War Horse at Cathedral

Cathedral preparing for WW1 commemoration events

Canterbury Cathedral is gearing up for its commemoration of the centenary of the First World War armistice.

There will be a range of events and things to see at the Cathedral and its precincts.

Already in place is the Canterbury War Horse which is 20ft tall and stands at the eastern end of the Cathedral precincts.

Supervised by city sculptor Clive Soord, the horse has been built by the students and staff of Canterbury College with support from local businesses.

During half term week, students joined families visiting the Cathedral to make poppies out of recycled plastic bottles.

These were then fixed to netting and spread out below the towering installation remind visitors that alongside the horrific human cost, eight million horses died during the First World War and many travelled through Kent on their way to the continent.

Nicknamed Joey after the horse in Michael Morpurgo’s novel, the horse will stand over a Field of Remembrance to be created by the Royal British Legion on the grassed area nearby.

More than 500 miniature wooden crosses will be placed in the ground, each one bearing the name of one of the fallen from the First World War whose name also appears on the Buttermarket Cross outside the Cathedral’s Christ Church Gate.

At 11.30am on Friday, November 2 there will be a short service of dedication for the field led by the Dean of Canterbury, the Very Revd Robert Willis.

Kent choir, Cantores Dominicae from Lyminge, will be marking the centenary on November 10 and 11 with a special weekend of choral events in the Cathedral focusing on Remembrance and Reconciliation.

Joining Cantores Dominicae will be a German choir Heinrich-Schütz-Kantorei from Kiel, The Oyster Singers from Whitstable and The Canterbury Singers.

The weekend will start with a short lunchtime concert performed by Cantores Dominicae and Heinrich-Schütz-Kantorei at noon on Saturday, 10 November. The programme will include movements from Brahms’ German Requiem.

Aat 6.15pm on Remembrance Sunday, November 11, the community of four choirs will perform a special evening service in the Cathedral called Remembrance & Reconciliation composed by Adrian Bawtree, one of the Cathedral organists.

More than 200 musicians from Britain and Germany will be taking part in the performance.

Elsewhere in the Chapter House there is an exhibition by the Cathedral’s artist in residence, Dawn Cole.

Remember Me?! is an installation created by the Thanet-based artist following research in the Cathedral Archives.

The Under and Equal Sky exhibition has already been in place since May. It consists of 10 glass installations made by Philip Baldwin and Monica Guggisberg.

Of particular significance at this time is the Boat of Remembrance – 100 clear glass amphorae which have been suspended in the shape of a ship from the safety deck currently constructed in the Cathedral’s Nave as part of the ongoing restoration work. They each mark a year of remembrance since 1918.

On Remembrance Sunday there will be an early awakening as a piper is due to play a five minute lament on the bagpipes as part of the national Battle’s Over – a Nation’s Tribute at 6am.

Later in the morning wreaths will be laid in the Buttermarket at 10.25am followed by the Civic Service of Remembrance in the Cathedral at 10.45am.

After the service Cathedral bell ringers are due to join a nationwide ringing of bells at 12.30pm to coincide with the march past at the Cenotaph in London.

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