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Time capsule goes in

time capsule 19.09

This week as the stone work project progresses the Dean put a time capsule into a cavity in the wall for future generations to find.

The cavity was discovered as the parapet was repaired and has been created by changes in the building previously that have left a space in the wall.

Having discovered this we have taken the opportunity to put in a time capsule containing various items of news about the Cathedral, about Ripon and also what is happening in the country this year that future generations will know about, for example the birth of Princess Charlotte so they can place this in time when it is opened.

It is rather exciting to think that someone from the future will open that up and be able to read about the Cathedral and what we are doing now.

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Cathedral Remembers “The Few”

This year on the 13th of September, Ripon cathedral is holding a service to commemorate the fact that the “Battle of Britain” happened 75 years ago.

During the summer and autumn of 1940, the skies of Britain hummed to the sound of aircraft, vapour trails criss-crossed the skies in lines and Donald Mackay was 8 years old.  Donald, who now lives in Ripon, lived in Tonbridge in Kent, within the sight of RAF Biggin Hill.  Being 8 years old, the battle in the sky, to Donald and his friends seemed like a bit of  game, he and his friends listen to the “scores” every day on the radio, they knew which plane was which by the silhouettes high up in the sky and spent many hours collecting spent shell cases which proved as valuable souvenirs.

For Donald, one of the most vivid memories he has is of a German Heinkel being shot down very close to where he lived. As the Heinkel was plummeting toward the ground, the pilot managed to pull the plane up thus avoiding a row of houses and crash landing in a water meadow.  Donald says, “it was an act of Gallantry of a kind that we didn’t know about too often in those days”.

Congregation member, Vicki Crossfield.  Remembers being told by her Late husband Geoff that during the “battle of Britain”, he along with his regiment of the Grenadier guards were stationed at Windsor Castle.  The Castle was where the Royal Family had taken up residence for the duration and the Grenadier Guards were there to look after them.  Vicki says, “Guard Duty included marching beneath the private quarters of the Royal Family ALL NIGHT.  To avoid causing too much disturbance, the men, were instructed NOT to bash their heavy boots on the gravel!”  This was very tricky, but the soldiers did it to the best of their ability not wishing to be put on a charge for disturbing the Royal Family.

Many of “the few” lost their lives in the Air Battle and on Sunday Ripon Cathedral will remember those who paid the ultimate price.

Prior to the Service, RAF Leeming will be exercising their newly granted freedom of the city and will parade to the Market Place where a fly past will happen at around 10:30 am. After this, the service personnel and civic dignitaries will go to the cathedral where the service will begin at 11:15 am.

Dean John says, “We at Ripon Cathedral value our links with the military communities across the region, remembering that they continue to provide such a vital service for the well-being of this country and further afield. We celebrate the fact that RAF Leeming is receiving the freedom of the City of Ripon, and I look forward to being in the Cathedral with them, civic authorities and many others on Sunday to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain; remembering the historic contribution of the ‘few’ and giving thanks for those who have been prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of justice and peace”.

All are welcome to attend the service.


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A Special Evensong – Cathedral Marks Britain’s Longest Reigning Monarch


On the 9th of September, we will hold a special service to mark the fact that Queen Elizabeth II will have become the longest-serving British Monarch.

This date marks the fact that the Queen will have reigned longer than her Great, Great Grandmother, Queen Victoria who reign for 63 years and 216 days.

During her time on the throne, the Queen has had a total of 12 Prime Ministers and 6 Archbishops of Canterbury serve under her.  She has attended an estimated 25,500 official engagements in Britain, conferred 400,000 honours and awards and received 3.5 million items of correspondence.  The Queen has also hosted more than a million garden party guests, a large and varied amount of foreign heads of state, two popes and five astronauts.

The Palace has said that there will be no national day of celebration, as all their efforts are being focused on the Queen’s 90th Birthday, which will occur next year on the 21st of April.

This service will be an opportunity to give thanks and prayers for the years of dedication and service the Queen has given to the country. The Preacher during the service will be Dean John and during the Service the introit “I was Glad” by Parry will be sung.  This is the same anthem which was sung at the Coronation of her Majesty in 1953.

Dean John says: I am delighted that the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire has invited Ripon Cathedral to host this significant service. It is clear that the nation will be doing more to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday next year. It is appropriate, however, that we should pause on this historic day to thank God for the Queen’s unparalleled service to this country and to celebrate Her Majesty’s inspiring commitment to duty over so many years.


The service will take place on the 9th of September at 6 pm all are welcome to attend.



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A bat box arrived

bat 1 31.08This week saw the arrival of a bat in a box.

This bat travelled up to us from London carefully strapped into a large box so that it arrived safely. It is the first of three gargoyles we are expecting.

We now need to think of a name for it, Bruce or Nora maybe?

If you have any ideas do let me know on [email protected]

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Cathedral’s  Millennium cushions hailed as “hidden treasures”

 A group of overseas tourists on a quilting and needlework tour of the north of England have hailed the Millennium cushions in Ripon Cathedral as “hidden treasures worthy of a BBC documentary.”

The 23-strong party, mainly Americans but with two Canadians and one Australian, came to see the cushions on August Bank Holiday at the suggestion of the tour organiser, Martha Liska from Olympia, Washington State, who had briefly seen them when she and her sister called in at the cathedral five years ago.

“We just had half an hour or so in Ripon that day but we were intrigued by the cushions and the story of how they came about, “recalled Martha. In a blog afterward her sister Mary said the cushions were “amazing” and that when the sisters came out of the cathedral, they “left in awe.” Prophetically, the sisters said that if they ever arranged a quilting and needlework tour of the north of England, Ripon would be one of their destinations.

Poor health prevented Mary from making the trip this time but Martha was delighted to see the cushions again and show them to her party. One of the group, Jane Riewe , said:” The cushions are a secret that should not be kept any longer. They are hidden treasures worthy of a BBC documentary.”

Before being shown the boxed cushions, the group heard a talk by Marion Thew, who helped design many of them. She explained that they had come about because Ripon wanted to mark the Millennium in a special way. At first, there was talk of creating a large wall hanging but in the end, it was decided to create 38 cushions telling the story of the history of the city and bringing it up to date.

They decided to do it as a community project and involve as many people as possible, which was just as well as five million stitches were required. Those who contributed ranged in age from six to over 90 and included schoolchildren, Tibetan nuns and a former German prisoner of war.

After the project was finished, the cathedral asked them to do a set of kneelers for the altar and a side chapel.

Martha thanked Marion for her talk and Maureen Lowe for providing a guided tour of the cushions. She had assisted Marion in designing them. The group set then left Ripon to visit Fountains Abbey and to continue their 12-day tour including visits to Durham Cathedral, York Minster, Bowes Museum, Beamish Museum, the Quaker Tapestry Museum in Kendal, the Quilt Museum in York and the Great Northern Quilt Show in Harrogate.

The Cushions can be seen at the Cathedral during the normal opening hours.  The Cathedral is open to the public from 8.30am to 6pm every day.  Entry to the Cathedral is free although donations are very much appreciated.

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A panoramic view of a congregation in the nave

Church about the Dale kicks of its pilgrimage at Ripon Cathedral


Ripon Cathedral is perhaps one of the most Rural Cathedrals in the country and this was heavily in focus on Sunday the 23rd of August when they played a part in a new project that is set to help those who live in Wensleydale.

The Church about the Dale project has been set up as an ecumenical project between the Methodist and the Anglican Church.  The project aims to promote social inclusion and the good news of God’s love for all creation through both Methodist and Anglican outreach.

To carry out this project an exhibition trailer will be travelling up and down the area of Wensleydale providing active support and advice on issues such as debt, isolation, poverty, farming and community.

Rev. Michael Hepper, who is the Area Dean for Wesley Deanery said “We are already involved with Hope Debt services, providing debt counselling and advice to the Dales. With the trailer we can take the services out into the field and provide local advice and referral. In terms of isolation, we will be providing space when on tour for people to meet, to sit and to talk. We will also be taking referrals for visitors from the churches to call and help relieve isolation.  With regard to poverty although we don’t have monetary resources, we do have the ability to signpost people on to other organisations and services such as food banks.  Alongside this the trailer will also provide an opportunity to show support and solidarity to the Farming community”.

To celebrate the fact that this new resource for Wensleydale is ready, the trailer visited the Cathedral as a starting point for the pilgrimage of Blessing which will take place between the 23rd of August and the 31st of August.

Canon Ruth Hind, Canon Evangelist, along with Rev’d Michael Hepper, Area Dean, were involved in the first service of the pilgrimage outside the west doors of the Cathedral on Sunday Afternoon.  The service was a focus of blessing on all aspects of the area from Churches and Chapels, schools and hospitals to farmers and crops.

Canon Ruth Hind, said   “As Canon Evangelist of Ripon Cathedral, I am delighted to support the launch of a project which intends both to serve the rural community and speak of the Good News of Jesus.  Prior to working at the Cathedral I was Assistant Area Dean of Wensley and so I am very aware of the hard work and determination it has taken to get this far and am delighted to pray for the success of the initiative “

The Trailer will continue on pilgrimage throughout Wensleydale til the 31st of August when it will finish at the Jonas Centre with a final service followed by a barbecue.

For more information look at

Canon Ruth Hind, Canon Evanglist and Rev'd Michael Hepper, Area Dean of Wensley

Canon Ruth Hind, Canon Evanglist and Rev’d Michael Hepper, Area Dean of Wensley

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Growing Gargoyles

At the start of the project I knew that there were different types of stone, for example sand stone, lime stone and granite among many others but I didn’t realise just how different the same type of stone could be. As a natural product it can vary enormously and I suppose that is one of the things that makes it so beautiful but also rather challenging. This came into focus the other day when the piece of stone for the third gargoyle arrived at the yard. It is still  limestone but it has come from a different quarry to ensure we get the size and quality in the time line we have. This piece of stone arrived and is a more orangey yellow than the yellowy white of the other lime stone. It has just come out of the ground so will lighten up as it dries out so the colour difference will not actually be that much especially when looking at it from the ground. This stone has now gone off to the carver to be turned into a ‘sick woman’.

Gargoyle c  Update  2 v2


The other two gargoyles are coming along a treat. This one is to replace the gargoyle on the corner of the north east transept on the wall above the Mother’s Union Chapel. In this picture you can see how the carver is working from the drawing and also he has made a clay version of the head to help him.

This design is taken directly from the one that was there originally as there was clear evidence of the carving remaining. I’m not sure what beast it is supposed to be but it certainly fulfils the brief to be scary to remind people of evil.

progressbat 071This gargoyle is going on the north quire aisle wall closest to the corner of the two we are replacing there. The carver has taken his inspiration from daubenton’s bats that can be found at Fountain’s Abbey.

I can’t wait for them to come back and see them in the wall. That will be wonderful.

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A Special Visit.


On Monday the 27th of July a party of 14 Children and their adult helpers were hosted by the Cathedral.Children from Chernobyl (16 of 60)

The 14 Children that arrived at the Cathedral on a soggy Monday morning were visitors from the area around Chernobyl in Ukraine.

Back in 1986 the reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded sending radioactive dust up into the atmosphere polluting massive areas of both the Ukraine and Belarus.  This explosion has left both the areas and the people with long lasting health problems and huge build ups of Radiation.

The charity Chernobly Children’s Lifeline seeks to bring child victims of the disaster to the UK for a period of 4 weeks which is not only fun but very beneficial to their health.  For the children this trip will remove 65-95% of the radiation that has built up in the children’s bodies. so enabling them to hopefully live a longer life.

As part of their visit to the UK, the children where treated to a trip to the Cathedral.  This trip which was funded through the generosity of the Rotary Club of Cleveland, enabled the children to have a tour of the cathedral.Canon Elizabeth, showed the Children how Christian’s learn about the Bible and that they celebrate a special meal called Communion.

A delicious lunch was served by lovely volunteers in the Cathedral hall and then the afternoon was spent at Ripon Workhouse Museum where the children learnt about the life that existed inside the Victorian Workhouse.  Here they learnt about, what a Victorian school was like, how the laundry was done and how bread was made.

Children from Chernobyl (35 of 60)


It was a great day and a brilliant way for the Cathedral to be outward looking by helping a group of children from a country thousands of miles away.



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New gargoyles being carved

The stone work project has allowed us to commission three new gargoyles. They are now being carved and should hopefully be ready to come back to Ripon and go into the wall at the end of August or early September.

gargoyle hole 24.7Currently we have large holes in the walls where the old gargoyles once were.

Plastic sheeting is guiding the water away from the wall as the gargoyles will do once they are back in place. You can also see some of the new stone on the left side.


martin gargoyle 14.7aThis picture shows one of the gargoyles as it progresses from a large piece of stone to the final version you can see in the drawing. The design of this gargoyle has been taken from the one that was already here as there was clear evidence of the carving still visible but it was fractured and could have failed especially if we have a harsh winter.

This one doesn’t have much stone going into the wall as there is guttering behind the wall so we will need to put a steel strap over the short tail it does have to make sure it stays put. You will see it in the wall on the corner of the north transept just above the window into the Mothers’ Union Chapel once the scaffolding comes down.

The stone for the gargoyles and the parapet is magnesium limestone. We have been working with our colleagues at York Minster to get high quality stone as they have developed lots of expertise in the last few years working on their east parapet 24.7

The masons have carved into it the arrow slits that form part of the parapet.

This stone has also been used to replace the top part of the turret that is in the north east corner.

When you look it up close it reminds me of high quality vanilla ice cream, with its smooth creamy white colour with black flecks through it. The stone however will last a lot longer and should still be up there for a couple of hundred years.

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