Hidden Treasures: Volunteers needed
New Dean for Rochester Cathedral
He said, “I feel it is an enormous privilage to have been asked to be Dean at this time. The Cathedral faces enormous challenges and I am confident that together under God we can meet them. I have been truly humbled by the warmth of support I have received during my time as Acting Dean, and by the confidence and trust that others have placed in me. It is important to remember that no one is an island and it is only together that we can be what God wants us to be. Each of us has been called to serve in various ways and to make a difference. I look forward to continuing the bonds of friendship that have already been forged over many years, and building upon them for the greater good of the community and the furtherance of the kingdom of God.”
The Right Reverend James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester said, “I warmly welcome the news that Canon Philip Hesketh is to be the next Dean of Rochester. Phil was nominated to the Crown for this post through a full and open process, during which he demonstrated his capacity to lead the Cathedral community in the next phase of its life. Phil is already well-known to the Cathedral and wider community, not least through his recent time as Acting Dean. I assure him of my prayers as he prepares to move into the substantive post, and I look forward to working closely with him in the years to come.”
Textus Roffensis Online
Rochester Cathedral's World Firsts
In partnership with the The University of Manchester Library’s Image Collections, Rochester Cathedral has, for the first time, made the greatest treasure in its Library available online in its entirety. The Textus Roffensis is the only existing copy of the first code of English law and was written in Rochester during the early 1120s. It has been described as one of the most important documents in English history. This manuscript, written in Old English and Latin, is hugely important in the history of English law and language and is believed to have influenced the wording of the Magna Carta of 1215 and, later, the American Declaration of Independence of 1776. Historian and television presenter, Michael Wood, who has supported the project, says that the Textus is of ‘supreme importance...one of the few crucial works in the history of the civilization of the British Isles.’
Included in the Textusis an account of ceremonies of ordeal for testing innocence using red-hot irons, boiling water and a terrible curse in which the wrong-doer is cursed by the Holy Trinity, archangels and angels; he is cursed living or dying, working or resting, and every part of his body is cursed down to his toes nails!
The Cathedral has digitised another unique manuscript, the Custumale Roffensis, which is now available online for the first time. Written in Latin in about 1300, it tells, not only, of the Priory’s lands and income, but also details the domestic arrangements of the Monastery at Rochester. This manuscript throws light on the services and bell ringing of the Cathedral and, together with descriptions of services and the duties of senior officials, and vergers, we are told of the bakers, porters, brewers, cooks tailors and laundrymen, even of the arrangements for the stabling of horses! The title page of the book carries a warning: ‘Whoever shall alienate or fraudulently destroy this title, or diminish the rights of the monks contained in the same, let him have his portion with Judas, the traitor...So be it. Amen.’
We must not let this place fall silent.
Music is our single largest expense but we cannot sustain or develop it further if we don't take action now. It costs £220,000 each year to ensure the continuity of Rochester's choral tradition, so we have established a Music Endowment to ensure that music will continue to ring out from within these walls far into the future.