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News from Stapledon the Cathedral Cat

Hello! My name is Stapledon and I’m the Cathedral Cat at Exeter Cathedral. I am very pleased to say that the Dean has asked me to write a short blog every fortnight and I cannot wait to tell you about the many different things that go on here.


Over the next few posts, I’m going to explore some of my favourite places in the Cathedral, tell you about my family history and give you a peek behind the scenes. As the official cat there are many places that I can get to that members of the public can’t. I am so looking forward to sharing them with you! If you have any favourite places you’d like me to look at, or suggestions of things you like to see here, why not send an email? One of the nice members of staff will get the message to me!

It’s been a strange old time over the last few months, but I have to say I’ve really enjoyed having the Cathedral to myself! I’ve had a word with the mice to ensure they won’t cause any disturbances within the main buildings during the lockdown. This means that like everyone else we can ensure that we remain at a safe social distance and that I now have plenty of time to explore the building at my leisure. I’ve noticed so many things about the place that I hadn’t seen when life was at its old fast pace and I had my usual duties to attend to. In particular, the light throughout the building has been beautiful, especially on sunny days, and I’ve been able to see it move through the building as the day progresses since all the electric lights we have on when the building is open have been kept off. I got my friend the Custos to take some pictures the other day. I particularly like this one of the nave vaulting, (did you know that it is the longest of its kind in the world?). You can see all the colours of the roof decorations very clearly, as well as the stonework – what a spectacular sight!

The nave vaulting ceiling looks spectacular!

I’m so pleased that they are now livestreaming the Sunday service from the Lady Chapel once again. I had a good look through into the Lady Chapel on Sunday when it was being filmed. Activity throughout the Cathedral has increased ever so slightly over the last week. The Works Department is taking advantage of the fact that people aren’t about, to get some jobs done. The floor in the Nave is being re-pointed, and a scaffold is being put up so that work can be done on one of the stained-glass windows in the Nave aisle, all at a safe social distance of course. The Custos, who runs the Cathedral floor, has been busy too. Lockdown started towards the end of Lent, which meant that all the Chapels and Altars in the Cathedral were in ‘Lenten Array.’ This means that the usual altar hangings had been replaced with ones made of unbleached linen. As we are now out of Lent, they all need to be changed back. I got him to take photos of Oldham’s Chantry, before, during and after the changing:

Before: The Altar dressed in Lenten Array of unbleached linen

During: All linen and hangings removed. Now we are ready to re-dress!

After: Linen and hangings replaced, blue dustcover added to keep everything clean and tidy

Well that’s all from me, I hope everyone stays safe and well, and I know that I speak for everyone at the Cathedral when I say that we look forward to the day when we can safely re-open this special place. Rest assured, in the meantime, my friends and I are taking good care of it for you!