Rocester Cathedral. Tympanum, West Door. Public Domain, Mattana

study visits

Rochester Cathedral

  • Wednesday 17 April 2024
    (1.15 for 1.30pm Meet inside West Door)
  • Lecture: John McNeill

Squeezed between its larger diocesan neighbours in Canterbury and London, Rochester Cathedral has been rather overlooked by historians of England’s medieval diocesan cathedrals. This visit is an opportunity to review that, and is undertaken in the light of the recent restoration work on the crypt.

Rochester was the second cathedral to be founded in the wake of Augustine’s mission, and though nothing can now be seen of that church (founded in 604), its position and plan are known. The current cathedral reflects an expansion initiated by Bishop Gundulf in the decades following the Norman Conquest. Material from this phase certainly survives, as does the repaired nave and west front – both reconstructed following a fire in 1137 – and the early Gothic presbytery and choir. We shall look at all this work, along with the important fragmentary remains of the cloister east range and Rochester’s important collection of later medieval tomb monuments.

There are regular train services to Rochester from London Victoria and London St Pancras International (including the high speed Javelin service)


John McNeill lectures for the Department of Continuing Education at Oxford University and is a Vice-President of the London Art History Society for whom he has delivered numerous courses and led study tours and cathedral visits. He is the Secretary of the British Archaeological Association, for whom he has edited and contributed to volumes on English medieval cloisters, chantries and Romanesque material culture.

Members only

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This event is fully booked. Members may apply for one of the limited number of waiting list places, but no payment should be made. If a place becomes available, the waiting list will be contacted in chronological order and payment will be requested at that time. Please contact the event organiser if in doubt.

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