The Dragon has landed – Rochester Cathedral

04th June 2024

A spectacular dragon inspired by illuminated artwork in Rochester Cathedral’s treasured manuscript, Textus Roffensis and made with community involvement has taken flight in the cathedral nave for the summer.

The Dragon has landed – Rochester Cathedral

The sculpture, Draco Roffensis, the Rochester Dragon, celebrates 900 years since the creation of Textus Roffensis, the Cathedral’s most significant contribution to medieval writing which was added to the prestigious UNESCO Memory of the World UK Register in 2022.

Its design was inspired by illuminated artwork found within the pages of Textus Roffensis and it was created by artist Wendy Daws.

It is made of gold, silver and copper foil sewn onto wire panels – around 25,000 scales cover the dragon – these were embossed by visitors and members of the local community over the last few weeks. The underside of its wings carries quotes from Textus Roffensis.

The dragon took flight this weekend and it has been suspended above the Nave allowing services and events to continue underneath.

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 the artwork is a programme of events celebrating Textus Roffensis. These include live performances and lectures. The programme will culminate with the premiere of a new lightshow by Luxmuralis inspired by manuscripts, illustrations and the culture from the Dark Ages through to the early Middle Ages.

Draco Roffensis The dragon has landed at Rochester Cathedral

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.

Draco Roffensis: The Rochester Dragon is open until the 21st September. Admission is free and the artwork is viewable during Cathedral opening hours.