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Stonemasonry skills are celebrated at Durham Cathedral with new round of funding

18 August 2021

Durham Cathedral’s stonemasons swap the Works’ Yard for the Cloisters, as they showcase their heritage skills to the public every weekday, until Friday 27 August.

As part of a two week celebration of stonemasonry skills, visitors to Durham Cathedral will be able to see the stonemasons hard at work in the unique setting of the Cloisters. Their vital skills are supported through funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation (HOF) who joined forces with the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) earlier this year, to invest £3.1m over 5 years and will fund up to twenty-five stonemasonry and joinery trainees at English cathedrals in the 2021/22 academic year.

A recent payment of £700,000 HOF funding, through the CWF, will now enable two of Durham Cathedral’s stonemasons, Grace Impesi and Karen Thurlaway to continue their training. They have both recently been successful in their applications to join the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship Foundation degree programme which starts in September.

Trevor Carr, Clerk of Works at Durham Cathedral,  says,
“Our stonemasons are currently doing vital conservation work, including repointing a 12 meter stretch of the Cathedral boundary wall, as well as work to the Deanery and Priors Hall Stairs. People visiting the cathedral until the 27 August will be able to see in first-hand the work that usually goes on behind the scenes, but is absolutely crucial to the long-term care of this very special building.
"We’re delighted that the Hamish Ogston Foundation is making further investment into heritage skills and with the successful applications of both Grace and Karen to the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship training in September, it’s very timely for us to be putting these fantastic skills on display to our visitors.”

As well as being able to see these stonemasonry skills in action, the Durham Cathedral team are also offering the opportunity for those with a deeper interest to learn the skill themselves on a stone carving workshop taking place on Saturday 21 August and Sunday 22 August.    

Those that join will, spend a weekend getting to grips with stone carving under the instruction of an expert Stonemason Supervisor. As well as an introduction to stonemasonry and demonstrations of different carving techniques, participants will also get to create their very own stone grotesque to take home. Tickets for the weekend cost £150 and limited spaces are available. Book tickets online here.

Find more information about the amazing work of the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship and the Hamish Ogston Foundation online.