Whilst The Friends of Rochester Cathedral exists to raise money for the repair and restoration of the Cathedral, as a diverse and friendly community of people, we also have a calendar of social activities throughout the year.
Oberammagau and a choice of attending an opera at the Arena di Verona Opera House. 8 days departing 12th August 2020
Visit the Passion play at Oberammergau. This wonderful event only happens at the end of each decade so it will be 2030 before you have another opportunity! An opportunity to also visit an opera in Verona. Because of the popularity of this event we need to book now. This trip will cost from £1,469 and will require a deposit of £150. For booking, please telephone 07563 059756 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Social activities programme 2018 - 2019
Hampton Court Flower Show – 5th July
The Friends of Rochester Cathedral Association are planning a trip to the Hampton Court Flower Show this summer. Due to the popularity of this Show, we need to have your booking and full payment, if possible, BY THE END OF JANUARY 2018. Cheques please, made payable to: FRIENDS OF ROCHESTER CATHEDRAL for £54.00 and sent to Christine Tucker in the Friends Office located in Garth House. This payment includes the Coach, Boat Trip and Entrance Fee to the Show. Bring a packed lunch for the boat trip. Full details from Heather Sinclair on 01634 202105 or 07796095662
We are hoping to arrange a trip to Cobham Hall early next year. Unfortunately they have not opened their booking diary yet so we are unable to give further details.
This would be a self drive event and there is plenty of parking space.
Margate by Coach
Following the successful trips to Brighton and Southend we continue our Seaside Theme with a possible trip to Margate to see the Turner Gallery and Dreamland.
Heading south we are exploring the Isle of Wight or Winchester in the spring. We may take the holiday over a week-end so working people may be able to join us. Also it would be good to be able to visit a Cathedral for the Eucharist.
Coach Trip to Hatfield House
Hatfield House is a country house set in a large park, the Great Park, on the eastern side of the town of Hatfield, Hertfordshire. This Jacobean house is a leading example of the prodigy house, and was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, First Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I and has been the home of the Cecil family ever since.
An earlier building on the site was the Royal Palace of Hatfield. Only part of this still exists, a short distance from the present house. That palace was the childhood home and favourite residence of Queen Elizabeth I.
Henry VIII's children, King Edward VI and the future Queen Elizabeth I, spent their youth at Hatfield Palace. In November 1558, Elizabeth held her first Council of State in the Great Hall. Hatfield House is a popular tourist attraction because it has so many objects associated with Queen Elizabeth I, including some gloves and a pair of silk stockings that are believed to have been the first ones in England. The library displays a 22 feet (6.7 m) long illuminated parchment roll showing the pedigree of the Queen with ancestors back to Adam and Eve. The Marble Hall holds the "Rainbow Portrait" of Elizabeth.
Details of all of these trips and events will be made in the Autumn Newsletters.
Our recent activities
St Andrew’s Day Lunch 30th November, West Malling Golf Course Club House
The weather was kind and stayed dry, even the sun shined for a brief while
70 guests attended and throughly enjoyed the occasion.The buzz in the room was palpable, the meal, under the supervision of Kate Still , was excellent and enjoyed by all. Our guest speaker was Father Stephen Padfield. He is Chaplin to the King’s School and spoke about his time at the school.He explained his daily routine and the purpose of Chaplin’s within school; it was very witty and most interesting. This was the second year running that the Friends have chosen West Malling as a venue.It was to be hoped that the location might attract members from that side of the diocese. We shall continue to try; it would be good to meet up with our members who live in and around the Bromley area. Date for your diary for next year. ST ANDREW’S DAY FRIDAY 30TH NOVEMBER
Chartered Boat Trip to SOUTHEND
Our chartered trip to Southend was well attended, with around 40 members and guests joining in the adventure. Thanks to Canon Rachel Philips for her prayers to send us on our way. The Captain's running commentary was very informative as we viewed familiar landmarks from a whole new perspective.
We rocked and rolled as the boat entered the Thames estuary but we are seasoned travellers and took it in our stride! At the end of the pier the train was waiting to take us the mile and a half to the joys of lunch and a stroll along the prom or exploring the delights of the busy shopping area. We had an enjoyable return journey with coffee, tea,raffle and the bar available. I took the opportunity to invite everyone to suggest other trips we could include next year and made a list that would probably take us up to 2030.Friends commented that this trip was only possible as a charter as there is no longer a regular service to Southend so were glad of the opportunity and the freedom to do their own thing ashore.
Quiz Night with a Fish & Chip Supper in the Crypt – Thursday, 21st September 2017 This was a great success! All the twelve tables of eight person teams were booked out and the Bar and Fish & Chip Supper were greatly enjoyed. Thank you to all who attended and all who made it possible. We will follow up this event in 2018.
York Four Day Holiday by Coach
The Friends' holiday this year was based around York. Staying in the comfortable Monk Bar Hotel we ventured out daily to take in the sights and places of interest.
On day one we visited Ampleforth School and Abbey. We were welcomed with a brief organ recital by the school's organ scholar who played brilliantly demonstrating the external trumpet stop and the pipes of this are high on the wall above the arch. This was followed by a guided talk given by one of the fathers. All most enjoyable.
Lunch in The Pheasant Inn at Harome followed and was a particular highlight.
Our second day in York took us out to Selby Abbey and again the newly refurbished organ was demonstrated for us. This visit concluded with a guided tour and coffee.
In the evening we visited Ripon, had dinner in the Spa hotel and were treated to a brief introduction to Ripon and its history by George Pickles, one time Hornblower to the city.
A Silver talk followed in the Town Hall and then we all attended the Setting of the Watch ceremony at 9 pm.
Both days in York afforded free time and several members attended Evensong at the Minster.
En route home we stopped at Hardwick Hall and then took lunch at the Hardwick Inn.
An enjoyable four days away and it was great to have maximum capacity of 53 passengers , four of which joined us in York. Sheila Crick, Henry and Mary Stapleton and Alan Vousden.
DAY TRIP TO BRIGHTON – 22nd April I watched the weather forecast anxiously for a week prior to the Friends’ day visit to Brighton. It would be nice, though not essential, to have a fair day. The forecast, day after day was “DRY. FINE BUT COOLER.” The day dawned, we all forgathered at the Visitors; centre Car park and IT WAS RAINING !! Nothing daunted, we set off at 9.30 am, all 45 of us on time and aboard and, as we travelled, the rain ceased and finally out came the sun.
More importantly, we had an excellent run to the coast, in the capable hands of owner-driver, Mick of MM COACHLINES, a local firm, and cheerfully painted in blue so hard to miss. Parking for the coach was a problem for our driver, as the Marine Drive was closed but we decanted in the road behind and went our different ways, most of us looking for the necessary coffee shop. It seems as though the decision of the Social Committee to make this a day completely free for whatever those on board wanted to do was a good one. The variety of activities in Brighton meant that there was plenty of choice, from ascending in the new (and frequently-breaking-down) tower, the Pavilion, Sea Life, or, like me, enjoying a happy pottering, taking in the sea air, having coffee, lunch and people-watching. Some met friends or family.
Another good journey home by 6.00pm and the feedback so far has been positive and encouraging. Having the trip on a Saturday proved what we had hoped, that younger, working people or working partners could come too, and we had a fair smattering of those on this outing.
Advent Lunch at West Malling Golf Club, November 30th . Some 60 Friends sat down to a superb lunch at West Malling Golf Club. Our guest speaker was Revd. Peter Lock, former Archdeacon. His address was most entertaining. The venue proved to be a great success and we have already booked again for 2017. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible and especially, having moved the venue to the far end of the diocese, it would be wonderful to be able to welcome Friends from this part of Kent.
Music for a Summer's Evening: A concert of Light and Classical Music was held at Rochester Cathedral on Saturday 23rd July 2016. The doors opened at 6.30pm for concert beginning at 7.30pm. The audience was 284 strong and free refreshments including red and white wine, cordials and water were given out during the 20 minute interval. The Concert showcased a packed two hour programme of talent including The Brook Orchestra, All Right On The Night, The Medway Singers and CHORISMA a childrens choir. Our Cathedral's Musical Director, Scott Farrell played the Imperial March from Star Wars and the epic finale piece of Handel's Zadok the Priest accompanied by the Medway Singers.
Visit to Allington Castle 19th July 2016 for a Garden and House Tour included forty one "Friends" who met at Allington Castle for what turned out to be a memorable and informative afternoon private tour of both the Castle, now the home of Sir Robert and Lady Worcester,and the gardens.
In the middle of the tour we were entertained to tea,scones and cakes in the Great Hall before continuing with our visit. We were fortunate enough to be able to partake in one of the limited opportunities for such a visit.
It was very good to be so well supported and to welcome some new faces on our outings.
Chichester Visit June 4th 2016. A very early start-8am for our journey to Chichester. Our first glimpse of the ancient church at Bosham lifted our spirits and its interior enthralled the historians amongst us. Next we were dropped off at the Cathedral doors to visit the Flower Festival. The queue snaked in and we followed a perfumed trail of outstanding floral creations around the Cathedral. Some Friends were able to explore the Roman excavations at the Visitors Centre or stroll along the City walls. It was a day full of history and colour, one to be remembered.
FRIENDS VISIT TO FAVERSHAM AND BELMONT HOUSE On the 12th April 2016, blessed with wonderful weather all morning 50 Friends visited Faversham for a brief walking tour. This was led by the Rev. Peter Lock, well known to most as our former Archdeacon.
We walked via the Market place ,with the market in full swing, to the beautiful parish church with Peter pointing out interesting buildings en route. During the tour of the church we were able to see the exhibition commemorating the centenary of the great explosion at the Gunpowder Mill of Faversham.
Then walking via the former Grammar School ,Arden House and Abbey Street we had coffee at the Sun Inn.
We then drove on to Brogdale Fruit Farm for lunch.
After lunch we drove to Belmont House arriving in a brief hale storm however the weather changed. A most informative tour of the House, given by expert guides, and its world famous clock collection after which we then we enjoyed a generous cream tea in the Orangery. By now the sun had returned and some walked in the beautiful grounds. It was great to see this splendid Regency house in all its glory.
We returned to Rochester at precisely 6 pm after a most enjoyable day.
CANDLELIT MUSICAL PILGRIMAGE OF THE CATHEDRAL'S HISTORY WITH SUPPER On the 3rd March 2016, this event was open to members and non members alike, and included a series of stops at points of historical interest around the Cathedral where a Cathedral Guide spoke, followed by music relating to that particular period of history. A short Organ recital ended the tour followed by a light Supper with drinks.
We had a full house for this, the first Musical Pilgrimage ever to be held at Rochester. The lay clerks directed by Scott led the music, Brian Micklewright delivered the commentary, lighting was organised and directed by Andrew Coulson this together with enormous help from Colin and his team made for a most memorable evening. The evening ended with a superb supper, provided by the King’s School caterers, and was served in the South transept. The monies raised will be donated to the Cathedral Music Trust. It is hoped to repeat the occasion next year. My thanks go to all who supported this unique event.
On the 5th November Jacob Scott gave an enjoyable, informative and entertaining talk on his 3D Imaging Projects in respect of the Architectural elements of the Cathedral, the Castle and the Synagogue to an audience of 80 in the King's School Hall.
Wednesday 2nd December: Advent Lunch This year the Advent Lunch was held at the Rivers restaurant at Upchurch Golf Club. There was an excellent take up for tickets, namely 79. The guest speaker this year was Father John Thackeray, the recently retired school chaplain at the King's School. Father John has now returned to parish life in Ipswich. We are therefore most grateful to him for taking the time out to return to Kent for us. He spoke about School life and the strong link between the School and Cathedral and was well received .The caterers produced an exceptionally fine meal and our thanks go to them.
Thanks to all who supported the event.
Saturday 5th September 2015 saw the Friends on a wonderful coach trip visit to Ely Cathedral.
Tuesday 19th May - Friday 22nd May 2015 - Residential visit to Hereford, with visits to the American Museum in Bath, Stokesay Castle, a full day in Hereford, including the Cathedral, Malmesbury and Chavenage Manor House.
After an uneventful journey we arrived at the American Museum in Bath. The museum traces the history of North America from its native roots through early settlers to present day. It is housed in a beautiful mansion over looking the city and members enjoyed a superb lunch here.
Arriving in Hereford some two hours later , we made base in our hotel and after a pre dinner drink and a superb dinner , all retired for the night.
The next day saw us visit Stokesay Castle, an incredible example of a fortified Manor House. From there we visited Dunkertons cider mill for a light lunch and we then returned to Hereford through the countryside.
Day three, in the morning, the Chairman and a very small group, visited Belmont Priory, a Benedictine monastery and the home of the Prior of Rochester. Unfortunately the whole group could not visit as the prior, Father Luke, is frail and the monastery not large enough to take us all.
For the rest of the day we were guests of the Friends of Hereford Cathedral. They entertained us "right royally" , covering our every need. Tours of the cathedral , the beautiful gardens, lunch, Mappa, Mundi together with the chain library and Magna Carta and then completed with afternoon tea and Evensong were all included.
We were finally waved goodbye by the Secretary of the Friends, Mrs June Chase. A day to remember for a very long time.
Our final day having left the hotel and we stopped briefly for coffee and visited Malmesbury Abbey and then called into Chavenage Manor. This is still a family home and the family took us around their beautiful home explaining all its history and then entertained us to afternoon tea . A definite highlight of the tour.
We arrived back in Rochester at the end of a very busy and enjoyable four days.
Friday 13th March 2015: Cathedral Friends were treated to a Crypt Archaeology Tour to review the progress made and see the difficulties being faced by the team.
Our first visit for 2015 was a day trip to Denbies Wine Estate in March. Located just outside Dorking the vineyard's terroir has been planned and grown similarly to that of the Champagne region of France. Here we saw the vineyards planted with some 28 varieties of grape; the later ripening varieties being hand picked. In 2014 the latest pickings took place on November 19th.
Click on the pictures below for larger images of some recent highlights.
After an entertaining and informative "train" ride through the estate we returned to an audiovisual presentation and subsequent wine tasting in the cellars. A superb lunch was served and after purchasing local produce, souvenirs and of course, wine our party of 43 returned to Rochester. An enjoyable trip for all.