The Cloister Project

Conserving extraordinary heritage

Built in the 14th century, the Great Cloister is widely regarded as the first and best example of fan vaulting in the world and is now known as ‘Hogwarts’ to Harry Potter fans. It remains internationally significant today but a 2019 survey confirmed it is at risk.

Before its current incarnation, Gloucester Cathedral was a monastic community of men and women, thereafter an abbey where every aspect of daily life from food growing and preparation, learning and democratic decision making to hospitality, almsgiving and medical care took place alongside worship. The Cloister was the centre of this life.

We will use the long-term conservation of this extraordinary built heritage (including the North Nave and Transept) to develop our stonemasons training and mentoring programme. We will offer opportunities for at least eight talented craftspeople to develop their careers through a once-in-a-millennia opportunity to work on this extraordinary fabric whilst gaining a foundation degree in Heritage Skills.

Visitors will experience conservation first-hand, learning about the people and techniques which protect heritage for future generations and we will open the Cathedral Workshop to wider uses, including tours and training.

In August 2022, with thanks to generous support from Julia and Hans Rausing, the Cathedral’s Stonemason Team and other specialists have commenced the trial phase of The Cloister Project. You can read more about this here:

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A Place for Training

Cathedral Stonemason

A new generation of stonemasons

Through the Cloister Project we are committing to train a new generation of stonemasons and ensuring continuation of the craft. We will deliver a long term stonemason apprentice programme to offer aspiring stonemasons an opportunity to train under the watchful eye of our talented and well recognised master mason – Pascal Mychalysin.

Master Mason, Pascal has trained over 70 masons in his thirty years at the Cathedral

As part of our commitment to train future generations of stonemasons, apprentices will work with our skilled team to carefully clean and conserve the stonework, removing the cement pointing and replacing with lime mortar, and renewing decayed stone elements. This isn’t a job to rush and since much of the work will be taking place indoors and at ground floor level we will be able to show visitors both the exceptional architecture and human skill and care up close.

Find out more about our masons by clicking the button below.

Cathedral Stonemasons