Monday, August 2, 2021

Lincoln Cathedral launches appeal for Chapter House conservation project

Lincoln Cathedral has launched an appeal to enable it to undertake the next phase of conservation works, this time to the Chapter House.

The 13th century building, which is located on the north side of the Cathedral, needs urgent repair and conservation works to areas highlighted as ‘at risk’ to the building’s fabric and will take three years to complete.

Delivered by the Cathedral works department, the programme of works will cost £1.3m and will be funded by the Cathedral’s limited reserves and the fundraising appeal.

All donors will have their name recorded inside a capsule which will be placed inside one of the Chapter House’s pinnacles after the completion of the works – for future generations to find – and there will also be an opportunity for donors to have their name carved into the inside face of a piece of stone used in the works.

The Chapter House – which is recognised by its round shape – was originally used for meetings of the Cathedral’s Chapter (the Cathedral’s governing body). Over the years it has played an important role in the life of the Cathedral and has even hosted Parliament three times.

Today, the vaulted building is used for the annual gathering of the College of Canons (a group that support the bishop and strengthens links between the parish and the Cathedral), as well as a variety of special events such as concerts and dinners.

The first phase of conservation works will include external masonry cleaning and repointing; replacing the finely cut stones, and the research and replacement of the carved embellishment around the parapet and upper parts of the building – known as the upper orders.

The works will also involve structural repairs to the five pinnacles using carved limestone from Lincoln Cathedral’s quarry, as well as several glazing cleaning and remediation works.

Michael Sheppard, director of works and property at Lincoln Cathedral, said: “Much of the work that needs to be undertaken on the Chapter House is the result of the natural environment, as well as correcting aspects of work undertaken during the Victorian period.

“The Chapter House is an instantly recognisable and well-loved part of the Cathedral and is simply stunning on the inside and out. These conservation works will tackle the key areas which have been highlighted by the Cathedral’s architect and will enable us to return this exquisitely carved and glazed part of Lincoln Cathedral to its former glory and protect it for years to come.

“This project will be led by the Cathedral’s head of masonry, Michael Graves, and head of conservation Jane Cowan. The Cathedral is lucky to have a highly experienced and skilled in-house works department who work round the clock to preserve the building for the people of Lincoln, and for the future, which is an ongoing and hugely important task.

“To protect the Chapter House, we do need to call on the generosity of people who are passionate about the Cathedral or simply have a love of preserving our heritage. As a thank you for that kind support, donors have a number of opportunities to be a part of the fabric of the Cathedral forever and be involved in this great project which is really special.”

A donation of £15 will pay for the cutting of a small ashlar which is a finely dressed, square-cut stone. £30 will support the work of a stonemason for one hour and a donation of £100 will support the working and fixing of an ashlar into the fabric of the Chapter House.

On the other end of the scale, corporations or individuals could fund the significant cost of a pinnacle reconstruction for £80,000.

Picture: Chris Vaughan Photography for Lincoln Cathedral

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