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Local Stonemason’s handiwork is blessed before taking pride of place on top of Durham Cathedral

17 February 2021

Yesterday a new piece of stonework, handcrafted by in-house cathedral stonemason, Peter Crinnion was blessed with holy water by the Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham, in a short online service.

The new South Transept Cross will replace the current stone cross which has sat atop the exterior South Transept roof and had naturally weathered over the years.

It was agreed in 2018 that one of the cathedral’s in-house team of stone masons should design and craft a new cross and after numerous design submissions Peter Crinnion’s design was chosen by the Fabric Advisory Committee and Chapter, the cathedral’s regulatory body.

For over a year, Peter has worked tirelessly to craft the new cross in Durham Cathedral’s Work’s Yard, while also developing his portfolio of work as a Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship student.

Peter said: “It is an honour to see my design finally come to fruition and receive a blessing after all this time. A lot of effort went into the design and creation of the cross. I originally took design inspiration from an existing cross shape in the cathedral’s Galilee Chapel. I adapted and expanded upon the design organically, using the recurring symbol of the cross multiplying in an almost fractal pattern. The arching curves create a kind of shamrock shape; a symbol which represents the Holy Trinity. The cross is intentionally reminiscent of a tree, linking back to the materials involved in the crucifixion of Christ.”

 

Trevor Carr, Clerk of Works at Durham Cathedral, said: “I’m extremely fortunate to have such skilled craftsmen in the team and I am very proud of the fantastic work that they do.  The cross which has been hand carved by Peter is testament to this.  The cross was due to be blessed just prior to Easter 2020, but this was unfortunately cancelled as a result of Covid. As the stone is fixed, we look forward with optimism that it will mark a significant moment in the cathedral’s resurrection as we navigate through the pandemic.”

The South transept Cross was funded by the charitable organisation, the Friends of Durham Cathedral, who generously support the cathedral’s maintenance and restorative work.

Michael Galloway, Chairman of the Friends of Durham Cathedral, said: “We are delighted and honoured to sponsor the new South Transept Cross in the cathedral. We were very fortunate to visit Peter and see him working on the stone at the start of this project. We’re sure that everyone will be impressed with the result when they can finally see it.”

The stone will soon make its journey to the ridge of the South Transept roof where it will be hoisted into position and remain permanently for many generations to witness and to follow as they make their pilgrimage to the cathedral.

If you missed the blessing, you can watch it back on Youtube.