After we had visited Rochester Castle in 2016, we made our way to the beautiful Norman Cathedral, which is thought to be the second oldest in England. It was a very hot day and the interior of the building was wonderfully cool.
Some history ……..Rochester was founded in around 604 by Ethelbert, King of Kent. After the Norman Conquest Gundulf, the first Norman, was chosen as Bishop. Gundulf of Bec was the chief castle builder for William the Conqueror and was responsible for the construction of the Tower of London. Gundulf rebuilt the Cathedral, improved the surrounding monastic buildings and replaced the secular canons with monks of the Benedictine Order. The nave and the restored west front are mainly twelfth century. In 1201 a pilgrim was murdered outside the cathedral and was raised to a Saint and known St. William of Perth. Pilgrims flocked to the cathedral and the increased income provided money to rebuild many parts including the presbytery, transepts and choir.
It is traditionally thought that King Henry VIII met Anne of Cleves in the cloisters of Rochester Cathedral. Unfortunately, in the 1800’s Rochester had became one of the poorest Dioceses in the country. It was robbed of its treasures by unruly soldiers.
Unbelievably, the Cathedral became a place of ill repute, where often gambling and drinking took place. Samuel Pepys described it as a ‘Shabby place.’ Through the 1800’s, the Cathedral had gone through a number of restoration processes, and finally in 1880, Gilbert Scott restored the Cathedral to its present day appearance……So glad he did, as you can see from the photos of the amazing restoration work that took place.