Friends Celebrate Day of Success

by Gerry Lynch last modified 01 Oct, 2015 11:37 AM

Cathedral friends enjoy a highly successful annual Friends' Day

Friends Celebrate Day of Success

Duncan Glass, chairman of the Friends of Salisbury Cathedral, June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury and Professor Nicholas Vincent pictured in the Big School Room of Salisbury Cathedral School before Prof Vincent’s lecture on Elias de Dereham.

The Friends of Salisbury Cathedral enjoyed a highly successful annual Friends’ Day which coincided with the height of the Magna Flora flower festival.

As well as the joys of flowers, Professor Nicholas Vincent spoke about Elias de Dereham, friends enjoyed a guided walk around the Close, a cream tea and the opportunity to visit the Turner’s Wessex exhibition at the museum and the chapel of Salisbury Cathedral School.

The day began in the school’s Big School Room with the Friends’ AGM.

Friends’ president, Dean of Salisbury, the Very Revd June Osborne, paid tribute to Friends’ chairman Duncan Glass and secretary Kate Beckett, calling them “the dream team”.

And turning to Professor Vincent, she said, “Nicholas has been most generous in coming to give several lectures during our Magna Carta year.

“Salisbury has been able to play a major role in the 800th anniversary celebrations of Magna Carta – we have really done this anniversary proud and it is breath-taking what we have achieved.”

She said the Cathedral’s 30-year Major Repair Programme was due to be completed in a couple of years’ time, with £900,000 still to be raised.

“But we can see the finishing line,” she said.

After that, she said, the Cathedral’s Master Plan aimed to give greater public access to the Cathedral’s treasures, such as the library and archives, heighten its spiritual impact, broaden its educational role and open up the south side of the Close, the latter allowing “more people to see what John Constable saw”.

This would involve moving the school out into modern facilities and bringing in Magna Carta, the archives and library.

“We cannot do any of this without the community’s support,” she said.

Mrs Beckett said the Friends now had nearly 3,400 members and had a full programme of events planned for next year, including an open gardens event.

Professor Vincent, who teaches courses in medieval European History and the Crusades, and has led a major project researching the background to Magna Carta, said Elias de Dereham is presented as “England’s first architect”.

But he was not an architect in the way we think of one today, rather he was an agent – “an expert administrator of building sites”.

“Most people served one bishop or great figure, but he served in more than a dozen of the great households,” he said.

If Salisbury Cathedral matters to you, please have a look at its Draft Master Plan, which sets out a vision for developing the Cathedral and Close for the next fifty years: details here. Also, please fill in the online consultation on the Draft Master Plan: see here.

The Friends of Salisbury Cathedral is an independent charity with over 3000 members, all sharing a common interest: to contribute to the enhancement and maintenance of this beautiful medieval Cathedral church, its fellowship and community. Have a look at its website.

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