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His late Royal Highness, Prince Philip, has given outstanding service to our nation, commonwealth and church. He has been the principal support for Her Majesty the Queen during years of stability and prosperity that characterise her reign. His charitable work and patronage, especially the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, has been an inspiration to many including myself.

We celebrate and give thanks for his life praying for his soul and the wellbeing of the Queen and all the Royal family in their mourning.

Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford, Dean of Chester.

Chester Cathedral has received a grant of £884,000 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the organisation recover and reopen.

Nearly £400 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country including Chester Cathedral in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced today.

The Cathedral was forced to take drastic measures to ensure the viability of the organisation since the start of Covid, to minimise the gap between income and expenditure.  Staff levels were reduced, reserves expended and loans taken to cover losses incurred through 2020.  This award will enable the Cathedral to reopen and reconnect with the city and its communities.

Over £800 million in grants and loans has already been awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations dealing with the immediate challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

This brings the Government’s total investment across grants, capital and repayable finance from the Culture Recovery Fund so far to more than £1.2 billion across over 5,000 individual cultural and heritage organisations and sites.

The second round of awards made today will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said:
“Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced.

Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”

Dean of Chester, the Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford, said:
“It is great news that a grant of up to £884,000 is to be made through the Cultural Recovery Fund to Chester Cathedral.  This will make a huge difference whilst we prepare to open our doors to visitors again.

I hope this means that the Cathedral will be able to make a great contribution as the cultural, heritage and spiritual heart of Chester in the way we did before Covid, benefitting both the local community and its economy as well as enriching the lives of visitors.”

Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“Spring is definitely here, bringing not only sunshine but that sense of optimism and hope for the future. We are all looking forward to heritage places and other visitor attractions reopening and I am very pleased that we have been able to support DCMS in delivering this vital funding to ensure the UK’s heritage sector can rebuild      and thrive, boosting local economies, creating jobs and supporting personal wellbeing.” 

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said:
“The value of our heritage sites and the people who run them has been amply demonstrated, as they have provided an anchor for so many of us through the dark days of the last year.  Vital grants from the Culture Recovery Fund have helped them survive and will now help them recover, as the places we all cherish start to reopen in the months ahead.”

The funding awarded today is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England as well as the British Film Institute and Arts Council England

A new Covid-19 testing centre for people without symptoms is set to open in the heart of Chester city centre, as Chester Cathedral becomes home to Cheshire West and Chester Council’s third asymptomatic testing centre in the borough.

The centres offer twice weekly testing for people who cannot work from home or people who care for family and friends, as well as people who share a household or bubble with a school pupil or someone who works at a school.  One in three people with Covid-19 do not have any symptoms so asymptomatic tests help to identify positive cases and prevent people from spreading the virus unknowingly.

Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “I am really pleased that we are able to work with Chester Cathedral to provide an asymptomatic testing centre at the heart of the city.

This will be an essential support for staff in the retail and hospitality sector as restrictions ease in the coming months.

It is a fabulous example of the community and Council working in partnership, all of us playing our parts in the fight against this dreadful virus.”

Dean of Chester, The Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford, said: “We are very proud that Chester Cathedral can serve its local community in this way during the pandemic.

Opening this building to the NHS, Council staff and local people to help stop the spread of a deadly disease is a return to our core purpose and values.

The cathedral is a significant building in the heart of the city centre with good street level access into the South Transept where testing will take place.

We hope that its use as an asymptomatic testing centre will strengthen the message about how important it is to stop Covid-19 spreading.”

Other Covid-19 testing centres for people without symptoms are located at Stanney Oaks Leisure Centre, in Ellesmere Port, and Winsford Lifestyle Centre.  These two centres have provided more than 25,000 tests since the first site opened in December.  They are open between 9am and 7pm from Monday to Friday and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. No appointment is necessary.

Further details about the opening and operational times of the Chester Cathedral asymptomatic testing centre will be announced in due course.

Anyone who develops Covid-19 symptoms, which include a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change in your sense of taste or smell, should self-isolate immediately and call: 119 or visit: nhs.uk/coronavirus to book a test.

To reduce the spread of Covid-19 everyone is reminded to stay at home as much as possible, wash their hands or use hand sanitiser regularly, cover their face in enclosed spaces and maintain social distancing by keeping two metres away from people they do not live with.

For more information on Covid-19 tests visit: cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/coronavirus and click on COVID-19 testing.

Cathedral logo header

Chester Cathedral is delighted to announce the appointment of Wendy Robertson to a new role, which will officially be called ‘TLT Community Missioner Chester Cathedral’ but is more likely to be known simply as Community Missioner. Wendy will work for three days a week from her base in the Cathedral office and will focus upon poverty and social isolation. Wendy is already known to many in the Cathedral through her support in the introduction of ‘Places of Welcome’ into the Cathedral.

“On behalf of Transforming Lives Together (TLT), I am delighted to announce that Wendy Robertson will be back working with us as we seek to build a movement to tackle poverty in the Diocese of Chester. TLT’s new independent charitable status and an imaginative collaboration with Chester Cathedral, brings a new dimension of possibilities and exciting opportunities to make a tangible difference to the most vulnerable in society. Wendy’s superb track record in addressing issues, such as food poverty and social isolation, is going to be desperately needed as the country emerges from the pandemic. I am thrilled that Wendy is now available for Churches that want to talk to her about TLT’s flagship programmes, ‘Filling the Gap’ and ‘Places of Welcome’, but also to help any Church community think through issues around poverty. Finally I am deeply grateful to Chester Cathedral for their co-operation in making this possible and to those who have financially supported this new start for TLT. Together with our partners, Chester Diocese and the Church Urban Fund we are making a movement to tackle poverty and we invite others to join in.”
The Venerable Ian Bishop
Archdeacon of Macclesfield and Chair of Transforming Lives Together.

What does Cheshire mean to you?  Is there a place in the County that inspires you, an area of outstanding natural beauty, a local park or a little nook or cranny?  Cheshire West and Chester Museums are calling for photographs for a new rolling online exhibition celebrating the Borough launched in February.

The Museums are looking for a photo of a place that means something to you, a partner or family members, with a short piece of writing about it.  It could be a description of where the photo was taken, a poem, a few lines about why you chose it, anything at all.  To help inspire you Kate Harland, Museums and Heritage Manager has written a short poem to accompany her image of Waverton Gorse.

Image of Waverton Gorse by Kate Harland

Once upon a spinning wheel, many spindles ago, the world stopped turning for a year or so.
The girl took to wandering and loved to explore the green lanes and byways close to her door.
She savoured the old names of woodlands she crossed, the spinney, the rough, the garth and the moss.
In covert, common, waste and gorse, she built strongholds of calm on forested floors.
Kate Harland

To submit a contribution to the My Cheshire online exhibition:

  • All photographs to be taken in landscape
  • Locations featured to be named and have public access
  • Images to be taken keeping to National social distancing guidelines
  • No people to appear in any images
  • Images, (min 1MB, max 3MB) and written reflections, (max 60 words), to be submitted via email to: socialmediawestcheshiremuseums@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

My Cheshire, is a joint project between Cheshire West Libraries and West Cheshire Museums and can be viewed from Friday 26 February here.

We have experienced in a variety of ways an extraordinary year.  Some have been ill, some have lost people close to them, some have been overworked in hospitals and some have shielded so they haven’t spoken with neighbours for many months.  It is a time for us to reflect looking backwards and also forwards.  For this purpose as we open the cathedral doors, there will be an opportunity for everyone to tie one, two or three ribbons on the railings outside the cathedral in order to reflect on the last year.

There will be three colours:

Purple – for grief to remember everyone who has died especially those those whom we have loved

Gold – for hope as we step into the future

Red – to be thankful for the NHS and for our own lives

You may want to tie one, two or all three ribbons onto the railings and as you do so, offer a prayer to God.

Be sure to follow the Cathedral on Facebook to know when our ribbons are available. Click here for our Facebook page.

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As part of a longer-term investment aimed at keeping alive the specialist skills needed to repair and maintain our cathedrals the Hamish Ogston Foundation (HOF) has joined forces with the CathedralsWorkshop Fellowship (CWF) to fund twenty-one stonemasonry and joinery trainees at English cathedrals in 2021.

Emergency funding of £535,000 will give the twenty-one trainees, and their employers, stability at a time of uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Without this support, some of the trainees would have had to call a halt to their studies and others would have faced redundancy, with the strong likelihood that their skills would have been lost to the heritage sector.

The funding marks the first phase of a five-year, £2.8m HOF/CWF project to expand heritage training at English cathedrals.  Even before the pandemic, many cathedrals were reaching crisis point, with no dedicated public funding to help them address the backlog of repairs.  Their financial position has been made much worse by Covid-19, in the wake of which it is unlikely that any cathedral will have the money to take on heritage craft trainees in the short term.  The HOF/CWF Craft Training project, details of which will be published shortly, will be key to maintaining the flow of skilled craftspeople on whom the future of our cathedrals depends.

CWF Executive Director Frances Cambrook said: “We are very excited to be working with the Hamish Ogston Foundation on this important initiative. Cathedrals, like everyone, have been hit hard by the pandemic and the immediate future of our craft training programmes was in jeopardy.  The funding will enable training to continue online throughout the rest of this academic year, avoiding the loss of trainee positions, and enable us to plan confidently to increase training opportunities over the next four years”.

Stonemason Tony Murphy is one of the trainees who will benefit directly from this grant. Redundancy had meant that he would have to give up his place on the CWF’s 2-year Foundation degree course, but HOF funding has enabled Tony to take up a placement at Gloucester Cathedral which will allow him to complete the course this year.

Tony said: “The funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation is enabling me to continue my learning through the CWF at Gloucester Cathedral. I am passionate about furthering my skills and deepening my knowledge and experience as a crafts person. The broad range of teaching, work-based learning and professional development provided by the CWF is an invaluable opportunity for me. I am incredibly grateful to the HOF for their support”.

Chester Cathedral Stonemason, Tom Livingstone said: “Being a student on the CWF course at this time has allowed me to maintain a network with like-minded individuals which has been a great comfort.  The HOF funding is providing vital security to the burgeoning masonry department and my personal position at Chester Cathedral.”

Read more:
Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship website:  cwfcathedrals.co.uk
Hamish Ogston Foundation website: hamishogstonfoundation.org

In the silent, moonlit cathedral the little carved, brown mouse sneezed, ‘Atishoo, Atishoo,  Atishoo.’

Children can join Awesome Anselm – a wooden Cathedral mouse – on his third adventure in the glorious setting of Chester Cathedral.  Catch up with Anselm’s old friends the pig and the griffin and meet some new friends, including someone special who has been hiding for centuries right at the very top of the Cathedral, and travel with them all on another exciting escapade.

‘Awesome Anselm and the Chester Imp’ has been created and written by the Cathedral’s Vice Dean, Canon Jane Brooke and illustrated by Patricia Faraday and is now on sale in the Cathedral’s online gift shop at  chestercathedralshop.com.

Priced at £7.99 and with all profits going to the Cathedral’s Education Department, this lovely story book would make a great birthday gift for children aged three to seven.

Almost 450 heritage organisations in England, including Chester Cathedral have been awarded cash from the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage

Grants of up to £1 million will deliver a lifeline for the heritage sector in England with further support to follow and larger grants for capital projects awarded through the Heritage Stimulus Fund

First major tranche of funding from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund

Chester Cathedral is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country set to receive a lifesaving financial boost from the government thanks to the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

445 organisations will share £103 million, including Chester Cathedral to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.

Chester Cathedral has been awarded £16,501 to complete the first phase of a conservation project on the Cathedral’s Baptistry Mosaic flooring.  The grant will support an expert conservator who will bring back to life the Mosaics that have been covered for well over a decade.  The grant will also provide a public viewing platform giving access to St Anselm’s Chapel, which has a fine example of a Jacobean ceiling.

This vital funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund – funded by Government and administered at arms length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Both funds are part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.

433 organisations will receive a share of £67 million from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage to help with costs for operating, reopening and recovery. This includes famous heritage sites across the country, from Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire to Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, Blyth Tall Ship to the Severn Valley Railway, the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincolnshire to the Piecehall in Halifax. The funds will save sites that are a source of pride for communities across the country.

12 organisations, including English Heritage, Landmark Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and the Canal and River Trust, will receive £34 million from the Heritage Stimulus Fund to restart construction and maintenance on cherished heritage sites to preserve visitor attractions and protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors in the sector.

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) has also been awarded a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund through Historic England. The AHF will use the funding to support charities and social enterprises occupying historic buildings to develop new business plans and strategies for organisations affected by the pandemic.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
“As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounceback post covid.”

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces, said:
“There’s no truer way to experience the past than to walk in the footsteps of those who have lived it – that’s why preserving our built heritage is so important.

“At Historic Royal Palaces, we care for six nationally significant buildings, opening them to the public and preserving them for future generations. Sadly, the pandemic meant that we had to stop some of our critical conservation work. The grant we have received from the Culture Recovery Fund will enable to this work to resume – so we can give some of Britain’s most historic buildings the care and attention they deserve, while supporting the specialist craftspeople who are vital for the future of our national heritage.  We are enormously grateful to the Government for this support.”

Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive said:
“It is heartening to see grants, both large and small, from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund helping heritage sites and organisations across the country which have been hit hard by the effects of Covid-19. These grants range from giving skilled craft workers the chance to keep their trades alive to helping heritage organisations pay the bills, and to kick-starting repair works at our best-loved historic sites. The funding is an essential lifeline for our heritage and the people who work tirelessly to conserve it for us all, so that we can hand it on to future generations.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund said:
“It is absolutely right that investing in heritage should be a priority during this crisis and this support by Government is crucial.  Heritage creates jobs and economic prosperity, is a major driver for tourism and makes our towns, cities, and rural areas better places to live.  All of this is so important for our wellbeing and will be particularly vital when we start to emerge from this incredibly difficult time.

“Our heritage is still facing a perilous future – we are not out of the woods yet.  But this hugely welcome funding from Government, and the money we continue to invest from the National Lottery, has undoubtedly stopped heritage and the organisations that care for it being permanently lost.”

Kate Mavor, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said:
“This support for our nation’s heritage is fantastic news.  Over the last few months, our teams have been working hard to welcome visitors back safely to the great castles, stone circles, abbeys and historic houses in our care. This funding will help us invest to safeguard the historic fabric of these much-loved places, which everyone can learn from and enjoy.”

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As a result of Cheshire West being placed in Tier 3 from 0.01 on Boxing Day, the Cathedral will be closed to visitors except for private prayer and reflection.  Furthermore, the Cathedral will be open on limited hours from 11am – 4pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays only.  The Cathedral Gift Shop and Refectory Café will be closed from 5pm on Christmas Eve.

The above restrictions will remain in place until further notice.  Please refer to our website and social channels for further updates.

Our Christmas Special Services will now take place online only on our official YouTube channel here.

Midweek worship is currently suspended for the Christmas break.  Evening Prayer (Wednesday and Friday) / Evensong (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday) at 5.30pm will resume from Monday 4 January – online only.

From Sunday 10 January 2021 we will welcome a ticketed congregation into the 10am Sunday Service with seating limited to 120.  Tickets for this service will not be available until Thursday 7 January 2021.

Tim Stratford
Dean of Chester

Press Contacts

Kevin Baxter
Communications Director
Kevin.baxter@chestercathedral.com

Emma Roberts
Communications Manager
emma.roberts@chestercathedral.com