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Monday, 1 July 2013

Requiem highlight for cathedral concert

Brahms' Requiem is the highlight of an inaugural summer evening concert by the Ripon Cathedral Consort on Saturday 6 July.

The work will feature local baritone, Cardiff Singer of the World finalist, and cathedral lay clerk D'Arcy Bleiker and soprano Lynne Dawson whose engagements have included singing at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

World War Two memorial chapel opens for three special visitor days

North Yorkshire's tiny Scotch Corner Chapel and its unusual sculptures will be open to the public on three visitor days this year.

The chapel ... a memorial to those who fought during World War Two.
 Photo by Tessa Bunney.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Minster gets set to open doors on major new visitor attraction

York Minster and statue of influential Constantine
who shaped the city's history and spiritual reach.
The countdown is under way for the opening of a new visitor attraction at York Minster.

From Saturday 25 May, Revealing York Minster, the largest set within a cathedral in the UK, tells the story of the last 2000 years at the historic site, from the Romans to its modern day custodians.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Cathedral pulls out the stops for organ's accordion replacement April Fool

Ripon Cathedral ... hit a high note with
 its spoof accordion plans.
Did they fall for it or not? Readers of Ripon Cathdral's website might have been taken in by its April Fool yesterday which certainly pulled out all the stops for a laugh.

The cathedral's fine organ is due for a seven-month refurbishment which gets under way from next Monday (8 April) but it was claimed that the music department had come up with the ingenious solution of using an accordion accompaniment in the interim. The musical instrument would be complete with wi-fi and a small engine to allow it to be played outdoors.

As part of the joke, it was stated that the organists would be spending Easter taking a crash course in the instrument with Serbian virtuoso Dan Prvotravanjska.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Railway line heating system leaves congregation feeling warm and chuffed

A church that is once again being uniquely heated by an underground railway track with a bell tower as a chimney is to hold an open afternoon to celebrate the reinstatement of its Victorian system.

Pockley Church, in the North York Moors National Park, throws open its doors on Monday 8 April, from 2pm until 4pm, to celebrate the completion of a £3,500 project.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Photo call goes out to help put Minster visitors in the picture

Photos of past ceremonies
at York Minster are
needed for the display.
As work continues on a major visitor development at York Minster, a call has gone out to the public to help with a permanent exhibition.

The search is on for any photographs or images of weddings, christenings or other ceremonies at the Minster.

High resolution photos or images need to be sent to the minster team at by tomorrow (Tuesday 25 February).

The display is part of the new Minster Revealed visitor attraction being constructed in the Undercroft and set to open early this summer.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Orb's window art opens out on massive visitor boost at Minster

A striking metallic dome featuring five restored panels from the Great East Window is being credited for boosting visitors to York Minster by 44 per cent.

The Orb ... generating a buzz at the Minster.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Anglo Saxon saints in Evensong focus

Professor Joyce Hill.
The lives and experiences of the great saints of the northern kingdom of Anglo-Saxons come under the spotlight in Ripon Cathedral's Evensong sermons during Lent.

The services will focus on the saints who established Christianity in the north of England and who are commemorated in and around the cathedral.

Professor Joyce Hill, an international authority on Anglo-Saxon England and a member of the cathedral chapter, will preach for each of the five Sundays of Lent, beginning on 17 February with St Aiden and finishing on 17 March with St Wilfred.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Abbey has more than one literary habit

Whitby Abbey secures the number one and nine placings in a top ten of properties with literary connections compiled by English Heritage.

The write stuff ... the inspiring ruins of Whitby Abbey.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Cathedral hosts music star who is winning fans across the globe

Ripon Cathedral sits alongside venues in San Francisco and Sacramento as part of a tour by acclaimed international performing accordionist Paul Chamblerlain.

The lunchtime recital, on Thursday 31 January, is the only performance scheduled in the Yorkshire region during 2013. After six UK concerts in the UK, he heads off to California to complete the tour.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Cathedral remembers farming's key role

Ripon Cathedral holds its annual Plough Sunday on 13 January to celebrate local farming.

Bishop James Bell will lead the service at 2.30pm .

Dean of Ripon Keith Jukes said the annual services reflected the major contribution that those working on the land made to corporate and community life.

He added that the event, which is open to everyone, underlined the cathedral's desire to have a major focus on rural issues.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Archaeologists unearth Roman road section at York Minster

Archaeologists have unearthed a section of Roman road during work on a new visitor display area at York Minster.

The road is believed to have been a backstreet, part of the Via Quintana, running behind the Roman basilica under which the medieval minster now stands.

Work on the visitor displays in the undercroft has given archaeologists a rare opportunity to investigate the building's earliest layers of history.

Experts say the backstreet was used for hundreds of years and was frequently patched and repaired, falling into disuse at the same time as the basilica itself.

The Dean of York, the Very Reverend Vivienne Faull, said: “While it was not as grandly paved as the main streets of Roman York, you can imagine that this backstreet, situated as it was between the basilica and the praetorium, was exactly the kind of place where the real business of the Empire was done.

"It probably even witnessed the very first Christians on their way to worship.”

Ian Milsted, lead archaeologist, from York Archaeological Trust, said: “Before this, there had been no archaeological excavations at York Minster for over 40 years, so it’s a huge privilege to be revealing pieces of the past in such an iconic building, all of it contributing to our picture of life in ancient York."

The discovery will allow further analysis of the remains found in previous excavations.

The Roman road is just one of the many stories about York Minster’s ancient past, which will be revealed in February when the archaeological analysis on all of this year’s excavations is released.  A series of special events and activities is also planned as part of the Jorvik Viking Festival, in partnership with the trust.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Angel Dinner boosts cathedral campaign

The success of this year's Angel Dinner at Ripon Cathedral has prompted organisers to schedule next year's event already for Friday 27 September.

This year’s candlelit dinner — the tenth — saw 320 guests enjoying a four-course meal in the Nave while listening to the cathedral choir.

The event is a major fund raiser and proceeds of £15,500 from this year's event will go towards the cathedral's repairs and renewals campaign.

Further information about next year's occasion are available by contacting Margaret Hammond, tel: 01765 603583 or email

Monday, 19 November 2012

Church history lovers will be 'appy

A new mobile phone app will allow visitors to explore York's city centre churches in a new way.

he innovation will be launched in time for the St Nicholas Fayre.
Created by the University of York’s Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture, the app is designed to encourage visitors of all ages to explore the rich life and history of York’s places of worship.

The ecumenical project will link all the churches inside the city walls – and those just outside – within a map-based app.

The Revd Jane Nattrass, priest-in-charge of the York City Centre Churches, said: “We are pleased that so many churches have come together to make use of the app technology which can be used in church, on the move or in schools.

"York churches have many treasures which add to the life of the city. The apps will provide opportunities to explore the stories from history and contemporary Christianity.  Asking people to switch on their smart phones in church will be a first.”

The app will be previewed on Tuesday (20 November) by Louise Hampson from the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture at All Saints Pavement to representatives from the churches involved and project funders.

She said: “Churches hold much of the nation’s history and spiritual and artistic heritage, so it is vital we find new ways to help people of all ages and backgrounds explore and enjoy these wonderful buildings and their stories.

“Each of the twenty-three churches in York is being provided with a 'landing page' — a snappy summary of what and who they are. In addition, GPS technology will enable the user to find some of York’s less well-known treasures by telling them when they are near to a building which may be slightly off the main streets. They can also mark on their map the sites they have visited.”

Over the next eighteen months, clicking on any of the nine churches involved in the first phase of the project will open a plug-in in the app which will tell that church's individual story in more depth and showcase the church's current life and work. For each church there will be a panoramic view of the interior with key features highlighted and explained.

The first three plug-ins, for All Saints Pavement, St. Olave's and the United Reformed Church, are already complete and will be available in time for the popular St Nicholas Fayre on 29 November. Over the next few months, more plug-ins will be added.  Once downloaded, the app will automatically update as new content becomes available.

Louise added: “We also have plans to add pages for churches no longer in use as places of worship, many of which have fascinating stories to tell. In addition, we are adding pages for 'lost' churches, such as St Maurice's and Christchurch King's Square, which have  disappeared but which have left tantalising traces in street names, gravestones or old photographs.”

The project has received funding from a local trust and practical support from York's City Centre Churches Care and Development Trust.

The York City Centre Churches app will be available to download for both Apple iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices from Tuesday 27 November. Search for York Churches  in Google play and the Apple Appstore.

York festival explores world faiths

York’s fourth annual Interfaith Week gets under way today in locations across the city.

The programme of activities forms part of the city's 800 celebrations and is part of a national scheme which aims to increase awareness of different faith communities and strengthen relations.

York Interfaith Group has organised the event which is supported by the city council.

York Explore Library Learning Centre will host an exhibition on Thursday (22 November). The Faith Day event will display and discuss all of the religions. To round up the week, the organisers will invite people to bring and share a dish at a meal on Monday 28 November at the centre from 7pm-9pm.

The programme also includes celebrating the Hindu festival of Diwali at York St John University and an open day at the city's mosque. There is also the opportunity to watch the dances from the Kerala region on the south west coast of India, at York Minster. The dance is set to a 19th century lullaby and will be followed by a question and answer session.

Councillor Sonja Crisp, cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, said: “The festival is a great opportunity to learn about different faiths in events across York. The fact that the week is in its fourth year shows its success and we are delighted that it is part of the York 800 celebrations. The wide range of events offers residents cultural scope whilst embracing and learning about a range of faiths.”

For information on all the events in Interfaith Week, visit and

Monday, 5 November 2012

Cathedral gift and food fair set to be bigger and better

Ripon Cathedral's gift and food fair will be even bigger and better when it's held on Saturday 24 November between 10am and 4pm.

The event will feature more stalls inside with additional ones set up in the Old Deanery Hotel, across the Minster Road. More than a hundred stalls are being set up.

Organisers are promising a wonderful atmosphere, seasonal music from local musicians, turkey sandwiches, mulled wine and Santa in his grotto.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Windows booklet brings a touch of glass to cathedral's history fans

Ripon Cathedral story for
The beauty of Ripon Cathedral's glass windows prompts many questions from visitors, according to its team of guides.

With this in mind, a group of volunteers has been studying the windows in depth during the past year.

Their research is printed in a new summary – Glory in Glass – with brief notes on each of the windows, mixed in with Ian Stalker’s photographs of some of the most significant details. The colour booklet is now available from the giftshop at £3.

And the team is working on a supplement Looking through Glass which will set out everything the volunteers have discovered..

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Coastal town's dignitaries welcome Good Luck Lama

He's known as the Good Luck Lama and he's been visiting Scarborough.

World famous Tibetan Lama and meditation master Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche arrived in the coastal town  to discuss plans to open a meditation centre for health and world peace, and for the prevention and treatment of stress, at Londesborough Lodge in the Crescent.

It is the first time a Tibetan Lama of this status has visited the town.

He visited the Grade Two listed building, along with another property which is a possibility for the centre.

He spoke to a packed house at the town’s Crown Spa Hotel and took tea with the Mayor of Scarborough, councillor Helen Mallory, and councillors Tom Fox and Bill Chatt.

Lama Yeshe last week initiated a similar project on the shores of Loch Ness which local businesses welcomed as it would bring tourists to the area.

Lama Yeshe said: “We have many centres, and everyone has been very welcoming. People visit our centres from around the world. The Scarborough centre would be a place of healing – we can offer something that is missing.”

Lama Yeshe said that Londesborough Lodge was on the verge of ‘falling apart’, and that the project would restore it to much of its original glory.

He added: “I bring a message of peace and harmony – they call me the Good Luck Lama.”

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Beauty of Minster window is revealed

York Minster has seen the completion of work on its North Quire pinnacles, allowing the conserved St William Window to be revealed for the first time in almost 15 years.

The window is one of the most important pieces of medieval stained glass in the world, illustrating the miracles of St William of York and was created by John Thornton around the start of the 15th Century. 

The acting dean and canon chancellor, the Reverend Glyn Webster, joined members of the minster's  stoneyard on the roof with a topping out ceremony to mark the completion.

Rebecca Thompson, superintendent of works, said: “This has been an interesting project over the last three years and in an area that not many people have had a chance to view the craftsmanship.”

Originally built in the late 14th Century, the pinnacles were renewed during the rebuilding of the Quire parapet walls in the early 1830’s following the 1829 fire, which destroyed the entire roof and damaged a substantial amount of the stonework.

When possible, original designs were copied; however, one of the new carvings features St William as he is depicted in the window. The project to clean and reveal the beauty of the window began in the 1990s.

Friday, 21 September 2012

More workers get opportunity to experience cathedral's Evensong

A move to allow more people to experience Evensong is one of the changes announced as part of a new vision for choral excellence at Ripon Cathedral.

On weekdays, Evensong will be at the later time of 6pm, allowing more people to experience the ancient service of words and music after work. Weekend Evensongs remain at 5.30pm.

The cathedral's thousand-year-old Choral Foundation begins a new chapter with a new vision developed after discussions with parents of existing choristers, nearly all of whom are continuing as choir members, after the closure of Ripon Cathedral Choir School.

There are places for up to 24 boy and 24 girl choristers who can be pupils from any school in Ripon and the surrounding area. The move opens the possibility of admission to the cathedral choir to many more children, especially boys who, formerly, all held scholarships to the Choir School.

Director of music Andrew Bryden said: “I’m delighted that the vast majority of choristers are able to stay in the choir, so, the choir we have from September is essentially made up of the voices we were expecting to have.”

The six existing professional lay clerks will continue to provide the choir’s adult voices, while Andrew Bryden and assistant director of music Edmund Aldhouse will manage and direct the choir as before.

The cathedral team says it will offer individual vocal and musical coaching to the same high standard as previously, as well as afterschool facilities for choristers and a new tea club for parents and siblings.

Cathedral Dean, the Very Reverend Keith Jukes said: “This fresh vision enables us to build on and, indeed, improve the cathedral’s standing as a centre of choral excellence.”