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New gargoyle for Chapter House
A NEW gargoyle is set to grace the Salisbury’s Chapter House.
Salisbury Cathedral stonemason Matt Barton skilled stonemasons, has been given the rare opportunity to carve a gargoyle to replace one that is badly weather damaged.
He said: “It’s a great honour to have been asked to carve the new gargoyle, not many people get to do this. It’s a really interesting project, and I’m looking forward to going through the process and seeing the new gargoyle emerge from the stone.”
The original gargoyle has now been removed from the Chapter House and, in the first instance, will be mended so it can be used for reference. The new gargoyle will be modelled on it but with an improved design so it can better fulfil its purpose and achieve maximum long term survival.
Replacing a gargoyle is very rare, the last time being when two were replaced on the cathedral’s West Front in 1998.
When completed, the new gargoyle will be displayed in the cloisters for the summer months before being installed in its permanent home.
In the next few weeks work also begins on carving seven new finials for the Chapter House. These will also be put on display alongside the gargoyle.
The Chapter House, built in the 1260s, remained untouched until Gilbert Scott’s major re-ordering of the cathedral in the 1850s-1860s. In his desire to improve the way water was disposed of from the building, Scott carried out a re-ordering of the roof and gutters, extended the buttresses and introduced new style gargoyles. These replaced the down-pipes and hoppers in the corners of the original buttresses, which is the way water had been disposed of until then.
There is also a medieval gargoyle in Chilmark stone on the untouched buttress on the west face of the Chapter House. It is in poor condition, decayed and totally non-functional, but is being left in position for its historical interest.
The current work on the Chapter House being undertaken by the stonemasons, conservators and glaziers should be completed by the end of the year.