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Project information

Living Stones Appeal

This project aims to conserve a millennium of history for the next 1,000 years by restoring the ancient North Ambulatory masonry, helping a key part of Gloucester Cathedral's fabric to be water-tight and weather-proof.

For £25 you can sponsor your own stone to be conserved as part of the project.

October 2018 - January 2020

Charity information: Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral logo
  • Need


    An architectural masterpiece crafted in the Romanesque style, the North Ambulatory dates back to the origins of the Norman Abbey.

    After 900 years, the exterior masonry has deteriorated significantly and is at great risk. Sections of stonework are decaying or missing altogether and inadequate guttering is causing water ingress, staining the vaulting below and potentially causing irreparable damage to the historic carpentry inside.


    Over a 12 month period a full programme of repair is planned. Much of this work will be undertaken by the Cathedral's talented stonemasons, including:

    - conservation work and cleaning to let the
    historic stone 'breathe'

    - re-instating Gloucester's iconic skyline by
    installing 11 missing pinnacles from the

    - creation of six new gargoyles and repair of the
    guttering to improve water drainage and
    protect the stonework

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Ensure the North Ambulatory is water-tight and weather proof for future generations


    » Conserve the masonry by removing hard pointing and re-pointing in lime mortar to let the stones 'breathe' and cleaning the stonework
    » Restore the iconic parapet by re-instating eleven missing pinnacles
    » Improve the drainage system to prevent water ingress and damage to the stone by repairing the guttering
    » Create six new gargoyles to help rainwater exit the gutter in a controlled fashion

    What success will look like

    Visual evidence, including images along with the Architect's practical completion certificate

    Aim 2

    Provide extraordinary training opportunities for the next generation of stonemasons


    » On the job training for at least three stonemason trainees
    » Opportunity for six stonemasons to gain practical skills and knowledge they can apply in real time

    What success will look like

    The continued development of our stonemason team, including updates on their progress

    Aim 3

    Provide opportunities for the public to gain a broader understanding of heritage conservation


    » Public scaffold tours will help a range of audiences to understand the need for conservation and the techniques applied

    What success will look like

    Delivery of a programme of scaffold tours

  • Impact


    This project will ensure the Cathedral remains in the best possible condition for current and future generations to enjoy, whilst training a new generation of stonemasons the skills they need to help support the broader heritage sector for years to come.


    With any fabric project, key risks relate to quality, time and cost: heritage projects such as this prioritise quality. Our skilled team of Stonemasons is used to undertaking work with the attention and sensitivity needed, carefully deciding which stones to conserve and which to replace. After four years working on the adjacent Lady Chapel, our Architect and Project Manager had developed a good understanding of the work required to assist with programme and cost.


    As well as getting a certificate and plan showing exactly where your stone is located. Donors over the age of 18 will have the opportunity to join a scaffold tour to see the work up close. Once work is complete, an event for all donors will be held to mark the occasion.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £401,228

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £138,392 Stonemasons Salaries for masons team
      £33,200 Scaffolding Secure scaffolding and works compound
      £17,000 Stone and materials New stone and tools
      £8,000 Leadwork and roofing Lead and timber for leaking roofspace
      £3,900 Training Specialist stonemasons training
      £50,736 Professional Fees Architect, CDM Co-ordinator, Structural Engineer, Archaeologist and contingencies
      £150,000 Phase 2 The second phase of the project has been costed at £150,000 and will start immediately after Phase 1

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Friends of Gloucester Cathedral £100,000 Guaranteed
    The Headley Trust £50,000 Guaranteed
    The Hobson Charity £10,000 Guaranteed
    Ian M Foulerton Charitable Trust £10,000 Guaranteed
    Private Donors £30,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The project is located on the north side of Gloucester Cathedral


    - Local people
    - The Cathedral's worshipping community
    - Those who visit or use the Cathedral
    - The Cathedral stonemasons

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    As custodians of the Cathedral it is our responsibility to pass the building on to future generations in better condition than we found it.

    Our Project Team and Stonemasons know the building better than anyone else and have the skills and empathy to carry out the work to the highest possible standards

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Master Mason

    Our Master Mason has trained over 40 masons in almost 30 years at the Cathedral

    Cathedral Architect

    The Cathedral Architect is responsible for specifying and overseeing the detailed conservation work

    Project Manager

    Our Project Manager will co-ordinate the work and ensure the project is completed on time and on budget


Every £25 donated will help to conserve a stone

Every Gift - just like every stone - will make a crucial contribution

The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester