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.’
Christmas Carols with Rochester Cathedral Choir
Christmas Carols with Rochester Cathedral Choir
Our annual Christmas Concert with the Cathedral Choir takes place on Tuesday 9th December at 7.30pm.
The programme includes the Christmas Music from Handel's wonderful Messiah and traditional carols for all to join in and enjoy.
The Cathedral Choir will be joined by the orchestra, Rochester Camerata.
Come along and give your Christmas celebration the perfect start!
Midnight Mass and Carol Services 2014
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. Tickets will be offered first to regular congregation members and then on a first come first served basis. Tickets will be available from Monday 1st December 2014.
The Carol services will be on Sunday 21st December at 7.30pm and
Monday 22nd December at 7.30pm
You will need to apply for a ticket due to restictions in the cathedral from firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone
01634 810062. Tickets will only be available from Monday 1st December.
There is no charge for any of these tickets.
World War I Remembrance
World War I Remembrance
Lest We Forget: Medway’s First World War 2 October – 9 December 2014
The war memorial on Rochester High Street bears no names on it. At this time of remembrance The Cathedral is reflecting on the local sacrifice of life and hope for the future.
Lest We Forget: Medway’s First World War is an installation and exhibition where visitors may explore the stories of local soldiers from WWI look at the objects which have been loaned by members of the Cathedral Community and reflect on their own family story.
Card dog-tags have been provided for visitors to write down the name of a man or woman that they know served during the First World War. These may be tied to the installation in an act of prayer and remembrance.
Research was carried out by members of the Cathedral Community, Diocesan Community and Medway Youth Parliament in order to produce the exhibition situated in the Lady Chapel.
The War that didn’t end war…
Rochester Cathedral has outlined a programme of commemoration from 2014 to 2018. We hope to use the five years to develop a greater understanding of war, the world and the Kingdom of God, and listen to and learn from local and individual experiences:
Points of remembrance
These have been identified by the Church of England as
Outbreak of war: August 4th 1914
Battle of Jutland: 31 May – 1 June 1916
Battle of the Somme: 1 July – 18 November 1916
Battle of Passchendaele: 31 July – 6 November 1916
Armistice: 11 November 1918
The National Advisory Panel set up by the Government has chosen three themes:
Remembrance, Youth and Education
The cathedral will take up the three themes thus:
The names of the fallen will brought into a peaceful reflective installation in the Lady Chapel where visitors can tie a cardboard tag to a wire-structure bearing the name of someone who died in the war. This structure will flow towards the central altar where a single candle will burn representing Jesus the Light of the World – a sing of God’s presence and love in bad times as well as good.
Working with the cathedral community, University of the Third Age and Medway Youth Parliament, we hope to research some stories and create interpretation panels telling the stories. These will be added to from August to November so that by Remembrance Sunday 2014 there will be a large installation to surround with poppies.
Youth and Education
In the Cathedral’s Education and Visits Department there will be a programme for younger children on Remembrance along with work using banners/standards and books of remembrance noting the curriculum change to local history which extends to the Royal Engineers in Brompton and the Historic Dockyard in Chatham. There will also be stories about soldier volunteers, dance workshops re: soldiers and families, sounds of war etc. and we hope to develop an interfaith dialogue.
There is also a plan to engage the young with the elderly and those with dementia in singing together songs from the war through Sing for your Life and Drumbeat School – a brand new special school for children and young people with autism in Downham and Brockley and in particular using music therapy.
The Cathedral Programme
The War that didn’t end war…
beginnings and causes of war and conflict (including rivalry, greed, fear, vested interest, prejudice etc)
During the summer there will be an outside floral commemoration of the
outbreak of war and in the Lady Chapel there will be reflective space and display for daily use at midday prayers, by schools and individuals
Sermons at the Cathedral Eucharist at 1030
Sunday 20 July
Canon Neil Thompson, Precentor:
Might and right among the nations:
What part do justice and peace play in the road to war?
Sunday 27 July
The Ven. Simon Burton-Jones, Archdeacon of Rochester
‘Love your enemies’ – is war ever just and can it ever be limited?
Sunday 3 August
Canon Jean Kerr, Missioner
The price of peace in a competitive and untrusting world:
How do we live with rivalry, greed, fear, vested interest and prejudice?
Muffled quarter peal by cathedral bellringers
1515 Choral Evensong (Cathedral Voluntary Choir and members of the Choir of Marienkirche, Rostock and others) and Vigil Liturgy: Prayers and Reflection commemorating the Outbreak of War
Monday 4 August
1730 Choral Evensong (Choir of St John the Baptist, Barnet)
2200 Vigil Liturgy – The dying of the light: Prayers and Reflections commemorating the Outbreak of War attended by Viscount De L’Isle, the Lord Lieutenant of Kent
During this weekend there will be a ‘countdown to 11pm – peace and war’ installation on the Pulpitum Platform in the cathedral nave along with remembrances, memorabilia, lights and graffiti sprays of the alliances of nations and powers leading to war.
People will be invited to add their candle which will be lit for vigil liturgies which will complement the National Vigil at Westminster Abbey
In the autumn towards Remembrance Sunday a series of three talks is being planned... (and thence each year to 2018)
Religion, Literature and Propaganda ~ Dr Philip Hesketh, Canon Pastor
global conflict and the individual
attrition and its cost
Kingdom season 2017 (All Saints to Advent)
remembering and honour;
protest and conscience
All Saints/All Souls 2018
guilt and forgiveness; repair and reparation
Performance of Britten’s War Requiem
We are planning a performance (possibly two) of Britten’s War Requiem in the Nave with a parallel art display taking up the work of the war poets ~ War and the pity of war. The possibility of streaming the performance to the Historic Dockyard in Chatham is being investigated. An educational lead in to this event is also planned to make the Requiem as accessible as possible particularly to schools and colleges.
For Further Information on Local Events, Please visit :
The UK Government Site
The Royal Engineers Museum Website
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.