“…you are fellow citizens of the saints and members of the household of God. You form a building which rises on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.” (Ephesians 2: 19-20)
The Cathedral Building
The Cathedral is built in the Gothic style, with limestone quarried on the spot. It features rib,like buttresses along the east and west outer walls, which you will find echoed on the inner north wall behind the Bishop’s throne. (Unlike most older cathedrals, this church is not oriented – that is to say. when facing the altar you are not facing east, but north.)
The arched windows and the pillars help to support the great weight of the slate (originally tin) roof. The pillars themselves are not of stone, but have a central core of a rough,hewn tree,trunk with wooden moulding around it. Their bases are plaster, and each pillar is supported by limestone blocks which you may see in the crypt. The original roof of English tin lasted for a hundred years, and was replaced fifty years ago by an asbestos shingle.
The major renovation of the fabric of the Cathedral started in 1987. The stonework had reached the point of presenting a danger to passers–by, and, when all that needed doing was attended to, the restoration was destined to cost $7,000,000 (the original cost of the Cathedralwas$30,000!), and to take six years. Many limestone blocks were replaced with carefully matched stone; one of the buttresses and much of the north wall had to be completely rebuilt. The asbestos shingles on the roof were replaced by slate at a cost of $600,000, some of which was raised by the purchase of slates by donors whose names, and those of family members, were inscribed on the underside of the slates.
The various alterations and additions to the Cathedral are described in what follows.