Rochester Cathedral wins £3.5m lottery bid to transform crypt
The Heritage Lottery Fund
will give £3.5million to Rochester Cathedral
by Dan Bloom
Rochester Cathedral's prayers have been answered, chiefs will
reveal today after winning approval for a mammoth restoration
The Heritage Lottery Fund has confirmed it will give £3.5million
to revamp the crypt and library and put one of Britain's most
important books on show.
That book is the priceless 889-year-old Textus Roffensis
- a list of laws and kings which is said to be the earliest
example of written English, but is locked away in the Medway
Only the size of a modern-day hardback, it will be the
centrepiece of what is now the Sunday school cupboard in the
The Very Rev Mark Beach, Dean of Rochester, heard the news on
Friday and is due at a press conference this morning.
"I am delighted that the hard work of so many people here at the
cathedral has been recognised by this major grant," he said.
"This will enable us to open up parts of the cathedral which
have been inaccessible and to display our treasures in a way that
will both preserve them and share them with our
Dean of Rochester, the
Very Rev Mark Beach
The bid, which began with an idea for one disabled lift, will
cost £5m in total with charitable trusts and the Friends of
Rochester Cathedral already having raised the rest.
Initial surveys are due next month with major work in September
2013, closing off large parts of the cathedral. The project is due
to end in July 2014.
Archaeologists will dig below the crypt floor, near where
surveys have already found a second tower by Bishop Gundulph which
was knocked down 800 years ago for being unfashionable.
The library will be opened to the public and the cathedral crypt
will become an exhibition space with touch-screen exhibits, new
lights, a disabled lift and glass cases in the floor.
Dr Beach has insisted the cathedral will remain free.
Stuart McLeod, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the south
east, said: "As the second oldest in England, Rochester Cathedral
is steeped in history and is an impressive architectural gem in the
heart of the town.
"With today's support, new opportunities will be made available
for people from near and far to see for themselves what makes the
cathedral such a special place."
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