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Cathedral’s second gargoyle maquette, ‘Freeminer’ is revealed

Gloucester Cathedral

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.
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.

Explore Gloucestershire
14 August 2019

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