Peterborough Cathedral is in the #CathedralTreasures top 10!
January 12, 2023
Peterborough Cathedral has made it to the final of a competition to find Britain’s favourite cathedral treasure.
Launched on 11 January 2023 to mark national Heritage Treasures Day, the Association of English Cathedrals (AEC) has launched a competition to find the best loved treasure based on their #CathedralTreasures winter campaign.
Peterborough Cathedral’s painted wood nave ceiling, unique in England, has made it into the top 10.
The campaign was based on the latest volume by Janet Gough, OBE, author, lecturer and advisor on historic churches and cathedrals, called Deans’ Choice: Cathedral Treasures of England and Wales.
The volume tells the story of 50 treasures from 44 Church of England cathedrals and six cathedrals from the Church in Wales – each one was chosen by the Dean or senior clergy of the cathedral featured.
The AEC shared these 50 remarkable treasures across their social media platforms over 50 days and 10 treasures have made it to the final – determined by the number of likes, shares, and engagements throughout the campaign.
Participants must choose just one and leave their name and email address to be in with the chance to win one of three copies of Janet’s book chosen in a random draw at the end of the competition next month. The other cathedrals with shortlisted treasures are Lichfield, Gloucester, Ely, Wells, Canterbury, Southwell, Winchester, Christchurch and Derby.
About Peterborough Cathedral’s nave ceiling
The unique wooden ceiling of the nave dates from around 1238. It is the only one of its kind in Britain and one of only four in Europe. Originally it seems that a stone vaulted ceiling was planned, but either cost or fears that the structure could not bear the weight meant that this idea was abandoned. Although the ceiling has been repainted or restored twice, it still follows the original thirteenth century vivid pattern and bold design. The lozenge shapes down the middle enclose images of abbots, bishops and kings, the liberal arts, and St Peter himself. The rows on either side feature religious images alongside strange symbols such as a monkey riding backwards on a goat, a donkey playing a harp, and a dancing lion. Whilst many of these forms may seem random or whimsical, Dr Jonathan Foyle has suggested that some of them are in fact part of a political polemic on the nature of good government.