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Three year Cathedral project ‘tops out’

A three-year project to restore glasswork and masonry around the East Gable of Exeter Cathedral reached its conclusion this week when a ‘topping-out’ ceremony was held on a scaffold platform high above the city centre.

Leading the ceremony was the Dean of Exeter, the Very Revd Jonathan Greener, who paid tribute to the work of the craftsmen and women involved:

“This project has seen the completion of several important elements that are part of how we are addressing the significant challenges of caring for such an ancient and well-loved building.

“Most importantly it is a lasting testament to the talent and dedication of our team of masons and is in itself a sign that craftsmanship of the highest order is still alive and well here in Exeter.”

The Cathedral’s stonemasons carried out much of the work during the three-year project, under the supervision of Chris Sampson (Clerk of Works), Camilla Finlay (Cathedral Architect) and John Allan (Cathedral Archaeologist). They were present yesterday to see the Dean place the final ‘finial’ of the newly-carved pinnacle, the first such work carried out on the Cathedral in over 50 years. Cathedral masons were also responsible for four new decorative corbel stones, each representing the world in which the Cathedral exists in the 20th and 21st centuries:

In total, over 300 stones were replaced, with particular and significant attention given to the stonework of the gable wall and associated stair turrets and the restoration of the Apex window. Isothermic glazing has also been added to the great East window in order to better manage and conserve the historic glass behind.

Funding for the project came from the Hedley Trust, The Friends of Exeter Cathedral and the WWI Centenary Fund for Cathedrals and Churches.