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Dean of Exeter Cathedral to join Future Cities Forum's Cultural Cities at the V&A

Image above: Luke Jerram's 'Museum of the Moon' touring artwork, on display in Exeter Cathedral's nave, earlier in 2022

The Very Reverend Jonathan Greener, Dean of Exeter Cathedral, will be participating in our 'Cultural Cities' event at the V&A Museum in South Kensington, London this month.

He will be speaking about the ongoing programme to restore and preserve the fabric of Exeter Cathedral and its literary treasures, as well as widening the range of visitors to the Cathedral and welcoming tourists from around the world.

Jonathan trained for ordination at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield. After studying Theology and Religious Studies at Trinity College, Cambridge, he served his title as Curate at St Matthew, Elephant and Castle, in the diocese of Southwark from 1991 to 1994, before becoming Bishop of Truro’s Domestic Chaplain from 1994 to 1996. From 1996 to 2003 he was Vicar at the Good Shepherd, Brighton in Chichester Diocese. From 2003 to 2007 he was Archdeacon of Pontefract in Wakefield Diocese, then Dean of Wakefield from 2007 to 2017, before being installed as the 71st Dean of Exeter in 2017.

Founded in 1050 with the enthronement of the first Bishop of Exeter, in the presence of King Edward the Confessor and Queen Edytha, Exeter Cathedral is one of Europe's great cathedrals.

Carefully conserving and restoring this ancient building requires a significant programme of ongoing major works, carried out where possible by a team of skilled stonemasons under the guidance of Clerk of Works.

The West Front Image Screen is one of the great architectural features of Medieval England. The addition of the image screen around 1340 marked the completion of the re-building of the cathedral in the Gothic style. Originally the screen was coloured and aimed to give a convincing vision of heaven. In 2016 a specialist survey of the screen was carried out examining the remaining colouring (the original polychrome) as well as investigating the condition of the carved statues. Restoration was undertaken with the support of The Prince of Wales' Charitable Foundation.

A programme of conversation is now required to save the medieval misericords - 49 tip-up seats which were carved in the mid 13th century - and which represent one of the oldest surviving sets in England.

Foresight in previous decades has saved precious art from disappearance. During World War Two, the medieval glass from the Great East Window was removed and stored safely but all the rest of the glass that remained was damaged beyond repair by German bombers in 1942.

Exeter Cathedral also contains literary treasures such as the 'The Exeter Book', a 10th century anthology of poetry in Old English and 'Exon Domesday' with contains unique information about politics, society and the landscape of South-West Britain a thousand years ago.

In May this year the cathedral announced that it had been awarded a £4.3 million grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund which will help engage a wider audience and help secure long-term sustainability. Roughly half of the Cathedral building will be conserved and refurbished as part of the project.

The National Heritage Lottery Fund says it is part of a move to create better places, jobs and add to the local economy through tourism.


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