Ripon Cathedral is about to embark on an incredible milestone, celebrating 1350 years since its consecration by St Wilfrid in 672AD.

The Anglo-Saxon Crypt is all that remains of Wilfrid’s original basilica church, but this remarkable space is the oldest building of any English Cathedral. Even more remarkably, it still in use today – a place of prayer and reflection at the heart of this historic place.  

Wilfrid’s passion was to lay strong foundations of the Christian church in the Pagan Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, and he became one of the most influential and pioneering leaders. 

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"The Oldest Building of any English Cathedral…"

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About St Wilfrid

Wilfrid’s life was turbulent. His bravery, loyalty and straight-talking led him to face execution, battles and prison when he was younger. However, he also provoked conflict and made enemies through his driven personality and confident, uncompromising self-belief.

After he died, in 710 he was buried here and it is thought his shrine would have been at the top of the church where the high altar is today. A year after his death, a moonbow appeared above Ripon, just as the monks finished evening prayer; a sign, they believed, that through Wilfrid God was blessing this special place.

About Ripon Cathedral

In 672, St Wilfrid built the first basilica church here to serve the community at Ripon. Some 1350 years later, Ripon Cathedral continues as a parish church, working with and for the people of this fantastic city, as well as one of the three sister cathedrals of the Diocese of Leeds, serving over 2.6 million people across the region.

Get Involved

Would you like to work with us to celebrate this 1,350th year?

We are looking for volunteers to help us create events, exhibitions and special occasions.

Email Andy Bates, our Events and Exhibitions Officer, at andybates@riponcathedral.org.uk

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A year of events to remember…

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A Summer of International Art

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The team of artists and staff responsible includes Jo Chesterman, Paul Bailey, Jack Chesterman, Joe Priestley, Olivia Mulligan, Sara Shamma, Chris Bailey & Jo Bussey

A group show by four artists including Sara Shamma, Paul Baily, Jack Chesterman and a visual projection collective. 

We are very fortunate to be able to include Syrian artist Sara Shamma, whose dynamic portraiture is internationally acclaimed. Sara will be producing portaits of St Wilfrid and his contemporaries to bring them to life over 1,300 years after they trod this earth. 

Jack Chesterman will create three paintings depicting elements of Wilfrid’s life, which will be housed in the Anglo-Saxon crypt. Music will stitch the painting and projection together, creating an evocative and immersive experience in the oldest structure of any English Cathedral in use today.

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