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Rochester Cathedral’s Gundulf Door: Second Oldest Door In Britain

The Gundulf Door at Rochester Cathedral stands as a remarkable piece of history, dating back to 1080 and attributed to Gundulf, the Norman monk who played a significant role in England following the Norman Conquest. Named after him, the door is the only surviving example of decorative iron and woodwork from the cathedral’s early days.

Hidden in a corner of the north-east transept, the Gundulf Door is not accessible to the public, yet its historical significance is profound. It leads into the north-east turret stair, providing access to the cathedral’s upper levels.

According to the Rochester Cathedral website, the door originated from a single tree felled sometime between 1075 and 1107, coinciding with Gundulf’s tenure as bishop of Rochester. This makes it a rare artifact, dating back to the turn of the eleventh century and representing one of the earliest surviving examples of decorative iron and woodwork in Britain.

In comparison, Westminster Abbey boasts Britain’s oldest door, constructed in the 1050s during the reign of King Edward the Confessor. This door, located in the vestibule leading to the Chapter House, is the only one assignable to the Anglo-Saxon period and provides valuable insights into medieval craftsmanship and architecture.

Rochester Cathedral itself is a testament to centuries of architectural evolution, blending Norman, Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular Gothic styles. Its awe-inspiring façade, soaring central tower, and elegant interior draw visitors from far and wide, offering a glimpse into England’s rich religious and cultural heritage.

Reviews of Rochester Cathedral praise its architectural splendor, historical significance, and cultural treasures, making it a must-visit destination for enthusiasts of history, architecture, and spirituality alike. Whether admiring the cathedral’s magnificent stained glass windows or exploring its ancient artifacts, visitors are sure to be captivated by its timeless charm and beauty.

For those eager to experience this historical marvel firsthand, Rochester Cathedral welcomes visitors to immerse themselves in its rich history and breathtaking architecture.

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