National Monuments Trust This is a National Monument of Brunant and as such may not be modified or dismantled. National Monuments Trust
Grijzestad Cathedral
Grijzestad cathedral
Location Grijzestad, Chester Parish
Type Mixed (3)
Selected 1923

The Grijzestad Cathedral is an old cathedral located in the Old Town of Grijzestad, Brunant. It is the most important church in the country, as seat of the Archdiocese of Grijzestad and its Gothic architecture makes it one of the most beautiful buildings in the country. It is a historic, cultural and architectural monument, protected by the National Monuments Trust. It was also the tallest building in Brunant from 1675 to 1966.


Early history and constructionEdit

Stained glass

Detail from a stained-glass window

Ceiling cathedral

The impressive cathedral ceiling

The cathedral's construction began in 1418 under the orders of local mayor Laurens van der Holdt. It was the first church in the town and it also served as a hospital in its early days. By the mid-15th century the church had outgrown its size and could not fit all the mass-goers. The church, which was made of wood, perished in the great Grijzestad fire of 1480 and most of the original artifacts were lost. King Leuvis I made a plan to rebuild the church to become the cathedral of Grijzestad. The construction, this time in stone, was begun in 1481. There were many issues and problems and there were no less than nine master masons and architects hired (and fired) during the process. Though not finished, the church was ready to be used by 1540. It was named the Goede Koning Leuviskerk (the Good King Leuvis Church), although the term Grijzestad Cathedral is now the official one.

Civil War and afterEdit

During the Brunanter Civil War, the cathedral was slightly damaged when miscalculated cannonballs fell through the roof and damaged part of the wall. Renovations began in 1665 and continued throughout the decade. It was decided in 1669 to add a bell tower and the work was modified and thus delayed. The cathedral was only fully finished in 1675 when the Gothic bell tower was completed. While in the 1780s the political capital was moved to Koningstad, the archdiocese seat was not moved, due to there being many more people in Grijzestad at the time. During the Invasion of Grijzestad, the cathedral only suffered minor damage. Many irreplaceable treasures were plundered and lost over time. After the war, the city began a restoration project (1949) but it was halted in 1951 due to a lack of funds. In 2011, the government of Chester Parish begin a plan to renovate the cathedral because parts of it were deteriorating. 12 million euros have been set aside for now. The renovation will be finished by 2020.


Since the 1550s, members of the Royal Family have been getting married there, including that of Karl Van Draak to Isabella of Parma in 1662. Most recently, it hosted the 2011 wedding of Prince Anthony and Lindsay Mansell.

Royal tombsEdit

Grijzestad Cathedral altar

The altar

The cathedral has, for many centuries, served as the resting place for many Kings and Queens of Brunant. The Kings buried at the mausoleum include Leuvis Van Damme, Leuvis II, Anders I, Willem I, Adrian I, Willem II and Marten I. Maria Amalia (the Six-day Queen) was re-buried here in 1907. Karl Van Draak and Isabella of Parma were originally buried here, but in 1800, they were exhumed and placed in the new Royal Mausoleum at the Realpaleis in Koningstad.

Visiting the cathedralEdit

Grijzestad Cathedral is opened Monday to Saturday for visiting, from 10:00-18:00. On holidays such as Easter, Pentecost and Christmas, the church is closed except for congregationists going to mass.

The entrance fee is a flat 9€, or a family fee of 35€.

List of bishops and archbishopsEdit

Brunant consisted of a single diocese under the bishop in Grijzestad until 1787, when it was elevated to an archdiocese.