In Culture

These treasures found in Bradford Cathedral sit alongside an Anglo Saxon portable sundial, the Magna Carta, a pair of 15th century pilgrim boots, a pre-Raphaelite painted altarpiece and the first Bible in the Welsh Language – just some of the 50 remarkable artefacts cared for and preserved by cathedrals in England and Wales that will feature in a special social media campaign by the Association of English Cathedrals (AEC) based on a new publication Deans’ Choice: Cathedral Treasures of England and Wales.

The AEC’s #CathedralTreasures campaign for Advent and Christmas is based on the latest volume by Janet Gough, OBE, author, lecturer and advisor on historic churches and cathedrals, which tells the story of the treasures from 44 Church of England cathedrals and six cathedrals from the Church in Wales, each one chosen by the Dean or senior clergy of the cathedral featured.

The campaign launches this week with one treasure revealed every day for 50 days and ending with the launch of a competition to name Britain’s favourite cathedral treasure on January 11th, to coincide with Heritage Fund’s Heritage Treasures Day.

Bradford Cathedral’s treasures, our Early Morris & Co. windows (1863 and 1864) and altar frontal (1880s) will be revealed on the 7th December – and we need your likes and shares to get it into the top ten for Britain’s favourite!

Together the treasures span over 1,000 years of history with the earliest treasure, Ripon Cathedral’s ancient crypt of St Wilfrid established in 672 AD, the oldest building of any English cathedral still in use today, to the newest, the Newport Cathedral Rood. This modern work of art by Singaporean artist Tay Swee Siong, was installed in 2020, at the end of the first national lockdown, and is made from wire, and hangs near where the medieval rood would have been.

The Morris & Co. windows and altar frontal are just two of many treasures that can be found in Bradford Cathedral - including the pre Reformation decorative font cover; the West Window by Heaton, Butler and Bayne – which features women of the Bible; and the icon of the Holy Spirit.

The Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Jo Kelly-Moore, who chairs the Association of English Cathedrals says:

We are blessed with an abundance of treasures in our cathedrals. These are a vital part of our heritage and an integral part of our culture, our social history and our identity. In their diversity ultimately each of them is a symbol of what our Cathedrals stand for, to proclaim the glory of God and God’s love for all creation."

Janet Gough, the author of Deans’ Choice: Cathedral Treasures of England and Wales, says:

This beautifully illustrated paperback pays homage to the generations of craftspeople responsible for creating and maintaining cathedrals as we know them today.

The 50 treasures also bear witness to centuries of Christianity and cathedrals as places of worship glorified by artistic expression – here in rood screens, crosses and liturgical items. These local and national treasures are a vital part of our heritage, testifying to the powerful and enduring links between cathedrals and the wider communities of which they are part.

The histories and architecture of our cathedrals have been documented and described in many ways by many people over the years in books of all shapes and sizes. But here their stories are revealed afresh in the voice of the cathedral Dean who treasures it.

Deans’ Choice: Cathedral Treasures of England and Wales is priced at £14.95 and can be bought online at www.cpo.org.uk/cathedral-treasures-shop. 

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Bradford Cathedral
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Bradford Cathedral Exterior

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