Carlisle Cathedral unveils its 900th anniversary programme: Journey and Rest

31st January 2022

Visitors are invited to Rest Under The Stars listening to a specially created soundscape, attend a lecture by prestigious Cumbrian broadcaster and author Melvyn Bragg, and be part of a summer season of music, worship and events at Carlisle Cathedral this year – as it celebrates 900 years.

Carlisle Cathedral unveils its 900th anniversary programme: Journey and Rest

The cathedral has just unveiled its 900th anniversary programme themed around Journey and Rest to reflect Carlisle Cathedral’s role as a place of rest in the restless history of its city and region.

This summer, part of the Cathedral will be transformed into a place of rest where people can relax on deckchairs and admire the stars on its world-famous painted ceiling while listening to specially created soundscapes they can tune into via headphone sets.

Highlights include a lecture by Cumbrian broadcaster and author Melvyn Bragg on March 18; a summer season of music celebrating the history and musical life of the Cathedral; a series of exhibitions which was launched this weekend with The English Cathedral by award winning Magnum photographer, Peter Marlow (January 29 to February 27), and projects involving schools and communities across Cumbria.

Worship is at the heart of the celebrations, with the Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Stephen Cottrell, taking part in the Cathedral’s Trinity Sunday service on June 12, and throughout the year former Canons and Deans of Carlisle will return as visiting preachers.

The Revd Canon Dr Benjamin Carter, Canon Warden at Carlisle Cathedral, said: “The last two years have been a time of enormous challenge for everyone.

“Our 900th anniversary programme of events aims to offer people an opportunity to find rest among the busyness of daily life, which is something the Cathedral has offered to Carlisle and its diocese throughout its history.

“We’re working with several different charities and organisations throughout the year to create a year to remember. For the Rest Under the Stars installation, local arts charity, Prism Arts, will help us transform part of the cathedral into a place of rest and relaxation where people can leave daily life behind.”

Canon Carter said the Cathedral was integral to the heritage of the area, providing a place of rest over the centuries which continues today.

“For 900 years, Carlisle Cathedral has continued to faithfully serve the diocese, the city and the county,” he said.

“It has acted as a place of rest throughout its history, welcoming and giving shelter to visitors, travellers and pilgrims, and, as we emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic, the programme of events, activities and engagement to mark this special anniversary will enable people to be part of this ongoing life of journey and rest in many different ways.”

As part of the 900th anniversary celebrations, Church of England schools throughout the Carlisle Diocese are being invited to join an arts project to create a Schools’ Labyrinth, which will be installed in the Fratry Hall, while University of Cumbria students are creating an exhibition exploring the theme of Journey and Rest through the Cathedral’s heritage.

Carlisle Cathedral unveils its 900th anniversary programme: Journey and Rest

Melvyn Bragg, Lord Bragg of Wigton, will give a lecture in the Cathedral about how William Tyndale’s revolutionary translation of the Bible influenced modern English, with Choral Evensong and a drinks reception in the Fratry Hall held before the event.

The anniversary programme also includes events to coincide with the Hadrian’s Wall 1900 festival, which also takes place during 2022.

Carlisle Cathedral was founded by King Henry I as an Augustinian Priory in 1122 and became the Cathedral Church of the newly created Diocese of Carlisle in 1133.

The painted gold stars on the blue ceiling of the Cathedral date from the 19th century, and have become a world-renowned feature.

The principal sponsor for Carlisle Cathedral’s 900th anniversary programme is Hayward Tod estate agents, based in Carlisle.

Many of the events in the programme are supported by grants from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Friends of Carlisle Cathedral.

They will take place in and around the Cathedral, including at The Fratry which reopened in 2020 following a major restoration project for the former medieval dining hall including a new cafe extension.

For the full programme of events and to book tickets click here.

Tickets are also available to buy in person from the Cathedral Gift Shop.

Cathedral Events Calendar - What's On