This Thursday Salisbury Cathedral is launching its latest Sponsor a Stone fundraiser with a special event including a talk on the innovative methods used in the 1300s to fund the building of the Cathedral, an update on restoration work in the Cloisters, a display of artefacts from the Cathedral Archive, and a special table-and-talk presentation centred around the Cathedral’s Cloister bats.
All this and a glass of wine to boot!
Behind the Stones starts at 19.00 with a specialist talk by Lindy Grant, Professor Emeritus of Medieval History, University of Reading and Honorary Research Fellow, Courtauld Institute of Art in which she explores the way funds were raised to build medieval masterpieces like Salisbury Cathedral.
Speaking ahead of her talk, entitled Sponsoring Stones: Princely and ecclesiastical patronage in the age of Salisbury Cathedral, Professor Lindy Grant said:
“Building a great church in the Middle Ages was expensive, and funding preoccupied the churchmen responsible for it. Abbeys could rely on princely patrons, who wanted to be buried there. Cathedrals had to turn to more innovative methods, at a time when the most thoughtful churchmen, like Bishop Richard Poore, who launched the building of Salisbury Cathedral, were increasingly concerned about the corrosive impact of wealth.”
Following Professor Grant’s talk, Gary Price, the Cathedral’s Clerk of Works, will give an update on the Cloister Restoration Plan, and there will be information about how you can sponsor a stone in memory of a loved one, or to celebrate a special event or achievement.
The current Cloister Restoration programme began earlier this year, with around 150 stones scheduled to be replaced over the next twelve months and around 840 stones across the North Cloister over the next four years.
Jilly Wright Head of Development and Fundraising at Salisbury Cathedral said:
“A recent survey uncovered significant issues in the North Cloisters that needed ‘urgent’ attention. The stone is heavily eroded and suffering from internal micro-fracturing, meaning there are parts that can be literally scooped out by finger. Long cracks were also found in the Purbeck pillars, which reduces their load bearing capacity significantly. So, it was important to get started as quickly as possible. On the upside, the Cloisters are a wonderful place to offer stones for sponsoring. It’s easy to visit, easy to spot your stone, and you can also see the restoration work up close.”
During the evening there will also be an opportunity to browse artefacts from the Cathedral Archive and visit a special bat table hosted by Gareth Harris, county recorder for mammals. Gareth has been studying the bats in Salisbury Cathedral since 2019, in particular the bats that congregate in the Cathedral Cloisters.
DID YOU KNOW: Salisbury Cathedral is home to 13 of the 15 species of bats native to the UK and evidence points to the Cathedral Cloisters being a key mating site for some. Bats are very faithful to their roosts, so there is a high chance that bats currently living in and around the Cathedral are the ancestors of bats who settled here hundreds of years ago.
Tickets for Stories Behind the Stones are available from the Cathedral website– adults £10/under 18s £5. A glass of wine is included in your ticket price. All proceeds from the evening go to the Cathedral’s Repair Programme.