Church events in central Chester

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Tom Hughes, a Cheshire bagpiper and a Chester Minstrel, receives a blessing from the Revd David ChestersIt's going to be a busy spring and summer for the ancient churches of St Peter's and St John the Baptist in central Chester. The churches, which form one parish, are increasingly outward looking and seek to draw in the community. St Peter's - which stands at The Cross, very close to where Roman legionaries were quartered nearly two millennia ago - is due to host both a bagpipe festival and a Night Church on Saturday 10 March. Our picture shows Cheshire bagpiper Tom Hughes receiving a blessing from the Rector of Chester, the Revd David Chesters.

Bagpipes are not solely a Scottish instrument. The Scots were, in fact, relative latecomers to the bagpipe scene. There’s evidence of piping in Cheshire two centuries before the earliest record of native Scots players.

Bagpipes were also closely associated with pilgrims and indeed churches. There are eight medieval carvings of bagpipers in churches in the Diocese of Chester, including two in Chester Cathedral, and two at St Mary’s in Nantwich.
After the piping event, St Peter’s will host Night Church – an event which involves Christian volunteers showing hospitality to revellers from Chester’s bars and clubs.

Then on Saturday 16 June the Rector of Chester, the Revd David Chesters, will bless the Chester Minstrels at St John’s by Grosvenor Park – a church which used to be a cathedral. The blessing of the minstrels is an ancient tradition which was revived in 2008.

On Sunday 24 June, there will be High Mass at St John’s, followed by a concert in the evening to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

On 4 and 5 of August, St John’s will host a Living History Fair, looking at Chester through the ages.