The first collection of new grotesques to be carved for York Minster’s 11 year project to conserve and restore its South Quire Aisle will be returned to the cathedral
The four carvings have been based on the Judgement of Solomon and include King Solomon, two women – one carrying a baby - and a dragon holding a goose between its teeth.
Work on the South Quire Aisle, which dates from the 14th century, began at the start of 2016 and will involve an £11m investment over the next decade to repair and replace stone and glass in 15 window bays.
The grotesques are being returned to a newly restored pinnacle, to replace four weathered carvings which are believed to date from the 1700s. Although badly eroded, the cathedral’s stonemasons could make out two women - one holding a bundle – a male figure and evidence of a winged beast with a bird between its teeth.
Each grotesque has taken between 180 and 200 hours to complete by three stonemasons – Richard Bossons, Dave Willett and Victoria Darley. It’s the first carving Victoria has completed for the cathedral after joining the Stoneyard team as an apprentice mason seven years ago.
As well as replacing the grotesques, the cathedral’s Stoneyard team has rebuilt the shaft work of the pinnacle and fixed courses of new stones, including some huge pieces which weighed 600kg when they arrived from the quarry.