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From the organisers of

A celebration of stone at York Minster

21 August 2018
York stone festival

Judged winners at the end of the weekend’s work at York Minster are (left to right): Henrick Storksen, Adam Beaumont, Andrew Gomersall, Richard Bossons and Lewis Morrison.

Like most great cathedrals, the 800-year-old York Minster is constructed of stone. And there was a celebration of the stonemasons' skills that keep it standing and looking in top condition at the weekend (18 & 19 August) when the Minster hosted a stone carving festival.

The event began with an open day of the Minster's own stonemasonry workshops and a tour on the scaffolding of the latest restoration project on the South Quire Aisle.

Sixty or so stoneworkers from far and near gathered in Dean’s Park at York Minster for the international stone festival staged. The event concluded with the sale of masonry taken out of the Minster to be replaced during restoration work.

It is all part of raising awareness of the never ending work that has to be carried out to keep the Minster in good condition and to help raise the money necessary to pay for it.

The South Quire Aisle scaffolding tour. Photo: Ravage Productions


The masons were able to chose Tadcaster, Ancaster or Lepine limestones to work in, all of which are used in the restoration of the Minster. Most chose Ancaster, which had been donated by Glebe Stone. Their theme was ‘all creatures great and small’.

The masons taking part during the weekend of 18 & 19 August came from many different countries, as the flags on their bankers demonstrated – although not quite as many countries as the flags showed. The flag of the Pacific island state of Yap on Peter Crinnion’s banker, was, he admitted, a bit of fun. He comes from Gateshead. He carved a ‘Humble Bee’, which was a bumble bee praying. And Laura Jeary chose to work under the European flag with its circle of gold stars on a blue background, which she admitted was a statement.

There were plenty of carvers taking part who genuinely were from overseas, such as Jason Arkles, an American who now lives in Florence, Italy, carving mostly marble. He is a Master in Sacred Art from the Vatican and says he is the only American ever to have carved a life-size statue displayed in Florence. It is a sculpture of St Mark over the main door of the English Church dedicated to that saint.

There were Anita Gjersvold and Johannes Klem, who work on Trondheim Cathedral, and Rudolf Struck from Bamberg in Germany who ambitiously carved a fish from one of Bruegel’s fantasy paintings during the weekend.

There were Icelandic, Dutch, Norwegian and a host of other national flags on show, as well as those of the individual home nations and Union Jacks.

Thomas Petukauskas chose the Polish flag, which is where he comes from, although he says he has worked in the UK for 15 years. He was apprenticed to Stonewest, studied at Bath College and now lives on Sheppey in Kent.

All those taking part were world class stoneworkers and those who bought the carvings produced during the weekend at an auction that concluded the festival certainly went away with bargains.

The lowest price of £40 was paid for the carving of President Trump, even though the carvers themselves had voted it the best apprentice work. Somebody tried to open the bidding at £1. That’s NOT fake news.

Wot! no more?


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