‘Freeminer’ Gargoyle


Gloucester Cathedral today unveiled the maquette of ‘Freeminer’, the second of a set of six new gargoyles which will be installed on the North Ambulatory Roof as part of a £500,000 restoration project.

The Forest of Dean Gargoyle is kindly sponsored by Forest of Dean based company, PSW England Limited.

Each gargoyle represents a different region of the County, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury, Stroud, Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean by reflecting local traditions and heritage.

Forest of Dean – the Miner Gargoyle, chosen to represent the Forest of Dean, aims to demonstrate the dogged determination of the freeminer’s pick, axing at the coal, to provide for their families. The miners may have mostly long gone now, but their spirit continues.

The maquette (clay model) has been sculpted by the Cathedral’s Master Mason, Pascal Mychalysin and over the next six months will be carved into stone, before being installed on the North Ambulatory to protect the Cathedral’s stonework.

Peter Watkins, Managing Director of PSW England Ltd said:

“The Forest of Dean is a very special part of Gloucestershire set in between the magnificent Severn and Wye Valley rivers. It has a magical landscape - a wonderful ancient woodland with trees and valleys, rivers and streams.

By the end of the Second World War half of the male population of the Forest of Dean worked in the pits.  My grandfather, Stanley Watkins worked as a Miner at the Princess Royal Colliery in Bream before his premature death due to silicosis in November 1953 before I was born.

I have a vivid childhood memory of waiting for the shift change at the Princess Royal Pit where he had worked and hearing the thunder of boots on the road as the Miners passed our house, their faces covered in soot.  

In memory of my grandfather and all the brave hardworking men and their families who worked in the Pits of the Dean, my wife and I are privileged to be able to assist the Cathedral in their renovation work

The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester said:

“What image could have better represented the proud independence of the Forest Folks than that of a Freeminer? Mining is a hugely significant part of the Forest of Dean’s industrial heritage and deeply connects communities and families to the region’s beautiful landscape. We are delighted to celebrate such an important part of the County’s story through the creation of the Freeminer gargoyle.”

This is only the second time in living history that new gargoyles have been created for Gloucester Cathedral and once completed, they will be installed high above the north side of the Cathedral, enhancing one of the city’s most iconic skylines whilst ensuring the building remains watertight for generations to come. Built to last hundreds of years, they will serve as reminder of the support and generosity of the local community in helping to preserve this remarkable building.





For further information please contact:


Sonia Bielaszewska

Development Officer

01452 874965



Notes for Editors

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 £400,000 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. Donors over the age of 18 will also have the opportunity to join a scaffolding tour to see the work taking place up close and take in the stunning view.

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


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