CAPTION: The St Petrock pall dates from the 14th century when John de Grandisson was Bishop of Exeter

Requiem marks 650th anniversary of Exeter Cathedral Bishop

Posted: 16th July, 2019

The Bishop of Exeter is to lead a special requiem mass to mark the 650th anniversary of the death of his predecessor, Bishop John de Grandisson, the man who completed Exeter Cathedral and is still Devon’s longest serving Bishop.

To mark the anniversary a 14th century coffin pall (the cloth used to cover a coffin) has gone on display. It is usually kept in the Cathedral archives.

The service on 16 July at 5.30pm launches a year of events marking the life and architectural, musical, educational and cultural legacies of  Bishop Grandisson.

Rt Rev’d Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter, said: “Over the centuries, the cathedral has been knocked about a bit and modified.

During the Commonwealth we lost the cloisters, but the cathedral we see today is substantially Grandisson’s, and it is good that we should remember him in prayer and with thanksgiving.

“In the words of King Solomon spoken at the dedication of the first temple in Jerusalem, I pray that this cathedral may continue to be sacred space where God’s ‘name is honoured’.

“May it never descend into becoming a heritage theme park.

“May it always be‘a house of prayer for all people’, a ‘thin place’ as one modern poet described his church: a place where earth and heaven meet and God feels very close.”

John de Grandisson became Bishop of Exeter at the age of 35 and served for 42 years, including through the Black Death.

He died in 1369 and was buried inside the Cathedral walls at his own request. His tomb was later raided by a Puritan mob during the reign of Elizabeth 1.

The Revd Canon James Mustard, Canon Precentor at Exeter Cathedral said “Bishop Grandisson’s great achievement was his completion of the Cathedral building as we know it.

But, he was also a great scholar, educationalist, internationalist and patron of the arts.

The legacy of his vision for all the churches of Devon to be places of learning, as well as worship, is all around us and we look forward to celebrating his life.

We are thrilled that the Choir of Christ Church Cranbrook, Michigan USA will join with the University of Exeter Chapel Choir to sing Faure’s Requiem for the service marking the anniversary of his death. ”

All are welcome to attend the Requiem Mass on 16 July at 5.30pm.

The St. Petrock Pall will be on display throughout the anniversary year, along with one of Bishop Grandisson’s manuscripts and his ring, which was found during the restoration of his Chapel in the 1950’s.