Support from The Friends of Rochester Cathedral
We are very grateful to The Friends of Rochester Cathedral who have advised us of funding for two significant projects in the Cathedral.
The first is the Tudor Gate which is positioned in the railings enclosing the Cloister Garth to the south of the Cathedral and is badly in need of conservation and repair. The door frame is believed to be late 15th or early 16th century. We are also very grateful to the Ironmongers' Company who have very kindly agreed to fund the new wrought iron gate.
The second project is the Cathedral clock which has sadly lost it's chime and needs a substantial amount of work to them to be restored. It will also be given a full overhaul. We look forward to proceeding with both these projects, the value of which are £28,510.
The tower clock at Rochester Cathedral has been put out of commission this week (25th January 2011) so that work, financed by the Friends of Rochester Cathedral, can be undertaken by clock engineers Gillett and Johnston. The works will cover a range of items but fundamentally the clock and bell hammers will be removed to the Gillett and Johnston workshops for an overhaul, clean up and repairs.
The clock workings will be off site for approximately 8-10 weeks but the face of the clock will remain and the hands will be positioned at 12 o’clock. While it’s in the workshop it will be rebuilt and monitored . The moving parts and bell hammers will be thoroughly cleaned and any parts that are in bad shape will be replaced. The clock will be re-built and returned to site and reinstalled.
The three motors that drive the clock will also be replaced by gear driven motors that run more efficiently; the current motors date back to the early 70’s and they contain mercury so they need to be removed. Each motor has a different role to play with in the operation of the clock. One motor winds the clock up – the clock is still mechanically driven by its original method and if it wasn’t for this motor someone would have run up to the tower once a week to wind the clock up. One motor winds the springs for quarter chimes and the final motor winds the springs for the hourly strike.
When the clock returns and is up and running the quarterly and hourly strike of the bells will again be operational and make a very welcome return. The chimes have been greatly missed over Rochester. The night silencer will also be re-instated – this is a separate unit that stops the bells from ringing over night. In addition a pendulum regulator will be fitted to the clock. This is remotely controlled and will ensure that the clock keeps accurate time.
Unfortunately the Cathedral does not have enough funding available at the moment for any work to the dial of the clock which means the actual hands on the three faces will not be removed. This would cost a further £5,000 plus scaffolding charges, so the funding search is ongoing.
The funders of this project, The Friends of Rochester Cathedral, play a very important role in maintaining the fabric of the Cathedral. Chairman, Mr Bob Ratcliffe said, “We are delighted to be able to fund this project and I am looking forward to hearing the bells ring out over the City after a long period of silence”.
Southern Water Services Limited supports Rochester Cathedral
Rochester Cathedral derives its special character from the quality of its medieval architecture (from c1080) and an exceptional collection of surviving medieval and later wall paintings, tomb monuments, ledger stones and floor surfaces.
We have a small chapel called the St John Chapel, or Oratory, which is set aside for quite prayer and reflection. It is used to remember those victims of human violence, throughout the ages and throughout the world. There is a replica of the Coventry Cross, which was famously made from the medieval nails of Coventry Cathedral when it was destroyed by bombing in WW11. The crucifix displayed in this chapel was found lying on the battlefield at Salamanca after Wellingtons troops defeated the French in 1822.
The tiles that make up the threshold pavement in this chapel are probably some of the oldest in England, and have survived since they were laid during the 13th century. In 2006 they were subject to a restoration project funded by the Friends of Rochester Cathedral, but since then they have degraded once more. We had a proposal for a conservation flooring system called “Eyemats” which is a rubber backed floor mat which has been photographically imaged to capture the patina of stone so that an exact replica of the floor is produced. By the use of the “Eyemats”, visitors can see the medieval floor and can walk over it to gain access to the chapel, but the surface is protected for the future.
Southern Water Services Limited have very kindly agreed to fund this project. Beverley Thompson, Senior PR Manager of Southern Water is very pleased to be working with the Cathedral and we look forward to working with her going forward. Thank you so much Southern Water!
An Evening with Peter Owen Jones
Peter Owen Jones is an Anglican clergyman based in Firle, East Sussex. He has presented many programmes for the BBC including “Around the World in 80 Faiths”, “How to Live a Simple Life” and “Extreme Pilgrim”. Peter is also an author and visited Rochester Cathedral on 8th February and lead an evening of readings and reflections based on his bestselling book, “Letters From an Extreme Pilgrim – Reflections on Life, Love and the Soul.”
Excerpt from the Sunday Times 31st December 2007
A pilgrim’s physical progress
Who’s the bravest vicar in Britain? My money’s on Peter Owen Jones. No typical sherry-sipper, this man started as a farm labourer and ran a mobile disco on the side. He then moved into advertising, but heard the Call and became vicar of a parish in Cambridgeshire.
Now, 15 years later, he feels that the Church of England is too much a faith of the head and not enough a faith of the soul. So he set off on a quest in search of a more physical and mystical path to enlightenment.
All surplus funds raised from the evening will go to support the Education Department's Family Fun Days in 2011.
King James Bible - 400th Anniversary
2011 is the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, a landmark moment for English speaking peoples all over the world. The year will see many lectures and events on the King James Bible, including BBC documentaries and the issue of a Royal Mail commemorative stamp.
We are marking the anniversary at Rochester Cathedral by a free lecture in the Nave on 2nd March at 7pm (see Special Events). From the beginning of the year, we will also have for sale special 400th anniversary facsimile editions of the King James Bible available from the Welcome Desk at £26.99.
Further information about the national celebrations can be found on www.kingjamesbibletrust.org.
Rochester Cathedral "Sponsor a Chair" Project
On Friday 28th August 2009, 900 of the Cathedral's old, worn-out chairs were replaced with new ones.
You can be part of this exciting project by sponsoring one or more of the new chairs.
Why are the new chairs necessary?
- They are stylish, elegant and remarkably comfortable
- our current chairs are uncomfortable and detract from the beauty of the cathedral
- They can be stacked and moved easily
- a busy cathedral needs flexible seating for different events and services
- They are hard-wearing
- the new chairs have stood the test of time in other cathedrals
- They are safe
- 2 recent fires in other cathedrals were caused by chairs catching fire
Unpacking the chairs
(Photograph courtesy of The Kent Messenger Group)
Each year Rochester Cathedral hosts 1,500 services and events. High-quality seating is a vital part of our hospitality to guests, visitors and worshippers. The Howe 40/4 is one of the most space-saving chairs on the market; it stacks 40 high in only 4 ft (hence the name), and complements the colour and texture of the cathedral's architecture with its elegant design. You will find it in a number of the UK's mediaeval cathedrals.
Sponsoring a chair is a lovely way of helping the cathedral, and at the same time marking the contribution of an individual or an organisation that is important to you. Each chair can bear a plaque with a name requested by the sponsor - this could be your own name or someone you wish to commemorate; it could be the name of a church or parish, a school, club, company, regiment, university, or any other form of organisation.
Each chair costs £150. If you would like to sponsor one or more chairs, please contact Rochester Cathedral Trust, Garth House, The Precinct, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1SX (01634 810074) email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Once sponsored, the chair remains the property of the cathedral and does not entitle the sponsor to any special admission or seating rights.
- The chairs are designed so that they may be moved and stacked when necessary. There is no undertaking to keep a sponsored chair in any part or position in the cathedral.
- While the chairs are expected to last for many years and every effort will be made to avoid damage, no guarantee can be given that any one chair will be in the cathedral for any specific period of time.
- The Dean and Chapter reserve the right to approve what may be inscribed on the plaque.
The Friends of Rochester Cathedral have very kindly contributed £50,000 towards this very expensive project, and our sincere thanks go to them for their continued support of our fund raising projects.