Minecraft Maps / 3D Art

English Gothic Cathedral

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ConfuseACat avatar ConfuseACat
Level 46 : Master Engineer
English Gothic Cathedral

Hey folks. Here's something I built a few years ago and have modified a few times since. It's a cathedral built largely in the English Gothic style - with other influences seeping in over the course of the build. This is from the days back before I became an addicted shipbuilder!

If it looks familiar that's because I posted it to Minecraft Forums back when I built it. I'm still proud of the build and so I thought it was about time I uploaded it here as well. 

How was it done?

It started out in single player survival in spring 2012. As I was building it I was sharing progress pics with my gaming community, and they suggested putting it in the new map that they were setting up for our server. So, about halfway through the build it went from SSP to SMP. No real changes other than the fact that I had it protected by worldguard to stop griefers and creepers alike from putting any dents in it. Also the spot that the admin chose to put it was rather flatter than my single player map, so I was saved quite a lot of landscaping that I would have needed to do otherwise.

All of the resources were collected legit by either myself or other players on the server – the vast majority by me. I traded with other players for maybe 30 stacks of stone. It was handy since I was building with a lot of stone and they were tunnelling out an underground base. Everybody wins!

Every block in the original build was placed by hand by me. It took about three months overall, finished sometime in the summer 2012. And I have to say I got immense satisfaction out of doing this on survival. On the other hand I’d probably have been able to do at least 5 builds of this size in the same amount of time if I’d been using creative.

Since finishing it off I downloaded the map and used WorldEdit to drop it into a creative superflat map. Partly because on the server map it was a bit sunken in the terrain – a leftover from when it was pasted in there in the first place - and I thought that obscured some of the lower parts for screenshot purposes. I also planned on messing about with the height limit and adding spires, but that never happened.

Since 'finishing' the build originally, stained glass was introduced to the vanilla game. I've gone back and modified it in creative to use stained glass panes on the appropriate windows, creating my own medieval stained glass textures.

The Architecture

So, architecture. I love gothic architecture. I’ve seen a huge number of cathedrals built in minecraft, but that didn’t put me off at all since they’re stunning buildings and I really wanted to have a go at building one. 

Most cathedral builds I’ve seen tend to fall into three categories. There are those that are massively over the top and fantastical. There are the ones which generally look like they’re meant to be realistic cathedrals, but don’t particularly follow any real life examples. Then there are the ones that are pretty faithful recreations of real life buildings or styles – and that’s nearly always been French Gothic. It’s a popular style among Minecrafters.
But I’m English, and I’ve grown up near cathedrals in the English Gothic style.

The differences are thus-

French Gothic tends to put most of the emphasis on the vertical. The cathedrals are fairly compact, but the vaulting tends to be high – 35 to 40m above the floor. The western front nearly always has a pair of towers, a rose window and prominent position for the three portals. The transepts don’t project very far, usually only as far as the aisles. The east end is usually rounded or polygonal, with an ambulatory of chapels radiating outwards.

See: Reims, Paris, Amiens, Chatres, Metz

English Gothic puts much more emphasis on the horizontal. Because of this, the vaulting tends to be more in the 25 to 30m range, considerably lower than the French. But on the other hand, English Cathedrals tend to be much longer. They sprawl across their sites, with incredibly long naves and strongly projecting transepts. The western front usually has the pair of towers, but doesn’t have the same prominence on the portals. Any windows on the facade are lancet style rather than rose. The eastern end is often square, with a large floor to ceiling window. But probably the most noticeable difference from the French is the large tower over the central crossing. This is normally much higher than the two towers of the west front, and marks a cathedral as distinctly English.

See: Lincoln, York, Canterbury, Wells, Salisbury

So, I set out to build something in the English Gothic style. Since I’m from Lincolnshire, I’ve been fortunate to see Lincoln cathedral many times, and it is truly magnificent, so no doubt it’s been my main inspiration. I’ve also lived in Durham, and Durham Cathedral is also lovely. Even though it’s built in a Romanesque/Norman style rather than Gothic, it’s the finest example of Romanesque I’ve ever seen, and the layout is still typically English.

My own design worked out larger than most real life examples, partly through coincidence and partly because, well, go big or go home, right? So, it’s actually turned out that although I set out to do something purely English Gothic, some French influence has worked its way in as well. My layout and three tower design are very English, but my vaulting is more like 45m – closer to the more ambitious French designs like Beauvais and Amiens than it is to any English Cathedrals. Because of this high vaulting, I have far more extensive systems of buttresses than are usually seen in English cathedrals, and actually more than is usually seen in the French. After all, I don’t want my ambitious high vaulting to collapse on me, do I? That was the problem that they had at Beauvais.

My west front combines influences of both. The towers, I think, resemble the ones at Lincoln, but on the other hand the three portals are quite prominent and I’ve used a rose window – two distinctly French elements which give my West Front a fairly French feel overall.

One could say that I’ve combined the most ambitious measurements of both styles.


I'd recommend you use a nice realistic resource pack with good stone and stone brick textures. My preferred textures which I used for the build, are KDS Photorealism, which is unfortunately defunct.

The stained glass uses my own textures which I created from real life stained glass windows and called "Medieval Glass HD". It's highly recommended for viewing this, and is available in 256x, 128x, 64x and 32x resolutions.

Link: Medieval Glass HD

All exterior images are Chunky renders. For the interior, the renders would have taken forever with the light emitters, so instead those are screenshots with SEUS shaders. Textures are a combination of KDS Photorealism, Faerielight and Medieval Glass HD.


Please feel free to use this cathedral in any way you wish so long as you credit me as the original builder. If you use it, I'd also love to see what you're doing with it, so please do post here or pm me.
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02/25/2020 3:44 am
Level 1 : New Miner
Captainpeanut946 avatar
Wow, amazing Work!!! The place looks great and I can not wait to see more of your work!!
I am thinking of creating something like it, but re-designing it.
02/13/2016 1:07 pm
Level 9 : Apprentice Network
SteamFan avatar
I wonder if a castle could be made with the west towers...
Nice build man!
01/27/2016 6:01 pm
Level 63 : High Grandmaster Senpai
GrayRemnant avatar
Outstanding work, my friend!
02/09/2016 1:11 pm
Level 46 : Master Engineer
ConfuseACat avatar
Thanks, sir!
01/25/2016 1:30 pm
Level 4 : Apprentice Miner
Mizukami avatar
In survival? good job!
02/09/2016 1:11 pm
Level 46 : Master Engineer
ConfuseACat avatar
Cheers! It was back a few years ago when I had a lot more free time than I do now. It took a long time, but it was immensely satisfying.
01/24/2016 5:26 pm
Level 54 : Grandmaster Batman
C0smicCow avatar
I love the english feel of the build. You really found a way to capture the differences between that and french gothic.
02/09/2016 1:10 pm
Level 46 : Master Engineer
ConfuseACat avatar
Thanks. I think that getting the right 'feel' in the architecture was one of the trickiest parts, so its' great to hear that it worked. :)
01/24/2016 2:15 pm
Level 36 : Artisan Engineer
Rashneish avatar
Looks incredible, great job!
02/09/2016 1:05 pm
Level 46 : Master Engineer
ConfuseACat avatar
Thanks very much. :)
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