A STRAY cat who wandered into a church stonemason's yard has
been immortalised in a carving on the building's west front.
The mason, Andrew Gomersall, adopted the starving animal a year
ago after she came into his workshop at Beverley Minster, in east
Yorkshire, foraging for food.
He dubbed her Dusty, as she did not seem to mind the gritty
atmosphere of the yard; and, when the time came to carve four
mystical grotesques on the limestone base of a replacement
pinnacle, 150 feet up on the Minster's façade, Dusty
(right) seemed an ideal model for one of them.
He said: "She was in a bit of state when she first turned up.
The Minster's plumber, Steve Rial, and I started by throwing her
scraps, then I brought in cat food, and Steve brought in biscuits.
She got more and more friendly, and now she thinks she lives in the
"We think she might be a Russian Blue, possibly a pedigree, and
maybe her owners moved away and lost her. I decided to incorporate
her into the pinnacle quite late in the process. I had shaped the
stone, and was considering the grotesques as the final stages. I
thought: 'Why not?' It seemed a fitting subject.
"John English, the Minster surveyor, who has immediate
responsibility for what I do, loved it. Like us, he has become
quite fond of the cat."
He carved Dusty with a blue tit in her mouth, because in the
early days she was living by catching wild birds. The original
stone was so badly eroded that there were no clues to what the
14th-century masons had carved.