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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Student spends summer working on Carlisle Cathedral exhibition

University student Kirsty Wilson has been putting her summer holidays to good use – working on a landmark exhibition to go on display at Carlisle Cathedral.

Kirsty Wilson photo
Kirsty Wilson

The 19-year-old, who studies modern history at St Andrews in Scotland, helped research and collate the display to mark the 350th anniversary of the Book of Common Prayer.

Kirsty, from Glasson, near Carlisle, used some of the cathedral’s oldest books to chart the controversial development of the prayer book.

The exhibition will not focus purely on religion, instead looking at how the changing face of the book was linked with events such as the English Civil War.

Kirsty has been working alongside retired Canon David Weston, who is still involved in the cathedral library. The exhibition, which will be in the Fratry and feature many old editions of the book, will open at the end of September.

The Book of Common Prayer was published in 1662 and although there have been many editions and updates, it remains the text most people refer to as the prayer book.

Kirsty, who has just finished her first year at St Andrews, said the exhibition covers from the late Medieval period right up until 1928.

She has also conducted online research to help her write the captions that run alongside the exhibits.

She said: “I study history at university and wanted to do some related volunteering over the summer.

“I made some enquiries at the cathedral and this was mentioned.

Dr Weston said the development of the prayer book has not been without controversy, prompting many senior religious figures to leave the church. The exhibition features sections on the reformation of the Church of England by Henry VIII to English Civil War – and subsequent beheading of Charles I.

Dr Weston hopes this type of project, and the links to local students, can be extended if the cathedral’s £1m Fratry Appeal is a success. “It’s not just about prayer books, it’s about history,” he said. “Although the cathedral library is largely a religious library, there are books in there on everything you can conceivably think of.”

The exhibition will open at the Fratry on September 27 and run for three days. A special service to celebrate the anniversary of the book is also being planned for Sunday, September 30.

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