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Archbishop of York To Re-open Palace in Southwell

Southwell Minster

Tuesday 7th October 2014

Past meets present on October 7th when the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu visits Southwell to officially re-open the Archbishop’s Palace, home to some of his predecessors.

The recently refurbished Palace, largely financed by a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £1.3m, was the former residence of the Archbishops of York, and Charles 1st used the Palace during the Civil War.  The re-opening is a celebration of the great restoration achievement that the Palace represents - and of all the hard work that has gone into making the project a success.

Dr Sentamu says : “It will be wonderful to return to Southwell Minster to see the refurbishments that have been made to make this such a welcoming place and a fantastic resource for the Cathedral and the Diocese.  What a transformation this will bring to the witness and worship at Southwell Minster!”

Archbishop Sentamu will be greeted by the Acting Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Richard Inwood; the Bishop of Sherwood, the Rt Revd Tony Porter; the Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Sir John and Lady Peace; Dean Emeritus, the Very Revd John Guille; Acting Dean the Revd Canon Nigel Coates; the Revd Canon Jacqui Jones, and Mr Atul Patel, HLF Trustee and Committee member for the East Midlands.

His visit will include a procession from the Cathedral to the Palace followed by a blessing and an historic knocking on the door of the Palace with Bishop Ridding’s Crozier (the first Bishop of Southwell, 1884-1904) which will be opened by the Head Chorister.

The Archbishop will be shown the new Song School, where choristers will be rehearsing, and introduced to Rector Chori, Paul Hale, before unveiling a commemorative plaque, meeting the Girl’s Choir and the Education Team with pupils from Lowes Wong Junior School.

During a High Tea in the Grade One listed State Chamber - a former bedroom of medieval kings - there will be speeches by the Archbishop, by the Very Revd John Guille and by Mr Atul Patel from HLF.

Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF East Midlands said: “From the exile of Cardinal Wolsey to the surrender of King Charles I, these grand old walls have witnessed some of the UK’s most tumultuous days. I’m thrilled that this restoration project has given the palace the attention it deserves and that it will now reopen as a tourist site and community space. It’s a must-see for visitors far and wide and a fine example of the role heritage can play in a town - attracting new visitors and being a living space to be used and treasured.”

Palace Project Co-ordinator, Charlie Leggatt adds: “After nearly five years in the planning and execution it is wonderful to see the Palace refurbished and both fitting and a privilege to have the Archbishop of York here to officially re-open this wonderful building, that once accommodated his predecessors."

The visit will conclude in the Minster where the Archbishop will briefly mingle with the congregation.

The Palace is open daily to visitors from 09.00 - 17.00 (along with the gardens) and is available for hire by local groups or as a venue for weddings, parties, lunches etc…

Contact Nikki Smith Tel: 01636 812649 [email protected]


Notes to editors:


There will only be three photo opportunities during the Archbishop’s visit: 15.05 when the Archbishop will bless the Palace then knock on the Palace door three times with staff, and the door will be opened by the Head Chorister; at 15.10 outside the Song School, when the Archbishop unveils a plaque; and after the speeches at approx 15.50 in the State Chamber of the Palace with Dean Emeritus, John Guille and Mr Atul Patel, Heritage Lottery Fund Trustee and Committee member for the East Midlands.

The Palace Project Co-ordinator, Charlie Leggatt, is available to give interviews by timed appointment between 4.15 –and 5pm. Please contact the Press Office to arrange.  Unfortunately there will be no time for the Archbishop to give personal interviews during or following the visit on the 7th.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund:

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported 36,000 projects with more than £6bn across the UK.

For further media information contact: The Press Office: 01636 817218 email [email protected] or Jane Wyles: 01636 817243 email [email protected]

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