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Unseen wonder

06 February 2015

IT TOOK three months to design and carve; and placing it on the top of the buttress on the north-west front of Exeter Cathedral was no easy matter. Yet, from the ground, its intricacy and the skill it represents will be entirely lost to human view.

This is one of the new finial stones to replace those worn away by wind and weather. The previous ones were 18th-century, themselves replacements for still earlier stones. "These pieces", the Clerk of Works at the cathedral, Chris Sampson, says, "are just some of the first that our four stonemasons will be working on. There is a huge amount of work to be done to repair and create carved elements of the cathedral, much of it involving carved heads and other intricate sculpture."

Two new stonemasons have been recruited to carry out the work on the 900-year-old building, which is one of the most flamboyantly carved of our cathedrals. They have been funded by the Friends of Exeter Cathedral.

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