Enjoy the cathedral’s
With free entry, visitors can pick up trails for all ages in this “awesome and friendly” historic building, exploring its many wonders, like those before them over the last 1350+ years.
Step into St Wilfrid’s underground Anglo-Saxon crypt from 672AD, the oldest built structure in any English cathedral. Discover centuries of craftsmanship in stone, stained glass and wood, including delightfully intricate carvings which are thought to have inspired author Lewis Carroll. Stop and listen to the living heritage of music when the choir sings.
St. Wilfrid (c633-710) was one of the great missionary leaders of the church in the 7th century. He was educated on Lindisfarne and, fortunate in being favoured by a young queen, was able to extend his education by visiting Kent, Lyon and Rome. The incredible impression made on him by great basilicas and the Benedictine Rule would influence the development of the church in these islands.
Step back in time and faith across 1350+ years along catacomb-like passages into this underground place of prayer and devotion, still intact from Wilfrid’s original church of 672AD. Amidst flickering candles, touch the stones where visitors and pilgrims have paused and prayed over the centuries. See the medieval alabaster portraying the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Great East
Gaze up in admiration at this beautiful window, larger than a cricket wicket. Here in 1300, the stonemasons celebrated God as the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Spot the eternal circles and 3-in-1 geometric designs.
In the 1800s, the ancient stonework was filled with vibrant stained-glass images of Jesus and his apostles.
Be amazed by the stunning woodwork in the quire, most of it carved in c1480s: hugely detailed choir stalls and misericords (mercy-seats) filled with glimpses of medieval life, Biblical scenes and fantastic figures, thought to have inspired ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.’
Look out for the rabbit, the monkey, the elephant, and for the over-hanging hand, which once beat time for the choir.
Look out for many modern features including the dramatic metalwork in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit; the glorious gold and blue reredos (screen) at the high alter; the five million+ stitches in the hand-embroidered cushions depicting the history of Ripon; the poignant words of World War I poet, Wilfred Owen on the ‘Pity of War’ in the Chapel of Justice and Peace, and the three brilliant bronze sculptures of Jesus and Mary by Harold Gosney.
Ripon Cathedral has been a living church and a centre of pilgrimage throughout its 1350-year history. Its sacred spaces still attract people for worship, prayer and quiet contemplation. Its links with national and church history, along with historical figures, provide enlightening pilgrim trails which can open 21st century hearts and minds.
In The Area
Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful buildings with fascinating histories. A day visit can include magnificent places on our doorstep. Head to Visit Ripon for inspiration
Discover 1350 years of history in one building through the fascinating articles highlighting some of our favourite hidden features
sustain the future life and mission of
The cathedral has stood for 1350+ years, symbolising the durability of the Christian Faith in the face of many changes across the centuries.
Enjoy supporting the life, music and fabric of Ripon Cathedral and you will be playing a vital part in the preservation and development of this wonderful building.