In a fascinating talk to the Vale of Evesham Historical Society on the evening of Thursday 26 May, Keith Cattell traced developments in the construction of cathedrals from the early days of Christianity to the present. He began by looking at the Roman basilica, the town hall of any ancient Roman settlement, which consisted of a rectangular hall with a semi-circular apse at one end, and which was the basic design of the earliest churches. The emperor Constantine’s church in Trier, Germany, constructed in the mid-fourth century, follows this pattern.

From this starting point, Keith traced the development of cathedral building, explaining where English and French designs diverged. (The French continued to use the semi-circular apse, for example, whereas English builders began to construct rectangular ends to their cathedrals.)

Keith laid emphasis on the problems encountered by the builders who proceeded basically by a process of trial and error using only the most primitive tools and equipment.

This talk concluded the 2015-2916 season. The new season will begin on the evening of Thursday 29 September when Dr Gillian White will be speaking on “Robert Dudley, Queen Elizabeth and the Kenilworth Entertainment of 1575”.

For more information visit the Society’s website: or contact the Secretary, Gerry Harte, on 01386 870665.