Ripon Cathedral, North Yorkshire – East End

I hope you enjoyed the West End of this lovely Cathedral in the last blog. Now let’s enjoy the East End of the Cathedral. On the south side of the Quire is the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. The screen and altar rail was made by Leslie Durbin, 1970 – this is the craftsman who made the Stalingrad sword of honour and designed the first £1 coins – would you believe it is over 30 years since pound coins were first introduced (his obituary is aon the Guardian website). The screen combines a striking lightning-bolt motif, with flames symbolizing the fire of Pentecost. Lovely altar frontal too.

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On the north side we have St Peter’s Chapel with a loved rounded altar made from a medieval stone font. It was given a glass top when the chapel was re-dedicated in 1998. The painting is a copy of an original by Peter Paul Rubens in Antwerp Cathedral.

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The High Altar has an altarpiece designed by Sir Ninian Comper in 1922 as a memorial to those who died in the First World War. Their names are recorded on panels at either side. The figure of a beardless Christ reflects the youth of those who died. He is flanked by the Archangel Michael and St George. The East window dates from about 1300, although the glass is Victorian, William Wailes, 1854. Christ and the twelve disciples, over scenes from Acts of the Apostles.

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The sedilia is C14. You can still see traces of the pigment among the carving.

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There has been an organ here since 1399 – it would be fascinating to know more about the mechanics of such an early instrument – but this instrument dates to 1878. You can see a mechanical wooden hand which dates from 1695 and can be operated to beat time for the choir. That would be worth watching.

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october b 196The Quire stalls were made by a team of local carvers between 1489 and 1494. The misericords are marvellous.

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Choral Evensong included Howells “Collegium Regale” and Hadley “My beloved spake” – very well sung by a small choir (10 boys + 2 probs) and 6 adults. 14 of us in the congregation. We went out to a floodlit Cathedral – what a wonderful afternoon.

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