'Freeminer' Gargoyle installed on Gloucester Cathedral


'Freeminer' Gargoyle installed on Gloucester Cathedral

The second of the Cathedral’s six new gargoyles takes his place.

The ‘Freeminer’ Gargoyle, which was carved by Cathedral Stonemason Paul Synan, is the second of six new gargoyles designed by Master Mason, Pascal Mychalysin. Each gargoyle represents a different region of the County: Gloucester, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury, Stroud, Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean.  The gargoyles reflect local traditions and heritage.

What image could have better represented the proud independence of the Forest Folks than that of a Freeminer? The Miner gargoyle aims to demonstrate the dogged determination of the Freeminer’s pick, axing at the coal, to provide for their families. Freemining continues to be an important part of what makes the Forest of Dean special.

Paul Synan said:

“I thoroughly enjoyed working on my first ever gargoyle, the biggest challenge was getting it done on time!  Luckily we have a wealth of experience in the workshop so I was never short of advice.”

The collective efforts of the Cathedral’s stonemasons saw the gargoyle, weighing half a tonne, installed using exactly the same method as would have been used in medieval times. They used modern chain and tackle, rather than a rope and wooden wheel.  

Cathedral Master Mason, Pascal Mychalysin, said:

“For the first time in 600 years, gargoyles are being lifted back to the top of the Cathedral North Side where they will once again grace the skyline with their fantastic shapes, gurgling out all the rainwater from the Cathedral‘s roofs.  We are delighted to introduce these iconic figures which will spark the imaginations of visitors with their fantastic and lively appearance.”

This is only the second time in living history that new gargoyles have been created for the Cathedral.  Built to last hundreds of years, they will serve as reminder of the support and generosity of the local community in helping to conserve this remarkable building for future generations.

The remaining gargoyles will be installed on the Cathedral in the coming months. 

The ‘Freeminer’ Gargoyle is generously sponsored by a Forest of Dean based company PSW England Ltd. 


About the North Ambulatory

An architectural masterpiece crafted in the Romanesque style, the Ambulatory dates to the very origins of the 900-year-old Norman Abbey. In this part of the building you will find the tomb of King Edward II and the Memorial Chapel, honouring the County’s war dead. Currently the Cathedral’s most pressing focus for repair, the stonework requires urgent conservation to ensure it is water-tight and weatherproof.

About the Living Stones Campaign

Alongside the gargoyle sponsorship appeal, Gloucester Cathedral has launched a fundraising campaign encouraging supporters to sponsor their own Cathedral stone. The ‘Living Stones’ appeal aims to raise funds towards a £530,000 project to restore one of the oldest parts of the building, the North Ambulatory.

For a minimum donation of £25.00, supporters will be allocated their own stone which will be conserved as part of the project. In return, they will receive a certificate and a plan showing exactly where it is located.

Donations can be made online at: www.gloucestercathedral/support/livingstones

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