Occasional Cathedrals – no. 3 Chichester

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We stopped in Chichester for lunch on the way back from our little break in Kent; as the clocks had just gone back this meant the afternoon was short. The roof is being restored and much of the cathedral was covered so just one outside shot. You do not need to pay entry, but it will help pay for the roof if you make a donation; if you don’t carry cash you can pay a fiver by contactless card.

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Chichester was the first cathedral I visited when I was eight. We were staying for a fortnight’s seaside holiday, not far away in a converted railway carriage at Wittering. We went to the beach when it was low tide and had sand. When it was high tide and only shingle with a greater risk of drowning ( Mum and Dad never went in the sea themselves) we visited historical sights.

https://www.chichestercathedral.org.uk/

It was a very long time before I visited again and nothing evoked any memories except the general cathedralness, but I do know my lifelong collecting of picture post cards started that year and I acquired black and white cards of the cathedral which featured quite a few stone tombs. I recall I was most fascinated with the stone effigies, what a strange child I must have been!

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As well as preserving ancient beauty such as stained glass windows and the stonework that holds them in place, cathedrals also acquire new art and music. The first thing you may spot if you are following the leaflet will be a gleaming font made of Cornish polyphant stone (easy to carve and burnish ) with a copper bowl, designed by John Skelton in 1983.

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At the high altar is the wonderfully bright Piper Tapestry designed by John Piper and woven in France in 1966. It depicts the Holy Trinity. In contrast is the simple altar in the Mary Magdalene chapel with the 1961 Graham Sutherland painting depicting Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene on the first Easter morning.

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Another colourful creation is the1978 Marc Chagall window based on Psalm 150 ...let everything that hath breath praise the Lord..

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I completely missed a statue …mounted high over the entrance to the Lady chapel, there is a model at floor level… I only saw the model, no wonder I wasn’t that impressed. One should always look up in cathedrals.

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The cathedral is also celebrating the centenary of the birth of composer Leonard Bernstein. He isn’t one of my favourite composers, but there is one work of his I love which is the Chichester Psalms. While reading the exhibition I saw you could buy in the cathedral shop a CD recorded by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra with their previous conductor the American Marin Alsop. But when we got to the shop it had already closed at four o’clock, so I came away with no souvenirs.

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https://bernsteinchichester.uk/

 

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