Throughout two days in July Plowman Craven, one of the largest surveying companies in the UK, conducted a series of photographic and laser scans from above the cathedral via aerial drone flights. The team will use the photographs obtained to create drawings for the architect of that elevation, for future stone and glass repairs and conservation. They hope to start the project in spring 2023 starting in the top window and working their way yearly to the South Transept.
Stonemasonry is one of the oldest crafts which has played a part in the life of the Cathedral since it was first built. The stonemasons are key to the preservation of the building, and keeping a specialist stonemasonry team is essential if the work of conservation and restoration at the Cathedral is to be done to the highest standards.
Will Davies, Stonemason at Winchester Cathedral said, “Stonemasonry is an unseen but vital part of conserving the building for future generations to experience. The Cathedral is a testament to the skill and art of the master stonemasons who built it, but like so many other heritage buildings, it is not immune to weathering and time, and repairs and maintenance are vital to its survival. It is a privilege to look after the Cathedral and I always feel a great sense of achievement, knowing that the work I have completed will be there for many years to come.”
Winchester’s team of masons who conserve the Cathedral’s fabric are highly skilled artists and craftspeople and their work requires sensitivity to the history of the building. The aim is to slow down the process of decay, and to replace only those parts that are beyond repair.
Winchester Cathedral is one of the nine Cathedrals in the country to have its own dedicated stonemasonry team and stonemason yard, all of which make up the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship and are behind the development and delivery of a foundation degree programme for stonemasons and other Cathedral craftspeople. To promote the development of the next generation of talented craftspeople and the craft of stonemasonry generally to everyone, Winchester Cathedral will be running a series of workshops led by the stonemasons in the summer. Further details to follow.
The stonemasons consider it a great honour and privilege to look after and conserve the Cathedral, and are committed to ensuring that the beautiful architecture is preserved and that the building is secured for worshippers and visitors to enjoy now and in the future.