Flying Dragon landing at Rochester Cathedral

26th April 2024

Rochester Cathedral will mark 900 years since the creation of Textus Roffensis, the Cathedral’s hugely important contribution to medieval writing, with the installation of a 15m dragon flying high above the nave this summer.

15 metre dragon to take flight in the Nave of Rochester Cathedral this summer – with help from local people.

Inspired by the illuminated artwork found within the pages of Textus Roffensis, the dragon will be made of gold, silver and copper foil sewn onto wire panels and its underbelly will be made from recycled materials from ‘Tape’ a recent exhibition at Chatham Dockyard by Numen/For Use which will have quotes from Textus Roffensis written on them allowing visitors to discover more about early Medieval England.

15metre dragon to take flight in the Nave of Rochester Cathedral this summer – with help from local people.

It will be covered in thousands of embossed golden scales made by visitors to the cathedral as well as local community groups and schools – including artists from the Kent Association for the Blind.

The scales will be available to emboss from May 4 – 30 inside the cathedral. 

Draco Roffensis: The Rochester Dragon has been designed by artist and sculptor, Wendy whose work takes inspiration from the visually impaired communities she has worked with over the last 20 years. Wendy creates tactile sculptures, ‘shadow play’ and site-responsive installations.

Artist Wendy Daws says; “I am truly honoured to receive this commission to celebrate Draco Roffensis and delighted for the opportunity to create an artwork for Rochester Cathedral to mark this special occasion.

“I’m excited to work together with so many different communities, to help create the embossed foil scales, an integral part of the design that will bring the dragon sculpture alive!”

Alongside Draco Roffensis will be a programme of events celebrating Textus Roffensis. Full details of the programme will be announced later in the year but will include family activities and lectures. Textus 900 will culminate in the premiere of a new lightshow by artists, Luxmuralis inspired by manuscripts, illustrations and the culture from the Dark Ages through early Middle Ages.

Textus Roffensis is one of the most important Medieval manuscripts in England. It was written in Rochester in the 1120s by monks at the Priory of St Andrews.  Amongst its contents are the earliest English laws recorded dating back to the 7th century. In 2022 Textus Roffensis was added to the prestigious UNESCO Memory of the World UK Register.

The Rochester Dragon will take flight high above the nave of the cathedral from June 1 until 21 September. 

Details of the events programme will be announced soon on Rochester Cathedral’s social media and website.