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32. Ripon Cathedral

Ripon Cathedral is dedicated to St Wilfrid who was educated at Lindisfarne and travelled to Rome in AD 652 and on his return in AD 655 he became Abbot of a Benedictine monastery here. A new church was built and the crypt you see today is the oldest surviving Saxon crypt in England. Bede (672-735) the monk historian of Jarrow describes how a little 'mission station' or monastery was built in the heathen village of Rhypum about 655 and how St Wilfrid, its 2nd abbot, enlarged it and built a great church and become a distinguished bishop and statesman in the Kingdom of Northumbria. This was destroyed by the Danes in the 9th century (except for the famous crypt).

Ripon Cathedral

The south-west tower of Ripon Cathedral. After the Norman Conquest in 1066 Ripon Minster became a collegiate church. This church lasted until the Reformation and in 1547 the College of canons was dissolved. In 1604 King James 1st re-established the canonical Chapter at Ripon and in 1836 the Collegiate Church of Ripon became the Cathedral Church of the new Diocese of Ripon.

 

Ripon Cathedral

The impressive west front of Ripon Cathedral with its twin towers. This Early English architecture was commissioned by Walter de Grey, Archbishop of York from 1216-1255.

 

Ripon Cathedral

The great Decorated style east window was built around 1300 - though much restored in Victorian times (1854?).

 

Ripon Cathedral

View from the south-east.

 

Ripon Cathedral

2nd view from the south-east, south transept, tower and south aisle of the chancel.

 

Ripon Cathedral

The Romanesque south door in the south transept.

 

Ripon Cathedral

View from the south-west, south aisle of nave, tower and south transept.

 

Ripon Cathedral

View across the nave from the south aisle to the north aisle of the nave. Note at the end of the nave the earlier 'Romanesque' rounded arch and the later pointed arch across the crossing above the organ.

 

Ripon Cathedral

View from the north aisle (began in 1515) across the nave to the south aisle (began in 1502) and in the far left the magnificent asymmetric chancel arch (columns of different height on either side of the arch supports, and beyond the organ, screen and choir entrance.

 

Ripon Cathedral

View east down the nave.

 

Ripon Cathedral

A fine bronze sculpture of 'Mother and Child'.

 

Ripon Cathedral

The crypt below the nave is the surviving remnant of St Wilfrid's Church dating from AD 672.

 

Ripon Cathedral

Another fine bronze sculpture of 'Mother and Child'.

 

Ripon Cathedral

Looking west down the nave to the fine west windows and their stained glass panels. These two rows of Gothic lancet windows date from around 1220. The splendid Perpendicular nave was rebuilt at the start of the 16th century by the addition of side aisles and wide clerestory windows (top left and right of above picture) added to the 12th century nave.

 

Ripon Cathedral

Looking west down the south aisle of the nave with its fine rib vaulting.

 

Ripon Cathedral

Some of the fine 'mixed' architecture in the nave.

 

Ripon Cathedral

The architecture of the crossing viewed from the south transept  - the nave to the left and the north transept to the right. A structural collapse in 1450 led to a massive rebuilding programme which included most of the nave, but was incomplete by the time of the Reformation which greatly affected Ripon in 1539. This has resulted in a combination of earlier rounded Romanesque arches and rebuilt pointed arches with fine columns supporting them. The north transept is a good example of Norman Transitional style.

 

Ripon Cathedral

The crossing. The central tower was reconstructed by building two pointed arches and three massive pillars in the Perpendicular style. The south side of the choir and the east side of the south transept were rebuilt.

 

Ripon Cathedral

A 3rd fine bronze sculpture of 'Mary and Christ'

 

Ripon Cathedral

The Lady Chapel has become the Cathedral Library of Ripon Cathedral houses the 'Treasury' including the Saxon brooch known as the 'Ripon Jewel'. It was built over the Chapter House in the late 14th century.

 

Ripon Cathedral

The larger 'heraldic' stained glass window in the library

 

Ripon Cathedral

Details of the heraldic stained glass in the library.

 

Ripon Cathedral Ripon Cathedral

Two fine medieval? stained glass panels in the library.

 

Ripon Cathedral

The Art Nouveau pulpit in bronze on marble columns dating from 1910 or 1913?

 

Ripon Cathedral

Art Nouveau pulpit with the choir screen in the distance.

 

Ripon Cathedral

The figures depict four Saxon saints and their crests are replicated on the kneelers.

 

 

Ripon Cathedral

The arcade columns and stained glass windows of the south aisle of the nave.

 

Ripon Cathedral

Details of some of the stained glass windows in the south aisle.

 

Ripon Cathedral Ripon Cathedral
Ripon Cathedral Ripon Cathedral

A few fragments of surviving medieval glass at the west end of the south aisle.

 

Ripon Cathedral

Medieval? or later? stained glass in the north aisle.

 

Ripon Cathedral

Medieval? or later? stained glass in the north aisle.

 

Ripon Cathedral

Medieval? or later? stained glass in the north aisle.

 

Ripon Cathedral Ripon Cathedral

Victorian and more modern stained glass window panels in the north transept. The north transept remains as Archbishop Roger (Archbishop of York from 1154-1181) built it in the later 12th century. The left heraldic panels were put up in 1840 by Lord Grantly of Markenfield to commemorate his long ancestry stretching back to John of Gaunt and Edward III.

 

Ripon Cathedral

The medieval screen below the organ, that separates the nave-crossing from the choir-chancel. The brightly painted figures date from 1946 and depict important people in the history of Ripon Cathedral including Archbishop Thurstan (founder of Fountains Abbey), King Athelstan (who created the 'Liberty of Ripon' AD 926) and Archbishop Longley (the first Bishop of Ripon in 1836).

 

Ripon Cathedral

The medieval screen, organ and the entrance to the choir and chancel.

 

Ripon Cathedral

The chancel, Victorian restored (1854?) Great East Window of  ~1300, executed in grand Gothic style, and before it the high altar and screen. The screen above the high altar is by Ninian Comper.

 

Ripon Cathedral

Details of the high altar and Reredos, whose figures are depictions of the key contemporaries of St Wilfrid and is also a War Memorial to Riponians killed in the First World War.

 

Ripon Cathedral

Details of the great east window (Victorian 1854), a true homage to the great architecture of the medieval Gothic stone masons and builders.

 

Ripon Cathedral

The choir stalls and organ. These are some of the most famous and finest choir stalls in England and there are fourteen stalls on either side and eight returned against the Screen and topped by intricately carved canopies (see below). They were carved by Ripon craftsmen between 1489 and 1494 under the leadership of William Bromflet, later known as William Carver who became Wakeman i.e. Mayor of Ripon in 1511. In 1660 the then spire of the central tower collapsed, fell through the roof and wrecked many of the canopies, which were replaced in the 19th century with copies of William Bromflet's work However, the seats or Misericords are outstanding surviving examples of medieval craftsmanship - many are illustrated at the end of the page - fantastic carvings.

 

Ripon Cathedral

Details of the late 15th century choir stalls.

 

Ripon Cathedral

The fine intricate carving of the oak choir stalls which were completed in 1494 by Ripon woodcarvers.

 

Ripon Cathedral

A whole selection of the late 15th century misericords - the carvings on the back of the choir stall seats.

 

Ripon Cathedral

 

Ripon Cathedral

 

Ripon Cathedral

 

Ripon Cathedral

 

Ripon Cathedral

 

Ripon Cathedral

 

Ripon Cathedral

 

Ripon Cathedral

 

Ripon Cathedral

 

Ripon Cathedral

 

Ripon Cathedral

 

Ripon Cathedral

 

Ripon Cathedral

 

Ripon Cathedral

 

Ripon Cathedral

 

Ripon Cathedral

? Street by which you approach Ripon Cathedral from the town centre.

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