Cathedral Week

by Hannah Reynolds

Each year the Scholars spend a week at a cathedral. Cathedral week is organised by the Cathedral Architects Association, who generously donate to the Scholarship fund. We returned to Lincoln Cathedral to build on the knowledge gained on our earlier day trip.

The nave at Lincoln Cathedral

The nave at Lincoln Cathedral

Our visits were organised by cathedral architect Nicholas Rank and included days with the cathedral consultant engineers, Geoff Clifton and Garry Willis of Ramboll; the cathedral archaeologist, Philip Dixon and Lincoln City Council’s heritage team leader, Arthur Ward. We were also lucky enough to return to the cathedral’s works departments to learn more about the conservation of medieval glass and protective glazing from conservator Fernando Cortéz Pizano; stone conservation from Neil Bywater and masonry in the work shop with the masons team.

Medieval glass conservation withFernando

Medieval glass conservation withFernando

Cathedral week gave us a thorough grounding in the history, running and funding of Lincoln Cathedral and the wider ecclesiastical system. We were able to get up-close and personal with the works being undertaken on the cathedral which meant we were able to get to grips with the philosophy and approach to conservation and repair of Lincoln Cathedral.


 Thanks to Philip Dixon we also had the opportunity to visit both the nearby Bishops Palace and Lincoln Castle and were able to understand the conservation approach within the City of Lincoln as a whole from our guided tour with Arthur Ward.


Architectural pilgrimage


Tewkesbury Abbey

A busy few weeks for the Scholars as they continue touring the country. This entry has an ecclesiastical theme, the highlights of the past few weeks being Tewkesbury Abbey and Lincoln Cathedral.

Week2_Tewkesbury AbbeyTewkesbury Abbey was founded in 1087 by Robert FitzHamon but the present site was not built until 1102. After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540, the cloister and the Lady Chapel were quarried for their materials. The Abbey Church was sold to the parishioners for £453. Our Scholars spent the day at the Abbey carrying out drill resistance tests to investigate the effectiveness of nano-lime with Andrew Townsend, 1985 architect Scholar.

In the car generously donated by Jonathan Castleman of Norman and Underwood, the Scholars drove on to Lincoln Cathedral. They were hosted by Phil Russon, leadworker Fellow 2010. The Scholars met Paul Ellis, stonemason, as he worked on replacement stonework for the south-west turret.

Lincoln Cathedral workshopsLincoln Cathedral has a long history of conservation, with the first repairs beginning after an earthquake in 1185. Today, the main focus for repair and conservation is the turrets which frame the west front of the cathedral. Abseiling stonemasons recently surveyed the cathedral for damage and it was much worse than anticipated so a five year-long programme of restoration work was devised for the two great turrets.