Textus Roffensis Online
Rochester Cathedral's World Firsts
In partnership with the John Rylands Library, University of Manchester, Rochester Cathedral has, for the first time, made the greatest treasure in its Library available online in its entirety. The Textus Roffensis is the only existing copy of the first code of English law and was written in Rochester during the early 1120s. It has been described as one of the most important documents in English history. This manuscript, written in Old English and Latin, is hugely important in the history of English law and language and is believed to have influenced the wording of the Magna Carta of 1215 and, later, the American Declaration of Independence of 1776. Historian and television presenter, Michael Wood, who has supported the project, says that the Textus is of ‘supreme importance...one of the few crucial works in the history of the civilization of the British Isles.’
Included in the Textus is an account of ceremonies of ordeal for testing innocence using red-hot irons, boiling water and a terrible curse in which the wrong-doer is cursed by the Holy Trinity, archangels and angels; he is cursed living or dying, working or resting, and every part of his body is cursed down to his toes nails!
The Cathedral has digitised another unique manuscript, the Custumale Roffensis, which is now available online for the first time. Written in Latin in about 1300, it tells, not only, of the Priory’s lands and income, but also details the domestic arrangements of the Monastery at Rochester. This manuscript throws light on the services and bell ringing of the Cathedral and, together with descriptions of services and the duties of senior officials, and vergers, we are told of the bakers, porters, brewers, cooks tailors and laundrymen, even of the arrangements for the stabling of horses! The title page of the book carries a warning: ‘Whoever shall alienate or fraudulently destroy this title, or diminish the rights of the monks contained in the same, let him have his portion with Judas, the traitor...So be it. Amen.’
Midnight Mass and Carol Services 2014
PLEASE NOTE ALL TICKETS HAVE NOW GONE!
As many of you will know, Rochester Cathedral has benefitted from a major Heritage Lottery Fund Grant that is enabling us to undertake substantial work to the fabric and to improve access for all.
This work will continue through to 2015 and will, inevitably, reduce the usable space in the Cathedral while it is going on.
For this reason, we have decided that entry to Midnight Mass and the two Carol Services will be by ticket only as we will have to restrict numbers for this year only and we do not want people to queue in the cold, only to find that there is no space.
The Carol services will be on Sunday 21st December at 7.30pm and
Monday 22nd December at 7.30pm
Hidden Treasures Fresh Expressions Project
Click here for a copy of the HTFE Project Brochure
Hidden Treasures, Fresh Expressions (HTFE) is a project that focuses on the Crypt, Library and the 'hidden collections' in the Cathedral's ownership. At the very heart of the project is the creation of a secure exhibition space within the medieval crypt for the display of the collections; a wealth of texts, books, documents, charters, stonework, embroidery, plate, paintings and historical artifacts. The library will also be repaired and renovated to house our remarkable collection more appropriately and enable us to make this part of the collection more accessible.
In February 2013 it was announced that we have been awarded £3.55million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). It was the very welcome final piece of the funding jigsaw and would not have been possible without the generosity of other funders including Colyer-Fergusson, Friends of Rochester Cathedral, Rochester Bridge Trust, Garfield Weston, Wolfson, Headley Trust, Esmee Fairbairn who between them have committed over £1million to the project.
However since this award, the delay in sending the tenders out for the main building works resulted in all tender submissions coming in over budget. This gave the Project a bit of a set back but following further submissions to the Heritage Lottery Fund and to the World War 1 Centenary Cathedrals Repair Fund, additional funds have been secured to ensure that this project can now be delivered in full.
It will therefore be very challenging as we embark on a programme of construction works to undertake the necessary repairs and modifications to deliver our project. The works commenced in Summer 2014 expected to take just over one year. Whilst some areas will be closed during the works we will continue to be open to visitors and services will continue as normal albeit mostly in the Nave.
Further Information will be posted on the website and we hope you will follow our progress as we look forward to the future.
Moment to Moment an exhibition by Randy KleinAugust 3rd saw the exhibition launch of American born scultor Randy Klein's work Moment to Moment. This is a collection of more than 100 small sculptures which together make up a single narrative like a series of stills from a film clip. Each piece is an intimate, stand-alone moment in a life. However, it is when viewed as a whole that the full impact of this enormous artwork is revealed.
Klein’s work has long been about ways in which art can indicate a higher need within us, one which transcends the fleeting world of 'things'. By placing Moment to Moment within the physical and spiritual context of a cathedral, visitors are viewing it in an environment that is conducive to contemplating life’s big questions. The cathedral setting invites visitors to make personal interpretations and also engage with the work’s central theme - an Everyman’s journey from the quotidian to the eternal. A tale of transcendence.
“You often hear it said that 'museums of art are our new churches' but in practice art museums often abdicate much of their potential. Hence the all-too-frequent question with which we leave the modern museum of art: what did that mean? Visual art in my view should be more than beauty for its own sake. In spite of its physical form, it should transcend this physicality and enrich the soul.” Randy Klein
BBC South East Today recently filmed a piece on the exhibition which was broadcast on 8th August 2013.
The exhibition runs from 3rd to 26th August and is open daily 9am to 5pm. Free entry.
For more information on the artist, please visit www.facebook.com/randykleinart