19th Century Restoration

cathedral1During the nineteenth century the population of Bangor increased rapidly, and several attempts were made to provide more seating capacity in the Cathedral and also cater for the English immigrants. Dean James Vincent (1862-76) commissioned Sir George Gilbert Scott, the leading architect of the day, for a radical restoration. Scott described his scheme as a departure from the conservative treatment he usually advocated.

On his advice it was decided to restore or partially reconstruct the quire, transepts and chapter house ‘in such a style as is indicated by their few remaining fragments’. He found sufficient bases of the fourteenth century crossing arches and capitals to reconstruct the crossing; sufficient fragments of window frames and tracery to reconstruct the transept windows of Bishop Anian’s day; and sufficient fragments of masonry to enable him to reconstruct the fourteenth century buttresses on the south transept and east end.

Scott was able to provide only the stump of a tower, rising about 18 inches above the ridge of the roof, in the hope that money to complete the design would become available at a later date. When money was eventually provided in the 1950s, engineers doubted whether even a modified spire could be built, owing to subsidence.

In 1966 – 67 the stump of Scott’s central tower was finished off with battlements, a pyramidical cap and a tall weather cock.