Four new carved stone creatures will arrive at the construction site of Leicester Cathedral

Stone-carved creatures will arrive at Leicester Cathedral in the coming days as part of ongoing construction work. Four new grotesques were made to replace the eroded ones.

The Leicester Cathedral Revealed project is well underway, starting with archaeological digs last year which revealed a rich local history. As part of the project, the exterior masonry of the south facade of the building is being repaired and restored.

Four new creatures, created by Loughborough stone carvers at Midlands Stone Masonry, will arrive at the construction site on Wednesday this week. They will join the fox and tiger grotesques installed in 2018 and designed by Irish artist Phoebe Cope.

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The new sculptures are a white boar, a peregrine falcon, a wyvern and a Leicester long-haired sheep. On Wednesday, a few specially invited guests with a connection to each grotesque design will visit the cathedral construction site to view the newly arrived sculptures.

  • White Boar – Iain Gordon of King Richard III Visitor Center
  • Peregrine Falcon – Jim Graham of the Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society
  • Wyvern – Cllr Ted Cassidy of Leicester City Council (closely linked to the cathedral)
  • Leicester Longwool Sheep – a representative of the Leicester Longwool Sheep Breeders Association

Demolition underway at the cathedral earlier this year to make way for a new extension.

The new sculptures are made from Peak Moor stone from Derbyshire to replace the old Victorian sandstone sculptures which have eroded badly over the years. Leicester Cathedral will store those that are weather-worn when removed.

Simon Bentley, Revealed Project Manager at Leicester Cathedral, said: “We look forward to the arrival of the new grotesques and the delivery of these new features which mean so much to the communities of Leicester and Leicestershire.

“Although it will be the end of 2023 before all the work on the Revealed Cathedral is complete, we are making real progress and when these carvings are visible on the building in a few weeks, we hope they will be an encouraging sign that our Cathedral has an exciting future and will continue to be the beating heart of our city and county.”

The grotesques were funded through a grant from the Cultural Revival Fund for Major Works Programs undertaken by builders and specialist craftsmen on churches and cathedrals. Some £12.7m was successfully raised for the full project to go ahead.

Alice F. Ponder