Four new stone grotesques have arrived at Leicester Cathedral, ready to replace old, weather-worn ones as part of the renovation work which is currently taking place.
As part of the ongoing ‘Leicester Cathedral Revealed‘ project four new carved creatures will be installed as an integral part of the parapet wall; namely a White Boar, a Peragrine Falcon, a Wyvern and a Leicester Longwool Sheep.
The grotesques, which are made of Peak Moor stone from Derbyshire, will complement the fox and tiger grotesques, which were installed at the cathedral in 2018.
Simon Bentley, Project Manager for Leicester Cathedral Revealed, explained the significance of these new figures to the communities of Leicester and Leicestershire.
“The four new stone grotesques at Leicester Cathedral are a key element of the Leicester Cathedral Revealed project – and will help to reveal the living stories of Cathedral and its role as a place of worship, heritage, pilgrimage, hospitality, learning, sanctuary and celebration in Leicester and Leicestershire”, he said.
“Stone carved grotesques are a fascinating feature on many historic buildings and serve to highlight aspects of local culture and history”.
The white boar is of great significance to Leicester Cathedral – the final resting place of King Richard III as it was his personal emblem.
A Peragrine Falcon has been chosen for display, as the bird is now an established feature at Leicester Cathedral and in the city centre, where their exploits, behaviour and ecology attract much interest and comment.
The figure of a reptilian beast – known as a Wyvern – has strong historical connections to Leicester, since it origins in 1619 when the Arms of the City of Leicester were confirmed during a Heraldic Visitation.
It is carved into many of the Victorian buildings in Leicester as well as sitting on top of the Town Hall itself.
Finally, the Leicester Long Wool Sheep is a notable animal which originated in the 1700s in Dishley Grange, Leicestershire by Robert Bakewell. It is a celebrated animal which has been used to improve many sheep breeds due to its meaty carcass and heavy fleece.
The new grotesques have been carved by skilled and experienced stone carvers from Loughborough firm Midland Stone Masonry.
They have been designed and carved by skilled sculptor/carver Alan Necchi.
The old, weather-worn gargoyles which were eroding have been removed and are now on the ground. They will be stored safely by the Cathedral.
The grotesques are funded with a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund for programmes of major works undertaken by specialist builders and craftspeople on churches and cathedrals. Match funding comes from the National Heritage Lottery Fund and Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme.
for updates and more information on Leicester Cathedral Revealed, visit: https://leicestercathedral.org/project-updates/