Durham Cathedral completes restoration of Monks’ Garden Wall

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Stonemasons at Durham Cathedral have completed restoration of the Monks’ Garden Wall after nearly two years of work.

On 13th February 2024, the final stone in the Monks’ Garden Wall was laid, signifying the completion of its restoration. Work had started in 2022 after a survey at Durham Cathedral found cases of damaged and cracked stones. Had the restoration work not been carried out, there was potential that the wall could have posed a danger to visitors and staff.

On 13th February 2024 the final stone … was laid, signifying the completion of its restoration

The project has seen the replacement of over 200 stones, mostly carried out in-house by the Cathedral’s stonemasons. The restoration has mostly been completed by hand and the stonemasons even produced their own lime mortar. Replacement stones have been matched as closely to their originals as possible, and efforts have been made to source materials locally.

Much of the funding for the project has come from the charity Friends of Durham Cathedral, whose 3000 members support a wide range of the Cathedral’s conservation and restoration projects, such as the preceding restoration of Neville’s Tomb in 2022. In the last decade, the charity has raised over £2 million for Durham Cathedral’s restoration projects.

The project has seen the replacement of over 200 stones

The chief stonemason, Gary Holliday, told the BBC that while the project had been a “challenging and lengthy process…seeing all the hard work coming to fruition” was “most satisfying”.

The Monks’ Garden dates to the 12th century when the Galilee Chapel was constructed. It was originally used as a bowling green and a leisure space for monks, and then for the wider clergy following the Reformation in the 16th century.

During the restoration the Monks’ Garden has remained open, although was inhibited due to the presence of scaffolding. As of 26th February 2024, the scaffolding has been removed and the garden is again fully accessible to the public.

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