Whilst The Friends of Rochester Cathedral exists to raise money for the repair and restoration of the Cathedral, as a diverse and friendly community of people, we also have a calendar of social activities throughout the year.
Social activities programme 2015 - 2017
Music for a Summer's Evening 2017: A concert of Light and Classical Music at Rochester Cathedral on a Saturday in July 2017. Doors will open 6.30pm for concert at 7.30pm. Drinks will be available during the interval and are included in the Ticket Price of £10. Please contact The Friends Office on 01634 832142 for further details and ticket arrangements.
Our recent activities
Click on the pictures below for larger images of some recent highlights.
Our first visit for 2015 was a day trip to Denbies Wine Estate in March. Located just outside Dorking the vineyard's terroir has been planned and grown similarly to that of the Champagne region of France. Here we saw the vineyards planted with some 28 varieties of grape; the later ripening varieties being hand picked. In 2014 the latest pickings took place on November 19th.
After an entertaining and informative "train" ride through the estate we returned to an audiovisual presentation and subsequent wine tasting in the cellars. A superb lunch was served and after purchasing local produce, souvenirs and of course, wine our party of 43 returned to Rochester. An enjoyable trip for all.
Friday 13th March: Cathedral Friends were treated to a Crypt Archaeology Tour to review the progress made and see the difficulties being faced by the team.
Tuesday 19th May - Friday 22nd May - Residential visit to Hereford, with visits to the American Museum in Bath, Stokesay Castle, a full day in Hereford, including the Cathedral, Malmesbury and Chavenage Manor House.
After an uneventful journey we arrived at the American Museum in Bath. The museum traces the history of North America from its native roots through early settlers to present day. It is housed in a beautiful mansion over looking the city and members enjoyed a superb lunch here.
Arriving in Hereford some two hours later , we made base in our hotel and after a pre dinner drink and a superb dinner , all retired for the night.
The next day saw us visit Stokesay Castle, an incredible example of a fortified Manor House. From there we visited Dunkertons cider mill for a light lunch and we then returned to Hereford through the countryside.
Day three, in the morning, the Chairman and a very small group, visited Belmont Priory, a Benedictine monastery and the home of the Prior of Rochester. Unfortunately the whole group could not visit as the prior, Father Luke, is frail and the monastery not large enough to take us all.
For the rest of the day we were guests of the Friends of Hereford Cathedral. They entertained us "right royally" , covering our every need. Tours of the cathedral , the beautiful gardens, lunch, Mappa, Mundi together with the chain library and Magna Carta and then completed with afternoon tea and Evensong were all included.
We were finally waved goodbye by the Secretary of the Friends, Mrs June Chase. A day to remember for a very long time.
Our final day having left the hotel and we stopped briefly for coffee and visited Malmesbury Abbey and then called into Chavenage Manor. This is still a family home and the family took us around their beautiful home explaining all its history and then entertained us to afternoon tea . A definite highlight of the tour.
We arrived back in Rochester at the end of a very busy and enjoyable four days.
Saturday 5th September saw the Friends on a wonderful coach trip visit to Ely Cathedral. Details available soon.
On the 5th November Jacob Scott gave an enjoyable, informative and entertaining talk on his 3D Imaging Projects in respect of the Architectural elements of the Cathedral, the Castle and the Synagogue to an audience of 80 in the King's School Hall.
Wednesday 2nd December: Advent Lunch This year the Advent Lunch was held at the Rivers restaurant at Upchurch Golf Club. There was an excellent take up for tickets, namely 79. The guest speaker this year was Father John Thackeray, the recently retired school chaplain at the King's School. Father John has now returned to parish life in Ipswich. We are therefore most grateful to him for taking the time out to return to Kent for us. He spoke about School life and the strong link between the School and Cathedral and was well received .The caterers produced an exceptionally fine meal and our thanks go to them.
Thanks to all who supported the event.
CANDLELIT MUSICAL PILGRIMAGE OF THE CATHEDRAL'S HISTORY WITH SUPPER On the 3rd March 2016, this event was open to members and non members alike, and included a series of stops at points of historical interest around the Cathedral where a Cathedral Guide spoke, followed by music relating to that particular period of history. A short Organ recital ended the tour followed by a light Supper with drinks.
We had a full house for this, the first Musical Pilgrimage ever to be held at Rochester. The lay clerks directed by Scott led the music, Brian Micklewright delivered the commentary, lighting was organised and directed by Andrew Coulson this together with enormous help from Colin and his team made for a most memorable evening. The evening ended with a superb supper, provided by the King’s School caterers, and was served in the South transept. The monies raised will be donated to the Cathedral Music Trust. It is hoped to repeat the occasion next year. My thanks go to all who supported this unique event.
FRIENDS VISIT TO FAVERSHAM AND BELMONT HOUSE On the 12th April, blessed with wonderful weather all morning 50 Friends visited Faversham for a brief walking tour. This was led by the Rev. Peter Lock, well known to most as our former Archdeacon.
We walked via the Market place ,with the market in full swing, to the beautiful parish church with Peter pointing out interesting buildings en route. During the tour of the church we were able to see the exhibition commemorating the centenary of the great explosion at the Gunpowder Mill of Faversham.
Then walking via the former Grammar School ,Arden House and Abbey Street we had coffee at the Sun Inn.
We then drove on to Brogdale Fruit Farm for lunch.
After lunch we drove to Belmont House arriving in a brief hale storm however the weather changed. A most informative tour of the House, given by expert guides, and its world famous clock collection after which we then we enjoyed a generous cream tea in the Orangery. By now the sun had returned and some walked in the beautiful grounds. It was great to see this splendid Regency house in all its glory.
We returned to Rochester at precisely 6 pm after a most enjoyable day.
Music for a Summer's Evening: A concert of Light and Classical Music was held at Rochester Cathedral on Saturday 23rd July 2016. The doors opened at 6.30pm for concert beginning at 7.30pm. The audience was 284 strong and free refreshments including red and white wine, cordials and water were given out during the 20 minute interval. The Concert showcased a packed two hour programme of talent including The Brook Orchestra, All Right On The Night, The Medway Singers and CHORISMA a childrens choir. Our Cathedral's Musical Director, Scott Farrell played the Imperial March from Star Wars and the epic finale piece of Handel's Zadok the Priest accompanied by the Medway Singers.
Visit to Allington Castle 19th July 2016 for a Garden and House Tour included forty one "Friends" who met at Allington Castle for what turned out to be a memorable and informative afternoon private tour of both the Castle, now the home of Sir Robert and Lady Worcester,and the gardens.
In the middle of the tour we were entertained to tea,scones and cakes in the Great Hall before continuing with our visit. We were fortunate enough to be able to partake in one of the limited opportunities for such a visit.
It was very good to be so well supported and to welcome some new faces on our outings.