Follow Martin's Progress

Follow Martin's Progress

December 2019 - January 2020

Since his update in November Martin has been working on producing four shafts, these form a section of the pinnacles which are being made as part of the North Ambulatory Project. Each shaft, measuring 10” x 10” x 31” takes around seven days to produce as it is all done using hand tools. The design consists of six mainly flat faces which have each needed to be worked, and there is a simple moulding - a cavetto and chamfer - around four of the faces. Martin has also produced another indent - a replacement stone - for one of the cushion capitals. This modest piece of stone has a simple chamfer and cyma recta moulding. These projects have helped to develop Martin’s banker masonry skills and have given him a keen eye for working a flat surface and have also sharpened his ability to work these types of mouldings.

In December he also helped with lifting and installing the second of the six new gargoyles, a Forest of Dean miner.


The apprenticeship at Gloucester exposes Martin to all aspects of stonemasonry. Recently he formed part of the team who were responsible for cleaning the algae and dirt from the steps outside at the west end of the Cathedral and the large blocks in the landscaping on the south side of the precinct. He learnt how to use a Terma Tech ‘doffing’ machine. Knowing how to clean stone and using the method appropriate is a key element in the conversation and restoration of historic buildings, so this was a valuable lesson for Martin. The removal of the dirt and algae is key to prolonging the life of the stones, and it also helps maintain the presentation of the Cathedral to pilgrims and visitors.

Martin is really enjoying studying for his Foundation Degree and he has now completed two of the modules. For his first module, Learning and Studying at Work, Martin received 72% and for his second one, The Principles of Stone Construction, he scored 76%. The reading, research and writing of the essays has increased Martin’s knowledge and understanding of the Cathedral environment and broaden his understanding about the stone types that were used to build the original Abbey and restore the Cathedral. Back in November, along with his CWF fellows, Martin attended a three-day workshop in Durham, which included a trip to a local quarry where he learnt about the principles of stone extraction. Martin has returned this week from his latest three-day workshop, this time in Worcester with a day-trip to Hereford where he has gained insight into the architectural history and archaeology of churches and cathedrals. This will help him in his next assignment, Architecture and Archaeology of Historic Buildings.

Martin said:

"I’m still enjoying the experience of being the Apprentice Stonemason. In the last few months my banker masonry skills have been challenged and developed to a new level by the careful and diligent tutoring I’m receiving from my colleagues in the workshop at Gloucester. In these winter months we spend most of our time in the workshop and this has provided me with the opportunity to see my colleagues work stone and to ask them for tips and advice, this is all helping me to develop and hone my carving and cutting techniques. I’m really enthused by all the things I’m learning on the Foundation Degree. It has covered some interesting topics so far which are adding to my skills and knowledge of all aspects of masonry."

About Allchurches Trust

Allchurches Trust is one of the UK’s largest grant-making charities. In 2018, the Trust gave more than £16 million to churches, charities and communities. Its funds come from its ownership of Ecclesiastical Insurance Group. Allchurches funds projects that tackle homelessness, poverty and social exclusion, as well as supporting the repair, restoration and wider community use of churches and cathedrals of all denominations and the protection of heritage. Follow Allchurches Trust on Twitter, Facebook or visit the website

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