Art auction raises £15,000 to restore historic monument in Rochester
Saving the Bishop’s Gate in Rochester would cost £50,000. It has been standing near Britain’s second oldest cathedral since the 12th century.
Falling apart now, the Rochester Cathedral Trust organised an auction looking to raise funds to get it repaired.
Reverend Dr. Philip Hesketh, Dean of Rochester Cathedral, tells the history of the gate: “One time up until the reformation, the bishop’s palace was on the other side, so that was the way in and out for the bishop. We are looking in the region of £50,000 to restore and conserve this for future generations. People walk past this all the time, and I think if it suddenly was not there, people would really notice it and it would be a great loss“.
Several years ago, part of the gate had to be taken down due to its exposure to the elements and ravages of time.
With Medway being nominated for UK’s 2025 city of culture, it’s hoped, saving monuments like the Bishop’s Gate would help to preserve the richness of the local area.
Simon Lace, Chapter Clerk and Executive Director of Rochester Cathedral, says that they have a “responsibility to look after this building, we had Damien Hirst who donated a book, which at the end raised £5,500, the most expensive item on the auction, we deal a lot with the creative arts so it was a really good community project“.
The online auction showcased artworks produced by talents from Kent and elsewhere and although they only managed to raise £15,000 at auction, other contributions will help push towards the big future of £50,000.
Heather Haythornthwaite, artist and printmaker at the Hazelnut Press, produced a piece for the auction, “you think that every stone, every piece, was cut, dressed, laid, by hands, every piece and you think about the power that went into the building”.
The Bishop’s Gate is just one of the many monuments which make Rochester a place which holds cultural value.
And it’s hoped hoped that with the money raised, this historic gate remains standing for many more centuries to come.