Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Ripon Cathedral (Ripon)

The Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Wilfrid stands in the fascinating little market town of Ripon in North Yorkshire. It is one of the smallest cathedrals in Britain. The diocese was created in 1836.

The original building was built for St. Wilfrid, the famous and controversial churchman, in about 670, and amazingly the crypt that was built at the time still survives, as does the one which he created at Hexham. Both are highly theatrical, and designed to hugely impress potential Christians. The crypt at Ripon can be visited while the cathedral is open.

When King Edred ravaged the area around Ripon in the 10th century, the above ground parts of the cathedral were destroyed, but soon rebuilt.

Much of what stands today was built by Archbishop Roger Pont d’Eveque in the late 12th century, and the excellent West Front was rebuilt about fifty years later. The central tower blew down in a thunderstorm in 1458, and was subsequently rebuilt.

The cathedral has a treasury, which contains an impressive collection of church treasures, particularly in silver. There is also a fine collection of misericords.

Lewis Carroll lived here as a boy, and seems to have used a number of sights and experiences of Ripon in “Alice in Wonderland”. In particular, the idea of the rabbit hole probably came from the crypt.

St. Wilfrid’s Feast is celebrated annually with a procession through the town.

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