A CATHEDRAL celebrating its 900th anniversary year has been described as an ‘architectural masterpiece’ by author and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg.
Lord Bragg, who is originally from Wigton, near Carlisle, said Carlisle Cathedral – at which he will deliver a special lecture next month – has given the city ‘great distinction’.
Lord Bragg will give a talk in the Cathedral on Friday, March 18 on how William Tyndale’s revolutionary translation of the bible, which led to the King James version, influenced the way we use modern English today.
The lecture is part of a major programme of worship, events, talks, concerts and exhibitions throughout 2022 to mark 900 years since the foundation of Carlisle Cathedral.
Lord Bragg said: “Carlisle Cathedral is an outstanding example of the way in which the cathedral can give a city great distinction. It is an architectural masterpiece and yet, very welcoming to the local community.
“I like to visit Carlisle Cathedral every time I come to the city. As a boy, I have small memories of being taken there for great occasions. Particularly at present, it is vitally important that the Church of England celebrates its powerful history.”
The theme of Carlisle Cathedral’s 900th anniversary programme is Journey and Rest to reflect its role as a place of rest in the restless history of Carlisle and the Border region.
Before Lord Bragg’s lecture, a Choral Evensong will be held at 5.45pm followed by a drinks reception at 6.30pm in the Fratry Hall, where a selection of books from the Cathedral’s historic collection, which were influenced by William Tyndale’s work, will be on display. The lecture takes place in the Cathedral at 7.30pm.
Lord Bragg said Tyndale’s work had changed the way that people could understand the Bible in their own language.
He said: “He liberated the English language through his incomparable translation from Greek, Latin and Hebrew. He was burnt at the stake for his determination to give this country its own voice in what he thought of as the book of God and Christ. His work led to the authorised version in 1611, which transformed the religious thinking of the world.”
Carlisle Cathedral was founded by King Henry I as an Augustinian Priory in 1122 and became the Cathedral Church of the newly created Diocese of Carlisle in 1133.
Its 900th anniversary programme also includes a summer season of music celebrating the history and musical life of the Cathedral; projects involving schools and communities across Cumbria; and an art installation ‘Rest Under the Stars’, which will see part of the Cathedral transformed into a place of rest where people can relax on deckchairs to admire the stars on its world-famous painted ceiling. Headphones with specially-created soundscapes will add to the restful atmosphere of the event, which will take place this summer.
Worship is at the heart of the celebrations, with the Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Stephen Cottrell, taking part in the Cathedral’s Trinity Sunday service on June 12, and former Canons and Deans of Carlisle returning as visiting preachers throughout the year.
The Revd Canon Dr Benjamin Carter, who is Canon Warden at Carlisle Cathedral, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Lord Bragg to Carlisle Cathedral for this lecture, which is one of the highlights of a packed programme of events to mark this special anniversary.
“The last two years have been a time of enormous challenge for everyone.
“Our aim is to offer people an opportunity to find rest among the busyness of daily life, which is something the Cathedral has offered to Carlisle and its diocese throughout its history.”
Tickets for Lord Bragg’s lecture, The Journey to English, cost £25 for the drinks reception and lecture, or £10/£15 for lecture only (16-18 years £5; under 16s free).
To book a place and view the full programme of events visit https://carlislecathedral.org.uk/900years/
Tickets are also available to buy in person from the Cathedral Gift Shop.
An exhibition of images of English Cathedrals by renowned photographer Peter Marlow is on display in the Cathedral until February 27.
The principal sponsor for Carlisle Cathedral’s 900th anniversary programme is Hayward Tod estate agents, based in Carlisle.
Many of the events in the programme are supported by grants from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Friends of Carlisle Cathedral.