Television historian Dr Jonathan Foyle is about to make his own piece of history at Chester Cathedral.

Next month he will become the first person to abseil down the cathedral to give a talk while suspended 50ft in the air in the cathedral crossing.

The spectacle on Saturday, April 12, at 1.30pm, is being staged to mark the launch of the cathedral’s new tower tour visitor attraction called Cathedral at Height.


Dr Foyle’s expert knowledge of architecture, art and culture has seen him grace BBC2 history programmes.

Jonathan Foyle suspended in Lincoln Cathedral
Jonathan Foyle suspended in Lincoln Cathedral

Nick Fry, the cathedral’s heritage manager, said: “We are delighted to welcome Dr Jonathan Foyle to the cathedral.

“We are very excited about his talk as he is an acknowledged expert on great buildings like ours.

“I’ve worked at the cathedral for a long time – but I’ve never seen anyone abseil out into the cathedral nave, suspended on nothing but wires. It will be a truly spectacular event.”

Dr Foyle, a novice climber, is also an archaeologist and associate curator of Historic Royal Palaces.

In 2011 he presented a BBC2 programme called “Climbing Great Buildings” in which he scaled some of Britain’s famous buildings in order to reveal their secrets.

Aided by expert rope access company, Wallwalkers, Dr Foyle will give a 30 minute talk about climbing great buildings throughout history whilst suspended above the cathedral nave.

His presentation will take place after he has abseiled out into the cathedral crossing, whilst suspended on wires in front of a large overhead projector.

The talk will be open to the public and free of charge. There will also be a question and answer session with Dr Foyle following the presentation.

The Cathedral at Height project, made possible by a grant from Cheshire West and Chester Council, has taken years to plan and seven months on-site to complete.

It allows visitors to go behind the scenes at the cathedral via a tour route never before accessed by the public.

Tour groups will be invited to take a journey through 900 years of history, past locked doors and via hidden rooms.

They will enjoy breathtaking views, medieval mysteries, ancient bells and the tale of a defeated king.

Tickets for the tour will be charged at £8 for adults and £6 for children.

Individual bookings can only be made in the cathedral on the day of the tour. For group bookings of six or more people contact Chester Cathedral Box Office on 01244 500959.

For more information about the live abseil event or Cathedral at Height visit

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