Ripon Cathedral is in the Diocese of Leeds, as is Bradford Cathedral and Wakefield Cathedral. It’s all very confusing and far better to concentrate on the places themselves than the machinations of the Church of England.
That’s what I do anyway.
It’s much more important to see Ripon for what it is, a fine beautiful cathedral with a warm welcome, a big heart and much to enjoy.
The front where the main door is to be found is just spectacular.
“Morning!” Boomed the lady welcoming me: “Are you here to find out about joining the choir?”
I wasn’t, but she effusively told me about what to look out for and what not to miss, and so my mission began. I was warned not to miss the crypt and so this is where I began. One of the guides warned of the steep steps and made sure the light was on.
The crypt was built in 672 by St Wilfred and the whole cathedral stands atop it making it one of the oldest places of worship in the country and the oldest structure of any English cathedral. Pausing for a moment in the dimly lit room can be a deeply meaningful experience. Having it to myself made it very special.
Another feature is the screen which is really beautifully carved, it gives the sense, as you enter the quire, of great peace and tranquility a sense which continues with you as you journey into this quiet part of the church near the altar.
Here, you can not help but be taken by the beautiful ancient wood carving on the stalls and wonder what stories they could tell having stood there for hundreds of years.
Given the importance of Ripon, it’s astonishing that it didn’t gain cathedral status until the 1830’s but it has stood, resolute through all that time when so many of the great churches of Yorkshire were trashed during the Reformation.
And like other churches and cathedrals, they adapted to the new normality of Covid-19 by live streaming services and now, like other places of worship, they were able to open again. Judging from the warmth, the enthusiasm and the generosity of the staff and volunteers, reopening is something they have been absolutely desperate to get on with. Go and experience for yourself, you’ll be very welcome.
He is a part-time management consultant focused on voluntary sector leadership. He is also the CEO of Action Pre-eclampsia. His photography has been widely published everywhere from the Washington Post to Vogue. In 2019, in advance of the Year Of Cathedrals, Year of Pilgrimage he decided to attempt to visit and photograph every Anglican and Catholic Cathedral in England and Wales.