the rest from the earlier 19th Century. The several 20th Century plaques are accompanied by war memorials and a few modern panels to various events. Features of the collection are eight or nine ‘obelisk monuments’, thus with the upper backing styled as a tall obelisk on which some element, typically a Greek pot on a base, is emplaced. There are a few monuments with nicely carved figures, and rather more with cherubic heads, carved drapery and plants, naturalistic and stylised. In terms of masons and sculptors, we can see examples both of several Yorkshire firms – which because of the importance of York are of more significance than most local schools of mason-sculptors – and a few by national names, including Scheemakers, Flaxman, Joseph Gott and Bacon the Younger. They are described, as usual on these pages, in date order.

18th Century Monuments

19th Century Monuments

20th Century Monuments and other items

As noted at the beginning, there are a number of other late 19th/20th Century items, of which we note the following:

Example of stained glass in the Cathedral, and two of the Pre-Raphaelite angels.

We should also notice the large coat of arms, heavily painted, against one wall. With carved lion and unicorn (for pictures of unicorns, including on coats of arms, see this page). Perhaps 18th Century? Also the font with its grand cover, with four carved saints.

The stained glass is good, and includes some work by William Morris and company; note particularly the characteristic Pre-Raphaelite angels (picture above).

With many thanks to the authorities at Bradford Cathedral for their kind permission to use pictures from inside the Cathedral; see their website at

Top of page

Introduction to Bradford // Bradford City Hall // Victoria Square statues

Angel statues // Cherub sculpture // Introduction to church monuments

Sculpture in England // Sculpture pages


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