Saturday, and hey, hey it’s the weekend.
I felt as though the weather had kept me trapped in the house pretty much all week, so I wanted to go out.
Jools came back from work evening, saying that her old boss had visited Rochester Cathedral and said there is a fantastic art display of thousands of paper doves, and a huge table made from reclaimed 5,000 tree trunk found in a fen in Norfolk.
Yes, we would like some of that action, and as it has been three years since we were last there, seemed like a good idea.
In fact, at the beginning of March 2020, it was the first trip we took in the new Audi, and of course, two weeks later there was lockdown and deaths.
So, a trip back, at Easter, for a rebirth and to see some art and a huge table.
But first, shopping.
And being the start of the month, we get much more than usual, including wine to make sloe port and stuff for washing and cleaning.
Back home to put it all away and have breakfast and second coffee before heading out. Though because of Brexit-related delays in the port, we did have to leave through Guston and Pineham to get to the A2 as traffic through Whitfield was at a standstill.
Up the A2 to Faversham, then along the Motorway until we turned off just after the Medway bridge. It was later than we had hoped, but thought nothing of it, really.
But there was a food festival on near the caste, and all parking was full, we drove along the river thinking we would just give up, then following the sat nav back into town we find a tiny car park with spaces, and just a few minutes walk from the cathedral and castle.
As we drove past the parish church in Strood, I saw thatt he door was open: oh good.
On the way to the cathedral, we called into a café for breakfast. Second breakfast. Elevenses. I had a bacon butty and Jools had a panini, which hit the spot, meaning we were ready to go and mingle with people.
By the time we emerged, and walked along the High Street to the church, it was closed. So I took some shots of the outside, and then we headed for the bridge over the Medway, and before the Cathedral, there was the Bridge Chapel.
I had discovered from a fr
iend that the Bridge over the Medway at Rochester was owned, repaired and funded by a charity/trust, and had been this was pretty much from the 14th century.
Only the other shell of the Chantry Chapel of the Bridge now remains, but a new roof has been put on, and the chapel now used for meetings, and has a large wooden table filling most of the Chancel. I record the details, say thanks to the two friendly guides, and we finally walk to the Cathedral.
The food festival needed tickets to go in, it smelled good, and a band was playing poor Britpop numbers to entertain the thin crowds.
We entered the cathedral, and hit by the sight of over 10,000 paper doves, all lit with pink light, having over the Nave.
It was impressive.
As was the table, pushed to one side but half the length of the Nave, and made of two and three thick planks.
I went round taking shots of the stained glass with the big lens, whilst Jools sat and looked after the camera bag.
Despite it being a cool day, with my fleece on I was hot, so needed a drink, and along the old High Street was The George, and they showed us to the "garden", which was a huge tent filled with people, one party were loudly celebrating someone’s 40th birthday.
But our drinks were brought quickly, and being in the corner we could people watch, of course.
It was two, and time to go home. The traffic jams of earlier had melted away, so we walked to the car, turned out onto the main road out of town, to the motorway and home.
On the radio Citeh put 4 (four) past Liverpool, then all was about preparations for the main group of games.
We arrived back home at three, time for a brew and two hot cross buns each, and for me, listen to the footy on the radio, and hopeful that City’s late push to the play-offs would start today.
A 1-0 loss to Sheffield Utd, just one shot on goal, and the season is deader than flares.
I watched the evening game, Chelsea losing to Villa, whilst Craig returned on the radio and spun some funk and soul.
Rochester Cathedral has been transformed by ‘Peace Doves’ an artwork by Peter Walker Sculptor
Bringing a message of peace and hope, the Peace Doves artwork has been created from around fifteen thousand individually hand made paper doves, together they collectively form this beautiful artwork which as a whole reflects joining together in unity, peace and hope moving forward.
Peace Doves is an artwork that has been re-curated for different spaces as it tours the UK, adaptations have been seen in Liverpool, Lichfield, Derby, Sheffield and now at Rochester.
The Peace Doves project has incorporated educational engagement with many schools and community groups in the local area and each person has written individual messages of peace and hope onto each dove.
Throughout history the dove has been viewed as a symbol of peace in many different cultures. For example in Greek mythology the dove is a symbol of the renewal of life, and liturgically within the Bible the dove appears at the Baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan and in the teachings of Noah and the Ark as a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
The church is the cathedral of the Diocese of Rochester in the Church of England and the seat (cathedra) of the Bishop of Rochester, the second oldest bishopric in England after that of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The edifice is a Grade I listed building (number 1086423)
The Rochester diocese was founded by Justus, one of the missionaries who accompanied Augustine of Canterbury to convert the pagan southern English to Christianity in the early 7th century. As the first Bishop of Rochester, Justus was granted permission by King Æthelberht of Kent to establish a church dedicated to Andrew the Apostle (like the monastery at Rome where Augustine and Justus had set out for England) on the site of the present cathedral, which was made the seat of a bishopric. The cathedral was to be served by a college of secular priests and was endowed with land near the city called Priestfields.[a][b]
Under the Roman system, a bishop was required to establish a school for the training of priests. To provide the upper parts for music in the services a choir school was required. Together these formed the genesis of the cathedral school which today is represented by the King’s School, Rochester. The quality of chorister training was praised by Bede.
The original cathedral was 42 feet (13 m) high and 28 feet (8.5 m) wide. The apse is marked in the current cathedral on the floor and setts outside show the line of the walls. Credit for the construction of the building goes to King Æthelberht rather than St Justus. Bede describes St Paulinus’ burial as "in the sanctuary of the Blessed Apostle Andrew which Æthelberht founded likewise he built the city of Rochester."[c]
Æthelberht died in 617 and his successor, Eadbald of Kent, was not a Christian. Justus fled to Francia and remained there for a year before he was recalled by the king.
In 644 Ithamar, the first English-born bishop, was consecrated at the cathedral.[d] Ithamar consecrated Deusdedit as the first Saxon Archbishop of Canterbury on 26 March 655.
The cathedral suffered much from the ravaging of Kent by King Æthelred of Mercia in 676. So great was the damage that Putta retired from the diocese and his appointed successor, Cwichelm, gave up the see "because of its poverty".
In 762, the local overlord, Sigerd, granted land to the bishop, as did his successor Egbert.[e] The charter is notable as it is confirmed by Offa of Mercia as overlord of the local kingdom.
Following the invasion of 1066, William the Conqueror granted the cathedral and its estates to his half-brother, Odo of Bayeux. Odo misappropriated the resources and reduced the cathedral to near-destitution. The building itself was ancient and decayed. During the episcopate of Siward (1058–1075) it was served by four or five canons "living in squalor and poverty". One of the canons became vicar of Chatham and raised sufficient money to make a gift to the cathedral for the soul and burial of his
Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, amongst others, brought Odo to account at the trial of Penenden Heath c. 1072. Following Odo’s final fall, Gundulf was appointed as the first Norman bishop of Rochester in 1077. The cathedral and its lands were restored to the bishop.
Gundulf’s first undertaking in the construction of the new cathedral seems to have been the construction of the tower which today bears his name. In about 1080 he began construction of a new cathedral to replace Justus’ church. He was a talented architect who probably played a major part in the design or the works he commissioned. The original cathedral had a presbytery of six bays with aisles of the same length. The four easternmost bays stood over an undercroft which forms part of the present crypt. To the east was a small projection, probably for the silver shrine of Paulinus which was translated there from the old cathedral.[f] The transepts were 120 feet long, but only 14 feet wide. With such narrow transepts it is thought that the eastern arches of the nave abuted the quire arch. To the south another tower (of which nothing visible remains) was built. There was no crossing tower. The nave was not completed at first. Apparently designed to be nine bays long, most of the south side but only five bays to the north were completed by Gundulf. The quire was required by the priory and the south wall formed part of its buildings. It has been speculated that Gundulf simply left the citizens to complete the parochial part of the building. Gundulf did not stop with the fabric, he also replaced the secular chaplains with Benedictine monks, obtained several royal grants of land and proved a great benefactor to his cathedral city.
In 1078 Gudulf founded St Bartholomew’s Hospital just outside the city of Rochester. The Priory of St Andrew contributed daily and weekly provisions to the hospital which also received the offerings from the two altars of St James and of St Giles.
During the episcopates of Ernulf (1115–1124) and John (I) (1125–1137) the cathedral was completed. The quire was rearranged, the nave partly rebuilt, Gundulf’s nave piers were cased and the west end built. Ernulf is also credited with building the refectory, dormitory and chapter house, only portions of which remain. Finally John translated the body of Ithamar from the old Saxon cathedral to the new Norman one, the whole being dedicated in 1130 (or possibly 1133) by the Archbishop of Canterbury, assisted by 13 bishops in the presence of Henry I, but the occasion was marred by a great fire which nearly destroyed the whole city and damaged the new cathedral. It was badly damaged by fires again in 1137 and 1179. One or other of these fires was sufficiently severe to badly damage or destroy the eastern arm and the transepts. Ernulf’s monastic buildings were also damaged.
Probably from about 1190, Gilbert de Glanville (bishop 1185–1214) commenced the rebuilding of the east end and the replacement on the monastic buildings. The north quire transept may have been sufficiently advanced to allow the burial of St William of Perth in 1201, alternatively the coffin may have lain in the north quire aisle until the transept was ready. It was then looted in 1215 by the forces of King John during siege of Rochester Castle. Edmund de Hadenham recounts that there was not a pyx left "in which the body of the Lord might rest upon the altar". However, by 1227, the quire was again in use when the monks made their solemn entry into it. The cathedral was rededicated in 1240 by Richard Wendene (also known as Richard de Wendover) who had been translated from Bangor.
The shrines of Ss Paulinus and William of Perth, along with the relics of St Ithamar, drew pilgrims to the cathedral. Their offerings were so great that both the work mentioned above and the ensuing work could be funded.
Unlike the abbeys of the period (which were led by an abbot) the monastic cathedrals were priories ruled over by a prior with further support from the bishop. Rochester and Carlisle (the other impoverished see) were unusual in securing the promotion of a number of monks to be bishop. Seven bishops of Rochester were originally regular monks between 1215 and the Dissolution. A consequence of the monastic attachment was a lack of patronage at the bishop’s disposal. By the early 16th century only 4% of the bishop’s patronage came from non-parochial sources. The bishop was therefore chronically limited in funds to spend on the non-monastic part of the cathedral.
The next phase of the development was begun by Richard de Eastgate, the sacrist. The two eastern bays of the nave were cleared and the four large piers to support the tower were built. The north nave transept was then constructed. The work was nearly completed by Thomas de Mepeham who became sacrist in 1255. Not long after the south transept was completed and the two bays of the nave nearest the crossing rebuilt to their current form. The intention seems to have been to rebuild the whole nave, but probably lack of funds saved the late Norman work.
The cathedral was desecrated in 1264 by the troops of Simon de Montfort, during sieges of the city and castle. It is recorded that armed knights rode into the church and dragged away some refugees. Gold and silver were stolen and documents destroyed. Some of the monastic buildings were turned into stables. Just over a year later De Montfort fell at the Battle of Evesham to the forces of Edward I. Later, in 1300, Edward passed through Rochester on his way to Canterbury and is recorded as having given seven shillings (35p) at the shrine of St William, and the same again the following day. During his return he again visited the cathedral and gave a further seven shillings at each of the shrines of Ss Paulinus and Ithamar.
The new century saw the completion of the new Decorated work with the original Norman architecture. The rebuilding of the nave being finally abandoned. Around 1320 the south transept was altered to accommodate the altar of the Virgin Mary.
There appears to have been a rood screen thrown between the two western piers of the crossing. A rood loft may have surmounted it. Against this screen was placed the altar of St Nicholas, the parochial altar of the city. The citizens demanded the right of entrance by day or night to what was after all their altar. There were also crowds of strangers passing through the city. The friction broke out as a riot in 1327 after which the strong stone screens and doors which wall off the eastern end of the church from the nave were built. The priory itself was walled off from the town at this period. An oratory was established in angulo navis ("in the corner of the nave") for the reserved sacrament; it is not clear which corner was being referred to, but Dr Palmer argues that the buttress against the north-west tower pier is the most likely setting. He notes the arch filled in with rubble on the aisle side; and on nave side there is a scar line with lower quality stonework below. The buttress is about 4 feet (1.2 m) thick, enough for an oratory. Palmer notes that provision for reservation of consecrated hosts was often made to the north of the altar which would be the case here.
The central tower was at last raised by Hamo de Hythe in 1343, thus essentially completing the cathedral. Bells were placed in the central tower (see Bells section below). The chapter room doorway was constructed at around this time. The Black Death struck England in 1347–49. From then on there were probably considerably more than twenty monks in the priory.
The modern paintwork of the quire walls is modelled on artwork from the Middle Ages. Gilbert Scott found remains of painting behind the wooden stalls during his restoration work in the 1870s. The painting is therefore part original and part authentic. The alternate lions and fleurs-de-lis reflect Edward III’s victories, and assumed sovereignty over the French. In 1356 the Black Prince had defeated John II of France at Poitiers and took him prisoner. On 2 July 1360 John passed through Rochester on his way home and made an offering of 60 crowns (£15) at the Church of St Andrew.
The Oratory provided for the citizens of Rochester did not settle the differences between the monks and the city. The eventual solution was the construction of St Nicholas’ Church by the north side of the cathedral. A doorway was knocked through the western end of the north aisle (since walled up) to allow processions to pass along the north aisle of the cathedral before leaving by the west door.
In the mid-15th century the clerestory and vaulting of the north quire aisle was completed and new Perpendicular Period windows inserted into the nave aisles. Possible preparatory work for this is indicated in 1410–11 by the Bridge Wardens of Rochester who recorded a gift of lead from the Lord Prior. The lead was sold on for 41 shillings.[g] In 1470 the great west window at the cathedral was completed and finally, in around 1490, what is now the Lady Chapel was built. Rochester Cathedral, although one of England’s smaller cathedrals, thus demonstrates all styles of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.
In 1504 John Fisher was appointed Bishop of Rochester. Although Rochester was by then an impoverished see, Fisher elected to remain as bishop for the remainder of his life. He had been tutor to the young Prince Henry and on the prince’s accession as Henry VIII, Fisher remained his staunch supporter and mentor. He figured in the anti-Lutheran policies of Henry right up until the divorce issue and split from Rome in the early 1530s. Fisher remained true to Rome and for his defence of the Pope was elevated as a cardinal in May 1535. Henry was angered by these moves and, on 22 June 1535, Cardinal Fisher was beheaded on Tower Green.
Henry VIII visited Rochester on 1 January 1540 when he met Ann of Cleves for the first time and was "greatly disappointed". Whether connected or not, the old Priory of St Andrew was dissolved by royal command later in the year, one of the last monasteries to be dissolved.
The west front is dominated by the central perpendicular great west window. Above the window the dripstone terminates in a small carved head at each side. The line of the nave roof is delineated by a string course above which rises the crenelated parapet. Below the window is a blind arcade interrupted by the top of the Great West Door. Some of the niches in the arcade are filled with statuary. Below the arcade the door is flanked with Norman recesses. The door itself is of Norman work with concentric patterned arches. The semicircular tympanum depicts Christ sitting in glory in the centre, with Saints Justus and Ethelbert flanking him on either side of the doorway. Supporting the saints are angels and surrounding them are the symbols of the Four Evangelists: Ss Matthew (a winged man), Mark (a lion), Luke (an ox) and John (an eagle). On the lintel below are the Twelve Apostles and on the shafts supporting it King Soloman and the Queen of Sheba. Within the Great West Door there is a glass porch which allows the doors themselves to be kept open throughout the day.
Either side of the nave end rises a tower which forms the junction of the front and the nave walls. The towers are decorated with blind arcading and are carried up a further two stories above the roof and surmounted with pyramidal spires. The aisle ends are Norman. Each has a large round headed arch containing a window and in the northern recess is a small door. Above each arch is plain wall surmounted by a blind arcade, string course at the roof line and plain parapet. The flanking towers are Norman in the lower part with the style being maintained in the later work. Above the plain bases there are four stories of blind arcading topped with an octagonal spire.
The outside of the nave and its aisles is undistinguished, apart from the walled up north-west door which allowed access from the cathedral to the adjacent St Nicholas’ Church. The north transept is reached from the High Street via Black Boy Alley, a medieval pilgrimage route. The decoration is Early English, but reworked by Gilbert Scott. Scott rebuilt the gable ends to the original high pitch from the lower one adopted at the start of the 19th century. The gable itself is set back from the main wall behind a parapet with walkway. He also restored the pilgrim entrance and opened up the blind arcade in the northern end of the west wall.
To the east of the north transept is the Sextry Gate. It dates from Edward III’s reign and has wooden domestic premises above. The area beyond was originally enclosed, but is now open to the High Street through the memorial garden and gates. Beyond the Sextry Gate is the entrance to Gundulf’s Tower, used as a private back door to the cathedral.
The north quire transept and east end are all executed in Early English style, the lower windows light the crypt which is earlier. Adjoining the east end of the cathedral is the east end of the Chapter Room which is in the same style. The exact form of the east end is more modern than it appears, being largely due to the work of Scott in the 19th century. Scott raised the gable ends to the original high pitch, but for lack of funds the roofs have not been raised; writing in 1897 Palmer noted: "they still require roofs of corresponding pitch, a need both great and conspicuous".
On the south side of the cathedral the nave reaches the main transept and beyond a modern porch. The aisle between the transepts is itself a buttress to the older wall behind and supported by a flying buttress. The unusual position of this wall is best explained when considering the interior, below. The southern wall of the presbytery is hidden by the chapter room, an 18th-century structure.
he western part of the nave is substantially as Gundulf designed it. According to George H. Palmer (who substantially follows St John Hope) "Rochester and Peterborough possess probably the best examples of the Norman nave in the country". The main arcade is topped by a string course below a triforium. The triforium is Norman with a further string course above. The clerestory above is of perpendicular style. From the capitals pilasters rise to the first string course but appear to have been removed from the triforium stage. Originally they might have supported the roof timbers, or even been the springing of a vault.
The easternmost bay of the triforium appears to be Norman, but is the work of 14th-century masons. The final bay of the nave is Decorated in style and leads to the tower piers. Of note is the north pier which possibly contains the Oratory Chapel mentioned above.
The aisles are plain with flat pilasters. The eastern two bays are Decorated with springing for vaulting. Whether the vault was ever constructed is unknown, the present wooden roof extends the full length of the aisles.
The crossing is bounded to the east by the quire screen with the organ above. This is of 19th-century work and shows figures associated with the early cathedral. Above the crossing is the central tower, housing the bells and above that the spire. The ceiling of the crossing is notable for the four Green Men carved on the bosses. Visible from the ground is the outline of the trapdoor through which bells can be raised and lowered when required. The floor is stepped up to the pulpitum and gives access to the quire through the organ screen.
The north transept is from 1235 in Early English style. The Victorian insertion of windows has been mentioned above in the external description. Dominating the transept is the baptistery fresco. The fresco by Russian artist Sergei Fyodorov is displayed on the eastern wall. It is located within an arched recess. The recess may have been a former site of the altar of St Nicholas from the time of its construction in 1235 until it was moved to the screen before the pulpitum in 1322. A will suggests that "an altar of Jesu" also stood here at some point, an altar of some sort must have existed as evidenced by the piscina to the right of the recess. The vaulting is unusual in being octpartite, a development of the more common sexpartite. The Pilgrim Door is now the main visitor entrance and is level for disabled access.
he original Lady Chapel was formed in the south transept by screening it off from the crossing. The altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary was housed in the eastern arch of the transept. There are traces of painting both on the east wall and under the arch. The painting delineates the location of the mediaeval north screen of the Lady Chapel. Around 1490 this chapel was extended westwards by piercing the western wall with a large arch and building the chapel’s nave against the existing south aisle of cathedral. From within the Lady Chapel the upper parts of two smaller clerestory windows may be seen above the chapel’s chancel arch. Subsequently, a screen was placed under the arch and the modern Lady Chapel formed in the 1490 extension.
The south transept is of early Decorated style. The eastern wall of it is a single wide arch at the arcade level. There are two doorways in the arch, neither of which is used, the northern one being hidden by the memorial to Dr William Franklin. The south wall starts plain but part way up is a notable monument to Richard Watts, a "coloured bust, with long gray beard". According to Palmer there used to be a brass plaque to Charles Dickens below this but only the outline exists, the plaque having been moved to the east wall of the quire transept. The west wall is filled by the large arch mentioned above with the screen below dividing it from the present Lady Chapel.
The Lady Chapel as it now exists is of Decorated style with three lights along southern wall and two in the west wall. The style is a light and airy counterpart to the stolid Norman work of the nave. The altar has been placed against the southern wall resulting in a chapel where the congregation wraps around the altar. The window stained glass is modern and tells the gospel story.
The first, easternmost, window has the Annunciation in the upper light: Gabriel speaking to Mary (both crowned) with the Holy Spirit as a dove descending. The lower light shows the Nativity with the Holy Family, three angels and shepherds. The next window shows St Elizabeth in the upper light surrounded by stars and the sun in splendour device. The lower light shows the Adoration of the Magi with Mary enthroned with the Infant. The final window of the south wall has St Mary Magdelene with her ointment surrounded by Tudor roses and fleurs-de-lis in the upper light with the lower light showing the Presentation in the Temple. The west wall continues with St. Margaret of Scotland in the upper light surrounded by fouled anchor and thistle roundels. The reference is to the original dedication of the cathedral as the Priory of St Andrew. The lower light shows the Crucifixion with Mary and St Peter. The final window is unusual, the upper light is divided in three and shows King Arthur with the royal arms flanked by St George on the left and St Michael on the right. The lower light shows the Ascension: two disciples to the left, three women with unguents to the right and three bare crosses top right.
The priory and cathedral church
ABOUT THE YEAR 600, Ethelbert, king of Kent, at the instance of St. Augustine, began to build a CHURCH at Rochester, in honour of St. Andrew, and a MONASTERY adjoining to it, of which church St. Augustine in 604, appointed Justus to be bishop, and placed secular priests in the monastery; for the maintenance of whom the king gave a portion of land to the south of the city, called Prestefelde; to be possessed by them for ever, and he added other parcels of land, both within and without the walls of the city. (fn. 1) And notwithstanding in after times the gifts to this church were many and extensive, yet by the troubles which followed in the Danish wars, it was stripped of almost all of them, and at the time of the conquest it was in such a state of poverty, that divine worship was entirely neglected in it, and there remained in it only five secular priests, who had not sufficient for their maintenance.
Many of the possessions belonging to the church of Rochester had come into the hands of the conqueror at his accession to the crown, most of which he gave to his half-brother, Odo, bishop of Baieux, from whom archbishop Lanfranc recovered them, amongother lands belonging to his own church, in the solemn assembly of the whole county, held by the king’s command at Pinnenden-heath, in the year 1076.
Soon after this, Gundulf was elected bishop of Rochester, to whom and to this church, archbishop Lanfranc immediately restored all those lands which he had recovered, formerly belonging to it.
Bishop Gundulf displaced the secular canons which he found here, and with the advice and assistance of archbishop Lanfranc, placed Benedictine monks in their room, the number of which, before his death, amounted to sixty. Besides which, the bishop continuing his unwearied zeal in promoting the interest of his church, recovered and purchased back again many other lands and manors, which had been formerly given to it by several kings, and other pious persons, and had been at different times wrested from it. He followed the example of archbishop Lanfranc, and separated his revenues from those of his monks; for before the bishop and his monks lived in common as one family. He rebuilt the church and enlarged the priory; and though he did not live to complete the great improvements he had undertaken, yet he certainly laid the foundation of the future prosperity of both. (fn. 2) The most material occurrences which happened to the church and priory, from the above time to the dissolution of the latter, will be found in the subsequent account of the several priors and bishops of this church.
From the conquest to the reign of Henry VIII. almost every king granted some liberties and privileges, as well to the bishop of Rochester as to the prior of the convent; each confirmed likewise those granted by his predecessors. The succeeding bishops and archbishops confirmed the possessions of the priory to the monks of it, as did many of the popes. The Registrum Roffense is full of these grants in almost every page and as the most material of them are mentioned under the respective places they relate to in the course of this history, the reader will, it is hoped, the more readily excuse the omission of them in this place.
A list of the Priors of Rochester.
Ordowinus was appointed the first prior, and was witness to the charter of foundation, dated Sept. 20, 1089. He afterwards resigned. (fn. 3)
Arnulph, originally a monk of Christ church, was constituted in his room, and continued here till he was elected prior of Canterbury, in 1096, from whence he was preferred to the abbot of Peterborough, and in 1115, to the see of Rochester. He was a good benefactor to this priory, and built the dormitory, chapter house, and refectory.
Ralph succeeded him; he had been a monk at Caen, and came over into England with Lanfranc, in 1107. On his being chosen abbot of Battle, in Sussex, he resigned this office. On the death of bishop Gundulf, the monks of Rochester desired him for their bishop, but in vain.
Ordowinus was again restored in 1107. He is said to have held this office under bishop Ernulph, therefore he was living in 1115.
Letard presided here under the same bishop.
Brian presided in 1145; and died on Decemb. 5, 1146.
Reginald, who in the year 1154, obtained from pope Adrian IV. a confirmation of the privliges of the church of Rochester. He is said to have died on April 29, in the obituary of St. Augustine’s, Canterbury, but the year is not mentioned, nor that of the election of
Ernulf II. who was prior in the time of bishop Walter. The next I find is
William de Borstalle, who was preferred to the priorship from being cellarer to this monastery.
Silvester, who was his successor, from being cellarer was likewise made prior. In his time, anno 1177, the church and the offices, as well within as without the walls were burnt. He rebuilt the refectory and dormitory, and three windows in the chapter house, towards the east. His successor was
Richard, who in 1182, resigned this office on being chosen abbot of Burton, in Staffordshire.
Alfred succeeded him as prior, and quitted it on being made abbot of Abingdon by king Henry II. between the years 1185 and 1189. (fn. 4)
Osbert de Scapella, from being sacrist was chosen prior. He wrote several books, and made the window of St. Peter’s altar, and did many other works; he was a great benefactor to the buildings of this church.
Ralph de Ros, who presided in 1199, was the next prior, and whilst he was sacrist built the brewhouse, and the prior’s great and lesser chamber, the stone houses in the church yard, the hostiary, stable, and the barn in the vineyard, and caused the church to be covered and most of it leaded.
Helias seems to have succeeded him. He finished the covering of the church with lead, and built with stone a stable for himself and his successors. He also leaded that part of the cloisters next the dormitory, and made the laundry and door of the refectory.
William is said after him to have enjoyed this office in 1222.
Richard de Derente was elected prior of Rochester in 1225; he, among others, in the year 1227, signified to the archbishop the election of Henry de Sandford to the see of Rochester, and he is said to have presided in the year 1238, and to have been succeeded by
William de Hoo, sacrist of this church, who was chosen prior in 1239. He built the whole choir of this church, from the north and south wings, out of the oblations made at the shrine of St. William; and after having governed here for two years, because he would not consent to the sale of some lands belonging to his convent, he was much persecuted, and resigning this office, became a monk at Wooburn, and there died. In his time, in 1240, the altar in the infirmary chapel was dedicated to St. Mary; and on the nones of November that year the cathedral church itself being finished, was dedicated by the bishop, assisted by the bishops of Bangor and St. Andrew. (fn. 5)
Alexander de Glanville succeeded him, who dying suddenly of grief, in 1252, was succeeded by
John de Renham or Rensham. In his time the church and monastery were plundered, and many ornaments and charters taken away. He is said by some to have resigned in Dec. 1283; but in reality he was then deposed by John, archbishop of Canterbury, visiting this church as metropolitan.
Thomas de Woldham, alias Suthflete, was elected bishop of Rochesler, and refused it; but being elected a second time, was consecrated in the parish of Chartham, in Kent, the 6th of January, 1291. (fn. 6)
Simon de Clyve, sacrist of this church, who growing infirm, resigned this office of prior in 1622, and was the same year succeeded by
John de Renham or Rensham who, was again chosen prior, in 1292. He died in 1294, and
Thomas de Shuldeford succeeded him, who being infirm, resigned in 1301, and was succeeded by
John de Greenstreet in February the same year, on whose resignation, in 1314.
Hamo de Hethe was elected to this office that year, as he was to the see of Rochester in 1317, though he was not consecrated till two years afterwards; during the time he governed this church as prior and bishop he was a great benefactor to it.
John de Westerham succeeded him, in 1320, and died in 1321, and was succeeded by
John de Speldhurst, cellarer of this convent, who was chosen by the monks, and confirmed by the bishop; he resigned in 1333. His successor was
John de Shepey, S. T. P. In 1336, he built the new refectory, and received towards the expence of it one hundred marcs. In his time also, in 1344, the shrines of St. Michael, St. Paulinus, and St. Ythamar, were now made with marble and alabaster, which cost two hundred marcs; and the year before he caused the tower to be raised higher with wood and stone, and covered it with lead, and placed four new bells there, calling them Dunstan, Paulin, Ythamar, and Lanfranc. On December 27, 1352, he was elected bishop of Rochester by papal bull. (fn. 7)
Robert de Suthflete, warden of Filchestowe cell succeeded on his predecessor’s preferment to the bishop. ric in 1352, he died in 1361.
John de Hertlepe or Hertley, warden of the same cell, was chosen to succeed him that year; he resigned in 1380, and was succeeded by
John de Shepey, S. T. P. the subprior, who was elected the same year; he governed the priory thirtynine years, and died in 1419.
William de Tunbrigg was the next prior, who having been elected by the monks, was confirmed by the archbishop of Canterbury (the see of Rochester being vacant) the same year; he presided in 1444, and was soon succeeded by John Clyfe, in 1447. After him,
John Cardone was prior, in 1448.
William Wode was prior in the reign of king Edward IV. and he was succeeded by
Thomas Bourne, who was prior in 1480, to whom
William Bishop probably succeeded; he occurs prior in 1496, and seems to have been succeeded by
William Frysell, who was elected to this office in 1509. His successor in it was probably
Laurence. Mereworth, who occurs prior in 1533 and 1534, when he, with eighteen monks, subscribed to the king’s supremacy.
Walter Boxley was the next, and last prior of this monastery; for king Henry VIII. in the 31st year of his reign, granted a commission to the archbishop of Canterbury, George lord Cobham, and others, to receive the surrendry of this priory; and accordingly, the above mentioned prior and convent, by their instrument, under their common seal, dated April 8, that year (1540) with their unanimous assent and consent, deliberately, and of their own certain knowledge and mere motion, from certain just and reasonable causes, especially moving their minds and consciences, of their own free good will, gave and granted all that their monastery, and the scite thereof, with all their churches, yard, debts, and moveable goods, together with all their manors, demesnes, messuages, &c. to king Henry. VIII. with a general warrantry against all persons whatsoever. This deed was executed in the presence of a master in chancery, and was afterwards inrolled in the court of augmentation.
The prior above mentioned, after the dissolution of this monastery, again took on him his original family and lay name of Phillips; for when any person took upon him the monastic habit, he immediately assumed the name of the place of his dwelling or birth, that by having so done, he might be divested and alienated from all former family connections and relationship, and consider himself entirely as the son of the church, and as having no other relations than those who were his brethren in the monastery.
The priory of Rochester was valued at 486l. 11s. 5d. yearly income; (fn. 8) the whole of which came into the king’s hands, as above mentioned; who, though he was empowered by parliament to erect new sees, and ecclesiastical corporate bodies out of the estates belonging to these suppressed monasteries, yet more than two years passed before there was any new establishment founded by him here.
AFTER the dissolution of the priory of Rochester, king Henry VIII. by his charter under his privy seal, dated June 18, in his 33d year, founded within the precincts of the late monastery here, to the glory and honour of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary, a CATHEDRAL CHURCH of one dean and six prebendaries, who were to be priests, together with other ministers necessary for the performing of divine service, in future to be called, The Cathedral church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary of Rochester, and to be the episcopal seat of the bishop of Rochestet and his successors; and he granted the same episcopal seat within the precincts of the late monastery, to him and his successors for ever; and he appointed Walter Philippes, late prior there, the first dean of this church, and Hugh Aprice, John Wildbore, Robert Johnson, John Symkins, Robert Salisbury, and Richard Engest, the six prebendaries of it; and he incorporated them by the name of the dean and chapter of it, and granted that they should have perpetual succession, and be the chapter of the bishopric of Rochester, to plead and be impleaded by that name, and have a common seal; and he granted to the dean and chapter and their successors, the scite and precincts of the late monastery, the church there, and all things whatsoever within it, excepting and reserving to the king the particular buildings and parts of it therein mentioned; which premises, or at least the greatest part of them, seem to have been afterwards granted to the dean and chapter; and also excepting always to the bishop of Rochester and his successors, the great messuage, called the Bishop’s palace, with all other his lands and tenements, in right of his bishopric, to hold the said scite, precincts, church, and appurtenances, to the dean and chapter and their successors for ever in pure and perpetual alms; and he granted them full power of making and admitting the inferior officers of the church, and afterwards of correcting and displacing them as they thought fit; saving to the king the full power of nominating the dean and six prebendaries, and also six almsmen, by his letters patent, as often as they should become vacant; and lastly, he granted, that they should have these his letters patent made and sealed in the accustomed manner, under his great seal. These letters patent were sealed with the great seal, June 20th following.
The dotation charter, under the king’s privy seal, is dated the same day; by which he granted to the dean and chapter, and their successors, sundry premises, manors, lands, tenements, rents, advowsons and appropriations, part of the possessions of the late priory of Rochester, of the late priory of Ledys, of the hospital of Stroud and of the priory of Boxley, in the counties of Kent, Buckingham, Surry, and in the city of London, to hold in pure and perpetual alms, and he granted them, and each of them to be exempt and discharged from all payments of first fruits and tenths, reserving to him and his successors, in lieu thereof, the yearly sum of one hundred and fifteen pounds, (which rent has been since increased to 124l 6s. for reasons as has been already mentioned under Southfleet and Shorne in the former volumes of this history) and lastly, that they should have these his letters patent made and sealed with his great seal, &c. On the 4th of July following, the king granted a commission to George, lord Cobham, and others, reciting, that whereas he had lately founded and erected the said cathedral church in the scite and place of the late priory at Rochester, and in the same one dean, six prebendaries, six minor canons, one deacon and subdeacon, six lay clerks, one master of the choristers, eight choristers, one teacher of the boys in grammar, to consist of twenty scholars, two subsacrists, and six poor men, he gave power and authority to them, or any two of them, to repair to the scite of the late priory, and there, according as they thought fit, to allot the whole of it, and to assign to the dean and canons separate and fit stalls in the choir, and separate places in the chapter there, and to allot to the dean the new lodging, containing two parlours, a kitchen, four bedchambers, the gallery, the study over the gate, with all other buildings leading to the house of John Symkins, one of the residentiaries, together with the garden adjoining, on the north side of the king’s lodging. The hay, barn in the woodyard of the dean under the vestry, a stable for the dean adjoining the gate of the tower, and the pidgeon-house on the wall adjoining the ponds; and also to the prebendaries and minor canons and other ministers, and persons above-mentioned, and to each of them, according to their degree, convenient houses, and places about the church to be divided and assigned to each of them, as far as the buildings and ground of the scite would allow, so that the said dean and canons might have separate houses for their convenient habitation, and that the rest of the ministers and persons, that is, minor canons, deacon and subdeacon, scholars, choiristers, and upper and under master, should have smaller houses, in which they and their families should inhabit, and further, that they should put the dean, canons and other ministers in possession of the houses and premises so assigned as asoresaid, provided always, that the said minor canons, and other ministers (except the dean and prebendaries) should eat at one common table, according to the statutes to be prescribed to them, and that they should certify under their seals to the chancellor and court of augmentation what they had done in it.
About three years afterwards, a body of statutes for the government of this church was delivered to it by three commissioners appointed by the king for that purpose, but like many others, they were neither under the great seal nor indented, so that their validity continued in dispute till the reign of queen Anne, in the sixth year of whose reign, an act passed to make them good and valid in law, so far as they were not inconsistent with the constitution of the church, or the laws of the land.
In these statutes, besides the members already mentioned, there is named a porter, who was likewise to be a barber, a butler, a cook and an under-cook; all the members still subsist in this church, except the deacon and subdeacon, the butler, cook and under-cook; the two first have been disused ever since the reformation, or at least very soon afterwards, and the other three are not necessary, as there is not. any common table kept, nor indeed does there appear to have been one kept as directed by the statutes, for the several members of this church, excepting the dean and prebendaries, and the six almsmen. There were also by the statutes yearly exhibitions of five pounds to be paid to four scholars, two at each university. By the statutes they were to be more than fifteen, and under twenty years of age, to be chosen from this school in preference, and if none such were here, then from any other, so that there were neither fellow or scholar in either university; the pension of five pounds to continue till they commenced bachelor, and that within the space of four years; after which they were to enjoy the same for three years; when commencing master of arts they were to be allowed six pounds per annum, and after that 6l. 13s. 4d. The college to be at the option of the dean, or vice-dean, and chapter, who nominate the scholars, and forty pounds was directed to be laid out yearly in charity, and the repairing of highways and bridges.
By the charter of foundation, king Henry VIII. reserved to himself and his successors the right of nominating and appointing, by his letters patent, the dean and prebendaries, and by the statutes the dean must be a doctor of divinity, a batchelor, or doctor of law, and each of the prebendaries the same, or master of arts, or batchelor of laws, and to be appointed by the king’s letters patent under his great seal, and presented to the bishop. The dean continues to be nominated by the king, four of the prebends are in the gift of the lordkeeper of the great seal, one is annexed by letters patent, and confirmed by act of parliament, anno 12 queen Anne, to the provostship of Oriel college, in Oxford, and confirmed by parliament the same year, and another was by letters patent, anno 13 king Charles I. annexed to the archdeaconry of Rochester. The crown likewise nominates the six poor bedesmen, who are admitted by warrant under the sign manual; these are in general old and maimed sailors, who are pensioners of the chest at Chatham.
Walter Phillips, the last prior, on the surrendry of this monastery into the king’s hands, was, by the foundation charter of the dean and chapter, dated June 18, anno 33 Henry VIII. appointed the first dean. He died in 1570. (fn. 9)
Edmund Freake, S. T. P. was installed in 1570, and was consecrated bishop of Rochester in 1571.
Thomas Willoughby, S. T. P. and prebendary of Canterbury, in 1574, he died in 1585.
John Coldwell, M. D. of St. John’s college, Cambridge, in 1585, and was consecrated bishop of Salisbury in 1591.
Thomas Blague, S. T. P. master of Clare-hall, and rector of Bangor, in 1591, and died in 1611.
Richard Milbourne, A. M. rector of Cheam, in Surry, and vicar of Sevenoke, in 1611, and was consecrated bishop of St. David’s in 1615. (fn. 10)
Robert Scott, S. T. P. and master of Clare-hall, in 1615. He died in 1620.
Godfrey Goodman, a native of Essex, and fellow of Trinity college, then master of Clare-hall, Cambridge, afterwards prebendary of Westminster, rector of Kemmerton, in Gloucestershire, and West Isley, in Berkshire, and S. T. P. in 1620, and was consecrated bishop of Gloucester in 1624.
Walter Balcanquall, a native of Scotland, and S. T. P. in 1624. He was first fellow of Pembroke-hall, Cambridge, then master of the Savoy. (fn. 11) He resigned this deanry for that of Durham in 1638. (fn. 12)
Henry King, S. T. P. of Christ-church, Oxford, archdeacon of Colchester, residentiary of St. Paul’s, and canon of Christ-church, (fn. 13) in 1638, and was consecrated bishop of Chichester in 1641.
Thomas Turner, S. T. P. canon residentiary of St. Paul’s, London, rector of St. Olave’s, Southwark, and of Fetcham, in Surry, in 1641, and was made dean of Canterbury in 1643.
Benjamin Laney, S. T. P. master of Pembroke-hall, vicar of Soham, in Cambridgeshire, rector of Buriton, in Hampshire, and prebendary of Westminster and Winchester, in 1660, and was consecrated bishop of Peterborough, at the latter end of that year. (fn. 14)
Nathaniel Hardy S. T. P. rector of St. Dionis Backchurch, archdeacon of Lewes, and rector of Henley upon Thames, in 1660. He died at Croydon in 1670, and was buried in the church of St. Martin’s in the Fields, of which church he was vicar, having been by his will a good benefactor to the members of this cathedral, and their successors, as well as to the parishes of this city.
Peter Mew, S. T. P. succeeded in 1670. He had been canon of Windsor, archdeacon of Berks, and pre sident of St. John’s college, Oxford. He was consecrated bishop of Bath and Wells at the end of the year 1672. (fn. 15)
Thomas Lamplugh, S. T. P. in 1672. He was first fellow of queen’s college, Oxford, then principal of Alban-hall, and vicar of St. Martin’s in the Fields. He was consecrated bishop of Exeter in 1676. (fn. 16)
John Castilion, S. T. P. prebendary of Canterbury, and vicar of Minster, in Thanet, in 1676. He died in 1688, and was buried in Canterbury cathedral.
On the death of Dr. Castilion, Simon Lowth, A. M. was nominated that year by king James II. to succeed him; but not being qualified as to his degree according to the statutes, his admittance and installation was refused, and the revolution quickly after following, he was set aside, and Dr. Ullock was nominated in his itead.
Henry Ullock, S. T. P. succeeded in 1689, at that time prebendary of this church, and rector of Leyborne. He died in 1706, and was buried there.
Samuel Pratt, S. T. P. clerk of the closet, succeeded in 1706. (fn. 17) He was canon of Windsor, vicar of Twickenham, and chaplain of the Savoy chapel. He died in 1723.
Nicholas Claggett, S. T. P. rector of Brington, in Northamptonshire, and of Overton sinecure, in Hampshire, and archdeacon of Buckingham in 1724. He was promoted to the bishopric of St. David’s in 1731.
Thomas Herring, S. T. P. was first of Jesus college, Cambridge, and afterwards fellow of Bennet college. After a variety of parochial preferments he was advanced to this deanry in 1731, which he held in commendam from 1737, when he was promoted to the bi shopric of Bangor till his translation to the archbishopric of York in 1743. (fn. 18)
William Bernard, S. T. P. prebendary of Westminster, (fn. 19) succeeded in 1743, but next year was promoted to the see of Raphoe, in Ireland. (fn. 20)
John Newcome, S. T. P. lady Margaret’s lecturer of divinity, and master of St. John’s college, Cambridge, in 1744. He had supplied the divinity chair at Cambridge with great reputation, during the latter part of Dr. Bentley’s life, then regius professor, who for several years before his death had retired from all public business. He died in 1765.
William Markham, LL. D. and prebendary of Durham, in 1765. He was a great benefactor to the deanry-house, the two wings of which were erected by him, but were not finished before his quitting this preferment for the deanry of Christ-church, Oxford, which he did in 1767. (fn. 21)
Benjamin Newcombe, S. T. P. and rector of St. Mildred’s, in the Poultry, in 1767. He was afterwards vicar of Lamberhurst, and died at Rochester in 1775.
Thomas Thurlow, D. D. and master of the Temple, in 1775, was in 1779 made bishop of Lincoln. (fn. 22)
Richard Cust, S. T. P. canon of Christ-church, in Oxford, which he resigned on this promotion. He was a younger brother of the late Sir John Cust, bart. of Lincolnshire, speaker of the house of commons, and uncle to lord Brownlow. He resigned this deanry in 1781, on being made dean of Lincoln, and residentiary of that cathedral.
Thomas Dampier, son of Thomas Dampier, dean of Durham, was educated at Eton, and was afterwards fellow of King’s college, in Cambridge, vicar of Boxley, prebendary of Durham, and master of Sherborne hospital. In 1780 he was created by royal mandate S. T. P. and in March 1782, succeeded to this deanry, with which he holds, excepting the fellowship, the several preferments before-mentioned.
THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ROCHESTER is situated at a small distance from the south side of the middle of the High-street, within the antient gate of the priory.
This church was rebuilt by bishop Gundulph in the year 1080, and some part of this building still remains. The whole bears venerable marks of its antiquity, but time has so far impaired the strength of the materials with which it is built, that in all likelihood the care and attention of the present chapter towards the support of it will not be sufficient to prevent the fall of great part of it at no great distance of time.
The cathedral consists of a body and two isles, the length of it from the west door to the steps of the choir is fifty yards; at the entrance of the choir is the lower or great cross isle, the length of which is one hundred and twenty-two feet; from the steps of the choir to the east end of the church is fifty-two yards; at the upper end of the choir is another cross isle of the length of ninety feet. In the middle of the western cross isle, at the entrance of the choir, stands the steeple, which is a spire covered with lead, being one hundred and fifty-six feet in height, in which hang six bells. Between the two cross isles, on the north side without the church, stands an old ruined tower, no higher than the roof of the church. This is generally allowed to have been erected by bishop Gundulph, and there is a tradition of its having been called the bell tower, and of its having had five bells hanging in it; yet the better conjecture is, that it was first intended as a place of strength and security, either as a treasury or a repository for records. The walls of it are six feet thick, and the area on the inside twenty-four feet square. On the opposite side, at the west end of the south isle, is a chapel of a later date than the isle, wherein the bishop’s consistory court is held, and where early prayers were used to be read till within these few years. The roof of the nave or body of the church, from the west end to the first cross isle, is flat at the top like a parish church, as it is likewise under the great steeple; but all the other parts, viz. the four cross isles, the choir, and those on each side of it, except the lower south isle, which was never finished, are handsomely vaulted with stone groins.
The choir is upwards of five hundred and seventy years old, being first used at the consecration of Henry de Sandford in 1227. It is ornamented, as well as other parts of the church, with small pillars of Petworth marble, which however, as well as many of those in a neighbouring cathedral, have been injudiciously covered with whitewash, and several of them with thick coats of plaister. The choir was repaired, as to new wainscot, stalls, pews, &c. at a large expence, in 1743, and very handsomely new paved; at which time the bishop’s throne was rebuilt at the charge of bishop Wilcocks.
The organ is over the entrance into the choir. The late one was erected early in the last century, and was but a very indifferent instrument. In the room of which a new one, built by Green, was erected in in 1791, which is esteemed an exceeding good instrument.
At the north end of the upper cross isle, near the pulpit, is a chapel, called St. Williams’s chapel, a saint whose repute brought such considerable profit to this priory, as to raise it from a state of poverty to affluence and riches. A large stone chest, much defaced, is all that remains of his shrine.
At the south-east corner of the opposite cross isle is an arched door-way, richly carved and ornamented with a variety of figures, which formerly led to the chapter-house of the priory, in the room of which there is erected a small mean room, which is made use of as a chapter-house and library; for the increase of this library, the same as was intended at Canterbury; every new dean and prebendary gives a certain sum of money at their admission towards the increase of books in it, instead of making an entertainment, as was formerly the custom. In this library is that well known and curious MSS. called the Textus Roffensis, compiled chiefly by bishop Ernulfus in the 12th century, which was published by Thomas Hearne, from a copy in the Surrenden library. During the troubles in the last century this MSS. was conveyed into private hands, nor could the dean and chapter after the restoration, for two years, discover where it was; and at last they were obliged to solicit the court of chancery for a decree to recover it again. Since which they have been once more in great danger of being deprived of it; for Dr. Harris, having borrowed it for the use of his intended history of this county, sent it up to London by water, and the vessel being by the badness of the weather overset, this MSS. lay for some hours under water before it was discovered, which has somewhat damaged it.
There is also another antient MSS. here, entitled Custumale Roffense, thought by some to be more antient than the other. Great part of this MSS. has been published by Mr. Thorpe in a volume under that title.
Near the west end, in the same isle, is a square chapel, called St. Edmund’s chapel; hence you descend into the undercroft, which is very spacious and vaulted with stone. There seems to have been part of it well ornamented with paintings of figures and history, but the whole is so obliterated, that nothing can be made out what it was intended for.
The body of this church, the greatest part of which is the same as was erected by bishop Gundulph, is built with circular arches on large massy pillars, with plain capitals; the smaller arches above them being decorated with zigzag ornaments. The roof of the nave seems to have been raised since, and all the windows made new and enlarged at different times, particularly the large one in the west front; though the roof is now flat, by the feet of the groins still remaining, it appears as if this part of the church had been, or at least was intended to be vaulted. The breadth of it, with the side isles, is twenty-two yards. The west front extends eighty-one feet in breadth; the arch of the great door is certainly the same which bishop Gundulph built, and is a most curious piece of workmanship; every stone has been engraved with some device, and it must have been very magnificent in its original state. It is supported the depth of the wall, on each side the door, by several small columns, two of which are carved into statues representing Gundulph’s royal patrons, Henry I. and his queen Matilda. The capitals of these columns, as well as the whole arch, are cut into the figures of various animals and flowers The key-stone of the arch seems to have been designed to represent our Saviour in a niche with an angel on each side, but the head is broken off; under this figure are twelve others, representing the apostles, few of which are entire.
In this front were four towers, one on each side the great door, and the others at the two extremes; three of these terminated in a turret, and the other in an octangular tower, above the roof. That tower at the north corner being in danger of falling, was taken down a few years ago, in order to be rebuilt. Dean Newcombe left one hundred pounds towards the finishing of it. Against the lower part of this tower was the figure of bishop Gundulph, with his crozier in his hand; on the rebuilding of which it was replaced, but the tower remains unfinished, at not half the height it was before, to the great disfigurement of the front of this church. Since which the tower at the opposite, or south-west corner, being ruinous, has likewise been taken down even with the roof of the church.
The royal grammar school of this foundation, besides the exhibitions before-mentioned, has had a later benefactor in Robert Gunsley, clerk, rector of Titsey, in Surry, who by his will in 1618, gave to the master and fellows of University college, Oxford, sixty pounds per annum, for the maintenance of four scholars to be chosen by them from the free school of Maidstone, and from this grammar school, such as are natives of the county of Kent only, of whom those of his name and kindred to have the preference, who are to be allowed chambers, and fifteen pounds per annum.
To conclude the account of this priory and cathedral, it should be observed that the precincts of it, after the dissolution, seem to have been a scene of devastation and confusion: the buildings were huge, irregular and ruinous, and little calculated to be turned into separate dwellings for small private families. Even a century afterwards, in the great rebellion in 1647, they were reported to be in a ruinous and woeful condition; at which time the church itself does not seem to have been much better; for archbishop Laud, in his return of the state of this diocese to Charles I. in 1633, says, that the cathedral suffered much for want of glass in the church windows, that the church-yard lay very indecently, and that the gates were down; about nine years afterwards this church suffered much from the fury of the rebel soldiers under colonel Sandys, who having plundered it, and broken to pieces what they could, made use of it as a tipling house, (fn. 23) and the body of the church was used as a carpenter’s shop and yard, several sawpits being dug, and frames for houses made by the city joiners in it.
After the restoration dean Hardy took great pains to repair the whole of it, which was effected by means of the benefactions of the gentry of the county, and 7000l. added by the dean and chapter; notwithstanding which, time has so corroded and weakened every part of this building, that its future existence for any length of time has been much feared, but this church has lately had every endeavour used, and great repairs have been made which it is hoped will secure it from the fatal ruin which has threatened it, the inside has been beautified, and being kept exceeding clean, it makes at this time a very pleasing appearance.
In this cathedral, among other monuments, inscriptions, &c. are the following:— In the choir, within the altar rails on the south wall, under three small arches, are pictures of three bishops with their mitres and crosiers, now almost defaced, on the outside these arms, first, the see of Rochester; second, the priory of Canterbury; third, a cross quartier pierced azure; within the rails, under the north and south windows, are several stone coffins and other remains of bishops monuments, but no inscriptions or arms; on the north side the choir a large altar monument for bishop Lowe, on the south side of it, these arms on a bend, three wolves
rewrite this content to 50 words Saturday, and hey, hey it’s the weekend. I felt as though the weather had kept me trapped in the house pretty much all week, so I wanted to go out. Jools came back from work evening, saying that her old boss had visited Rochester Cathedral and said there is a fantastic art display of thousands of paper doves, and a huge table made from reclaimed 5,000 tree trunk found in a fen in Norfolk. Yes, we would like some of that action, and as it has been three years since we were last there, seemed like a good idea. In fact, at the beginning of March 2020, it was the first trip we took in the new Audi, and of course, two weeks later there was lockdown and deaths. So, a trip back, at Easter, for a rebirth and to see some art and a huge table. But first, shopping. And being the start of the month, we get much more than usual, including wine to make sloe port and stuff for washing and cleaning. Back home to put it all away and have breakfast and second coffee before heading out. Though because of Brexit-related delays in the port, we did have to leave through Guston and Pineham to get to the A2 as traffic through Whitfield was at a standstill. Up the A2 to Faversham, then along the Motorway until we turned off just after the Medway bridge. It was later than we had hoped, but thought nothing of it, really. But there was a food festival on near the caste, and all parking was full, we drove along the river thinking we would just give up, then following the sat nav back into town we find a tiny car park with spaces, and just a few minutes walk from the cathedral and castle. Perfect. As we drove past the parish church in Strood, I saw thatt he door was open: oh good. On the way to the cathedral, we called into a café for breakfast. Second breakfast. Elevenses. I had a bacon butty and Jools had a panini, which hit the spot, meaning we were ready to go and mingle with people. By the time we emerged, and walked along the High Street to the church, it was closed. So I took some shots of the outside, and then we headed for the bridge over the Medway, and before the Cathedral, there was the Bridge Chapel. I had discovered from a fr iend that the Bridge over the Medway at Rochester was owned, repaired and funded by a charity/trust, and had been this was pretty much from the 14th century. Only the other shell of the Chantry Chapel of the Bridge now remains, but a new roof has been put on, and the chapel now used for meetings, and has a large wooden table filling most of the Chancel. I record the details, say thanks to the two friendly guides, and we finally walk to the Cathedral. The food festival needed tickets to go in, it smelled good, and a band was playing poor Britpop numbers to entertain the thin crowds. We entered the cathedral, and hit by the sight of over 10,000 paper doves, all lit with pink light, having over the Nave. It was impressive. As was the table, pushed to one side but half the length of the Nave, and made of two and three thick planks. I went round taking shots of the stained glass with the big lens, whilst Jools sat and looked after the camera bag. Despite it being a cool day, with my fleece on I was hot, so needed a drink, and along the old High Street was The George, and they showed us to the "garden", which was a huge tent filled with people, one party were loudly celebrating someone’s 40th birthday. But our drinks were brought quickly, and being in the corner we could people watch, of course. It was two, and time to go home. The traffic jams of earlier had melted away, so we walked to the car, turned out onto the main road out of town, to the motorway and home. On the radio Citeh put 4 (four) past Liverpool, then all was about preparations for the main group of games. We arrived back home at three, time for a brew and two hot cross buns each, and for me, listen to the footy on the radio, and hopeful that City’s late push to the play-offs would start today. It didn’t. A 1-0 loss to Sheffield Utd, just one shot on goal, and the season is deader than flares. I watched the evening game, Chelsea losing to Villa, whilst Craig returned on the radio and spun some funk and soul. Perfect. ————————————————– Rochester Cathedral has been transformed by ‘Peace Doves’ an artwork by Peter Walker Sculptor Bringing a message of peace and hope, the Peace Doves artwork has been created from around fifteen thousand individually hand made paper doves, together they collectively form this beautiful artwork which as a whole reflects joining together in unity, peace and hope moving forward. Peace Doves is an artwork that has been re-curated for different spaces as it tours the UK, adaptations have been seen in Liverpool, Lichfield, Derby, Sheffield and now at Rochester. The Peace Doves project has incorporated educational engagement with many schools and community groups in the local area and each person has written individual messages of peace and hope onto each dove. Throughout history the dove has been viewed as a symbol of peace in many different cultures. For example in Greek mythology the dove is a symbol of the renewal of life, and liturgically within the Bible the dove appears at the Baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan and in the teachings of Noah and the Ark as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. www.rochestercathedral.org/peacedoves ————————————————– The church is the cathedral of the Diocese of Rochester in the Church of England and the seat (cathedra) of the Bishop of Rochester, the second oldest bishopric in England after that of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The edifice is a Grade I listed building (number 1086423) The Rochester diocese was founded by Justus, one of the missionaries who accompanied Augustine of Canterbury to convert the pagan southern English to Christianity in the early 7th century. As the first Bishop of Rochester, Justus was granted permission by King Æthelberht of Kent to establish a church dedicated to Andrew the Apostle (like the monastery at Rome where Augustine and Justus had set out for England) on the site of the present cathedral, which was made the seat of a bishopric. The cathedral was to be served by a college of secular priests and was endowed with land near the city called Priestfields.[a][b] Under the Roman system, a bishop was required to establish a school for the training of priests. To provide the upper parts for music in the services a choir school was required. Together these formed the genesis of the cathedral school which today is represented by the King’s School, Rochester. The quality of chorister training was praised by Bede. The original cathedral was 42 feet (13 m) high and 28 feet (8.5 m) wide. The apse is marked in the current cathedral on the floor and setts outside show the line of the walls. Credit for the construction of the building goes to King Æthelberht rather than St Justus. Bede describes St Paulinus’ burial as "in the sanctuary of the Blessed Apostle Andrew which Æthelberht founded likewise he built the city of Rochester."[c] Æthelberht died in 617 and his successor, Eadbald of Kent, was not a Christian. Justus fled to Francia and remained there for a year before he was recalled by the king. In 644 Ithamar, the first English-born bishop, was consecrated at the cathedral.[d] Ithamar consecrated Deusdedit as the first Saxon Archbishop of Canterbury on 26 March 655. The cathedral suffered much from the ravaging of Kent by King Æthelred of Mercia in 676. So great was the damage that Putta retired from the diocese and his appointed successor, Cwichelm, gave up the see "because of its poverty". In 762, the local overlord, Sigerd, granted land to the bishop, as did his successor Egbert.[e] The charter is notable as it is confirmed by Offa of Mercia as overlord of the local kingdom. Following the invasion of 1066, William the Conqueror granted the cathedral and its estates to his half-brother, Odo of Bayeux. Odo misappropriated the resources and reduced the cathedral to near-destitution. The building itself was ancient and decayed. During the episcopate of Siward (1058–1075) it was served by four or five canons "living in squalor and poverty". One of the canons became vicar of Chatham and raised sufficient money to make a gift to the cathedral for the soul and burial of his Gundulf’s church Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, amongst others, brought Odo to account at the…
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