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Business: Ripon Cathedral
Location: Minster Road Ripon HG4 1QT
Phone: 01765 602072
England has many churches, but Ripon Cathedral is unique. In this lesson, we are going to check out this structure and its history, and see why it's so important.
Christianity is the main religion practiced in England today. However, it wasn't always this way. It took centuries for Christian priests, monks, and clerics to override the Celtic and Roman religions that dominated Britain. So, how'd they do it? One method was in building churches and attracting people using religious relics, many of which were said to heal illnesses and answer prayers.
There are a number of important churches that helped establish the dominance of Christianity in England, but a notable one is Ripon Cathedral. Located in what is now North Yorkshire, this English church harkens back to a time before England was really even England.
Founding of Ripon
The story of Ripon Cathedral begins with St. Wilfrid, a 7th-century bishop who was instrumental in bringing Roman-style Christianity to the region. At the time, this was actually an Anglo-Saxon kingdom called Northumbria. St. Wilfrid settled here and founded a monastery in Ripon, one of the first Benedictine monasteries of Northumbria.
This monastery was a simple structure with a wooden church, built in the local Anglican style. However, he soon decided that his monastery needed a proper, stone church and around 672 CE he commissioned craftsmen from across Britain to come and build one. The church was to be a stone basilica, a form he'd seen in Rome but which had not really been introduced throughout Britain yet.
Ripon Cathedral has a history stretching back almost fourteen centuries. Throughout this time it has offered an unbroken tradition of witness to the Christian faith, both in the city of Ripon and across North Yorkshire.
Dominating the Ripon skyline, this amazing building has inspired the likes of Lewis Carroll and Wilfrid Owen and continues to inspire and uplift visitors and worshippers alike.
The present church was founded by Saint Wilfrid and dedicated in 672, although it has been rebuilt several times since. The ancient Saxon crypt – one of the oldest in the country – is the only part of Wilfrid’s original church that remains to this day.
The Cathedral also has many other interesting features, not least the medieval woodcarvings that decorate the choir stalls, which are believed to have inspired Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland.
02nd May 2022
Artists are putting the finishing touches to new pieces of work for a unique arts programme
Expect rainbows. Ripon celebrates the life and legacy of Wilfrid, its founding father. Miracle
Cathedrals joined the call to toll their bells at noon today – one week since Russia began its
RIPON CATHEDRALS 1350th LAUNCH WEEKEND Celebrate the life of the cathedral community through art, music and a series of special events, all designed to get our year off with a bang. Over 27 spectacular flower displays will be on display through the weekend, each representing an element from the cathedral’s unique heritage.
Please scroll down to see all that is going on over the weekend.
19.30 – 22.00
The official start of our celebrations and a night to remember. With live music from Frankly Jazz, the big band with just the right sound, illuminations and ending with effects evocative of St Wilfrid’s miraculous moonbow. Click here for tickets
Join us to experience and explore the life, heritage and faith within the walls of Ripon Cathedral
9.30 – 10.30
Bells ring out!
Join the Ripon Cathedral Bellringers as they demonstrate how they make so much beautiful, synchronised noise!
10.30 – 12.00
Guided Tour: Explore medieval Ripon
Explore Ripon’s medieval history with a walking tour led by an expert guide. No booking required – meet inside the main (west) doors.
11.00 – 12.00
Live choir: the Decibelles
Listen to beautiful music in the cathedral’s historic quire, sung by the Decibelles.
12 – 12.30
13.00 – 14.00
Talk: Jonathan Clarke, Cathedral Archaeologist
‘Reading the stones – some recent archaeological research at Ripon Cathedral’Click here for tickets
15.00 – 16.00
Talk: Alanah Honey, Cathedral Architect of Caroe Architecture Ltd
See Ripon Cathedral Behind the Scenes. Click here for tickets
18.00 – 18.30
19.30 – 22.00
Son et Lumiere
9.30 – 12.30
Hazelsong Theatre create drop-in activities for families, creating calligraphic bookmarks and showing how manuscripts were made
10.30 – 11.30
Join an experienced guide to discover the hidden history of Ripon Cathedral
12.30 – 13.30
Mini-ring of church bells
Discover the fascinating world of campanology without any stairs! Bellringers will be operating the mini-ring, a small peel of bells, in the cathedral’s nave
13.30 – 14.30
Art in the Cathedral
Meet Art in the Churches producer Chris Bailey, who will talk you through our plans for bringing St Wilfrid to life through contemporary art
15.30 – 16.30
Lecture: Prof Joyce Hill on making medieval manuscripts
17.30 – 18.00
Service: Evening Prayer
19.30 – 22.00
Son et Lumiere
10.30 – 12.00
Celebration Festal Eucharist
13.30 – 15.00
15.30 – 16.30
Ripon Cathedral Beer Festival
Arrival of Yorkshire Heritage Way
RIPON CATHEDRALS 1350th LAUNCH WEEKEND
Before the actual building could be constructed, St. Wilfrid wanted a crypt built below the church. The point of the crypt was to house religious relics that St. Wilfrid had acquired, which could be displayed for pilgrims to come and revere.
This was not common in England at this point, so where'd St. Wilfrid get the idea? He had previously spent time in Rome, where large cathedrals displayed troves of relics in underground crypts. Historians believe that St. Wilfrid had access to the sacred catacombs of Rome as well. After Rome, St. Wilfrid had traveled through Gaul, where underground relic chambers were being used. St. Wilfrid clearly liked the idea, and introduced it to Northumbria.
The crypt itself is austere and modest, composed of narrow passages and niches in whitewashed walls for displaying religious relics. It was built pragmatically to let pilgrims shuffle through, but was also based on accounts of the simple tomb where Christ's body was laid after the Crucifixion.
Ripon Cathedral is actually the fourth structure to stand on the site, since St. Wilfrid's church was later destroyed. The crypt, however, is still the original Anglo-Saxon structure built by the canonized abbot of Ripon. It was built as its own structure, which is why it's survived years of rebuilding above it. In fact, this crypt is the oldest surviving structure of any church in all of England. As if that wasn't enough reason to visit it, St. Wilfrid himself was interred here after he died in 709 CE.
The return of Ripon's favourite beer festival, featuring a huge range of beers, drinks and family friendly activities in gorgeous surrounds
Ripon's biggest and best beer festival returns during Ripon Cathedral's 1350th launch weekend. With live music, a range of guest ales and delicious barbecue food, this is not one to miss.
Adults £5.00 (including a free glass)
Proceeds from the beer festival will support the vital work of Ripon Cathedral.
The event takes place in the cathedral grounds: the entrance is on the corner of High Saint Agnesgate.
Due to licencing regulations only alcohol purchased on the premises may be consumed at the Beer Festival. Please DO NOT bring alcohol into the grounds, bag searches will be carried out.