5th December 2023

The Foundation degree students visit Durham for a study workshop

A Setting Out session in the cathedral cloisters

The students enjoyed a very informative workshop in Durham Cathedral recently. They had chance to explore many areas of the cathedral with the cathedral archaeologist, Norman Emery, to visit the works yard and to meet many of the works team. They also enjoyed tours of the cathedral library archives and museum where they learned a great deal about the history, the building fabric and the cathedral’s treasures. Classroom sessions centred on Setting Out, which included a practical session in the cathedral cloisters and on Understanding the Cathedral Environment, when guest speakers talked about their roles within the organisation.

The students also benefited from field trips in the local area, to Dunhouse Quarry where they learnt about the quarry extraction and stone preparation processes and the organ makers, Harrison and Harrison, who manage the care of many of the CWF cathedral organs. This was a workshop rich with information and experiences which the students will reflect on back at their own workplaces and use in their studies. Thank you to Durham Cathedral and everyone who supported the workshop to make it such a great success!

30th October 2023

Salisbury Cathedral Workshop

The students with Gary Price, Salisbury Cathedral Clerk of Works and CWF Module Leader

The latest study workshop for the Foundation degree programme students was held at Salisbury Cathedral in mid-October. The students enjoyed extensive tours of the cathedral, the tower and the works yard in addition to classroom sessions on the principles of stone construction. On a field trip to Winspit Quarry and Haysom’s Quarry in Purbeck, the students learnt a great deal about modern and historical handling of Purbeck and Portland stone. Thank you very much to everyone at Salisbury Cathedral who enabled such an informative and enjoyable visit!

12th October 2023

Welcome to the new Foundation degree students!

The next cohort of CWF Foundation degree students enrolled on their new programme in Canterbury recently. Students attended their first Study Workshop for induction and the start of the first study skills module. In addition to meeting their tutors, they had the opportunity to attend the graduation ceremony of the previous cohort who graduated in Canterbury in that same week and to chat to the new graduates in a session the next day to find out about their course experiences.

The new students were treated to a very special twilight tour of Canterbury Cathedral, a trip up the scaffold, a visit to the workshop and a visit to the Cathedral Library and Archive, in between the classroom sessions. The students were very grateful to the Canterbury Works team for hosting such an interesting and varied workshop – a great start to their studies!

29th September 2023

Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship craftspeople celebrate extraordinary success at the 2023 graduation event at Canterbury Cathedral.

In a momentous occasion, Canterbury Cathedral played host to the proud graduation of fourteen talented students from the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF). This memorable event took place last week and marked the culmination of their dedication and hard work over the past two years. These individuals, enrolled in the CWF’s Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair, completed their transformative journey amidst the resplendent surroundings of Canterbury Cathedral.

The prestigious Evensong service, presided over by the Very Reverend David Monteith, Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, was a solemn yet celebratory occasion. Dr Matthew Andrews, the Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, had the privilege of conferring the well-deserved awards to the accomplished graduates.

Frances Cambrook, CWF Executive Director, Commends the Graduates:

In an inspiring address to the graduates, CWF Executive Director Frances Cambrook emphasised the transformative nature of their educational journey. She shared words of encouragement, reflecting on their initial trepidation and their subsequent growth in confidence and expertise. She celebrated the remarkable determination displayed by these graduates, who managed to pursue their studies while simultaneously managing full-time work and family commitments. She underscored that this achievement was not theirs alone, acknowledging the unwavering support of their families, friends, and employers.
“When you started the course two years ago some of you indicated that you felt daunted but excited by the journey ahead of you. I hope that looking back you now feel that the course was less daunting than you feared and that you are now excited by what the next stage of your career has in store. You have all demonstrated another quality, determination. You set yourselves a goal and stuck with it, whilst working full time and juggling family life. You, and your families, friends and employers who have supported you, can all be rightly very proud of what you have achieved.”

Dr Matthew Andrews Recognises Outstanding Academic Excellence:

Dr Matthew Andrews took a moment to highlight the outstanding academic and practical accomplishments of this year’s graduating class. With 10 students achieving Merit and 3 students earning Distinction qualifications, their results stand as a testament to both the robustness of the CWF programme and the immense talent of these graduates. He expressed a level of pride that any university would feel when recognising such stellar achievements.

Emma Waitzmann, one of the accomplished graduates from York Minster, shared her excitement and gratitude on this momentous occasion. Graduating from the Foundation degree marked a significant milestone in her career. Emma expressed her eagerness to expand her horizons by embarking on a journey to New Zealand. There, she intends to apply her honed skills and expertise to various projects. Emma underscored how the CWF programme has not only enhanced her skillset but also bolstered her confidence, making her well-prepared for the exciting next chapter in her professional journey.

“Graduating from the Foundation degree has been a fantastic event and great opportunity to celebrate all of our successes. I am looking forward to travelling around New Zealand next following the end of my training role at York Minster and hopefully taking my skills to other projects there. This course has helped me develop my skills and confidence and I am now feeling ready for the next chapter of my career.”

Following the ceremony, the Cathedral’s magnificent Chapter House played host to a joyous reception. It was the perfect setting for the graduates to revel in their well-earned success.
The graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral was a poignant celebration of talent, dedication, and the enduring legacy of the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship. It marked not only the culmination of a remarkable educational journey but also the commencement of a promising future for these skilled craftspeople.

18th September 2023

Latest Vacancies at CWF Cathedrals

Foreman Stonemason
Chester Cathedral
Chester Cathedral invites applications for the role of Foreman Stonemason.
More information can be found here

Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral invites applications for the role of Stonemason.
More information can be found here

1st September 2023

Exploring Pathways of Excellence: A Conversation with Alex Adams, Rising Stonemason at Trondheim Cathedral

Stonemason Alex Adams

In this edition of our newsletter, we had the privilege to sit down with Alex Adams, a remarkable graduating student whose journey takes us through the intricate world of stonemasonry. Having recently secured a coveted position at Trondheim Cathedral, Alex’s story of accomplishment unfolds with a diverse range of experiences. From his early days of employment and training at Lincoln Cathedral to honing his craft under the tutelage of Matthias Garn, Master Mason and Partner, Alex’s trajectory exemplifies dedication and expertise. Join us as we delve into his inspiring career voyage and gain insights into the artistry and dedication that define his path to success.

When do you start your new position at Trondheim Cathedral, and how do you feel about your successful application to employment there?

“I’m starting my new position at Trondheim Cathedral later in the year, subject to visas and administration. I’m absolutely thrilled and excited about it! It’s like a dream come true. I feel really lucky because there were so many people who applied for this opportunity, and I made it through. It’s a great feeling.

One of the things that excites me the most is the chance to learn from new people and experience life in a different country. It’s going to be a whole new adventure for me, something I’ve never done before. I won’t lie, it’s also a bit scary. I mean, moving to a foreign country and starting a new job, that’s a big change. But I believe in embracing challenges head-on, so I’m ready to dive in and make the most of it.

Another aspect that adds to the excitement is the opportunity to work with a different type of stone. Trondheim Cathedral uses soapstone, which is quite different from the limestone and sandstone I’ve worked with before. It has its own unique qualities. I’ve heard it’s a whole different beast to work with but I’m up for the challenge. Exploring new materials and techniques is always fascinating, and I can’t wait to see what working with soapstone will be like.

Overall, I feel a mix of excitement, luck, gratitude, and a touch of nervousness about this successful application. It’s just too good of an opportunity to pass up, and I’m ready to give it my all.”

How has your involvement in the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship Foundation degree prepared you to handle the unique challenges and requirements of working in a historic cathedral setting?

“You know, it’s all about context. When I go to Trondheim Cathedral and see a big crack or some other issue, I can draw on my experiences from the conservation module at Winchester Cathedral or other cathedrals I’ve visited. I’ve been lucky enough to visit around 15 different cathedrals during the CWF programme, and let me tell you, they all have their own set of problems. But that’s the cool part. I can say, “Hey, I saw something similar at Canterbury Cathedral” or “Oh, Wells Cathedral had that issue, and this is how they fixed it.” It’s like having this mental library of examples and solutions to draw from. The exposure to different cathedrals has also given me a crash course in conservation approaches and techniques. I’ve seen firsthand how they tackle restoration and conservation in different places, and that’s been a real eye-opener. I’ve learned so much from observing what works and what doesn’t, and it’s like building up my own toolkit of strategies for Trondheim Cathedral.

So yeah, thanks to CWF, I’ve got this great contextual understanding of historic cathedrals and a whole bunch of practical experiences under my belt. It’s like I’ve been primed to handle the unique challenges and requirements that come with working in such a special setting. I feel confident in my ability to analyse problems, propose solutions, and bring the best practices I’ve learned from different cathedrals to the table.”

Can you discuss any collaborative projects or experiences you have had with other professionals, both within the Fellowship programme and the Cathedral network, and how they have contributed to your growth as a craftsman?

“One person who has been incredibly influential is Ian Chalmers. He has been my mentor throughout the CWF programme, and I’ve learned so much from him. He’s been there to guide me, especially when it comes to setting out. His expertise and advice have been invaluable, and he’s a fantastic draughtsman. I’ve really looked up to him and learned a lot from his high standards of setting out.

Another professional who has made a significant impact on me is Alex Woodcock, the leader of the Architecture & Archaeology module. He has this amazing enthusiasm and ability to turn what could be dry and dull subjects into something genuinely interesting and exciting. You know, when you’re dealing with dates and historical facts, it’s easy for things to become boring, but Alex’s passion and energy rub off on you. He’s a really cool guy, and his approach to teaching really made the subject come alive for me.

These collaborative experiences with Ian, Alex, and other professionals have contributed greatly to my growth as a craftsman. Learning from their expertise, receiving their guidance and mentorship, and witnessing their passion and dedication to their respective fields has inspired me to push myself further. It’s not just about technical skills but also about embracing the artistry, precision, and passion that goes into cathedral craftsmanship.”

What advice would you give to current and future students of the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship Foundation degree who aspire to secure employment at a cathedral after graduation?

“First off, don’t be shy to reach out and talk to as many people as possible. Take advantage of workshops, conferences, and networking events to connect with professionals in the field. Engage in conversations, ask questions, and learn from their experiences. You never know who might have valuable insights or be able to help you land that dream job.

Next, keep an open mind. While you may have a particular cathedral or role in mind, don’t be afraid to explore different paths within cathedral craftsmanship. As you visit various cathedrals and interact with different professionals, you might discover new areas of interest that you hadn’t considered before. Embrace those opportunities and keep your options open.

Building a strong network is crucial. Connect with the people you meet, exchange contact information, and stay in touch. Networking plays a significant role in this industry, as recommendations and connections can often lead to job opportunities. Nurture those relationships and maintain professional connections throughout your career. It’s important to understand the relatively small world of cathedral craftsmanship. While it can work to your advantage in terms of recommendations and connections, it also means that your reputation matters. Approach interactions with professionalism, treat others with respect, and present yourself in the best possible light. Remember, word travels fast in this tight-knit community.

Lastly, don’t rely solely on your degree. The CWF Foundation degree is undoubtedly valuable, but practical experience and continuous learning are equally important. Seek opportunities to gain hands-on experience, develop your skills, and expand your portfolio beyond what the degree offers. Demonstrating a proactive attitude and a commitment to growth will set you apart from the competition.”

Looking back on your journey from being a student at the Foundation degree to your current position, what are the key takeaways or lessons learned that you would like to share with others?

“First and foremost, I’ve come to truly appreciate the value of talking to people and seeking out different perspectives. It’s not just about networking for the sake of it; it’s about engaging in conversations and learning from others. Whether it’s fellow students, professionals in the field, or even craftsmen I’ve encountered on the job, every interaction has offered valuable insights. So, my advice is to keep those lines of communication open and never hesitate to ask questions. You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn. Don’t be afraid to ask loads of questions, whether it’s about techniques, approaches, or even career advice. People in this field are generally quite passionate about their work and are happy to share their knowledge. So, seize the opportunity to learn from their expertise.

Another thing I wish I had done more of is keeping a diary or notebook during the journey. It would have been great to jot down my thoughts and impressions along the way. There were so many people I spoke to and experiences I had, but as time goes by, it becomes challenging to remember all the details. Having a record would have been a wonderful resource to look back on and reminisce.

One piece of advice I’d give to anyone considering the Foundation degree is to be aware that it requires a significant investment of time, especially outside of the formal programme. There’s a lot of self-directed learning and research involved. It can be challenging at times, especially when you see your friends heading out to the pub while you’re stuck indoors working on reports. But remember, the growth and development happen when you push through those moments. Stay disciplined, commit to the process, and know that the hard work will pay off in the end.

Finally, once you’ve gone through the journey and completed the programme, you’ll find that you have so much more time and headspace to tackle other things. It’s like breaking through a barrier and realising the immense growth you’ve achieved. So, stay focused, persevere, and keep your eye on the bigger picture.”

31st August 2023

Latest Vacancies at CWF Cathedrals

Foreman Stonemason
Chester Cathedral
Chester Cathedral invites applications for the role of Foreman Stonemason.
More information can be found here

30th August 2023

Exploring Achievements: A Conversation with Oliver Hudson – From Graduating Student to Accomplished Stonemason at Exeter Cathedral

Stonemason and Conservator Oliver Hudson at Exeter Cathedral

In a captivating exchange with the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF), we had the distinct privilege of sitting down with Oliver Hudson, a recent graduate whose journey has taken an extraordinary turn. His remarkable accomplishment as a newly appointed stonemason at Exeter Cathedral, a prestigious member of the CWF, showcases the pinnacle of dedication and skill in the realm of cathedral craftsmanship. In this exclusive interview article, we delve into Oliver’s transformative journey, his insights into the artistry of stonemasonry, and his experiences within the cherished halls of Exeter Cathedral.

When did you start your new position at Exeter Cathedral Works Department, and how do you feel about your successful application to employment there?

“I started my new position at Exeter Cathedral Works Department in July. It has been an incredibly exciting and fulfilling journey so far, and I am still pinching myself to believe that I am actually working here. I am absolutely delighted for various reasons.

First and foremost, my strong interest in ecclesiastical architecture drew me to this position as a stone mason. Being able to contribute to the preservation and maintenance of such a magnificent and historic structure is a dream come true. It allows me to combine my passion for stonework with my love for the intricacies of ecclesiastical design. This role provides me with an opportunity for personal and professional growth. As a stone mason, I have already started expanding my knowledge and honing my skills in working with different types of stones and techniques specific to cathedral restoration. This position offers a unique chance to progress not only as a mason but also as a well-rounded professional in the field of architectural conservation.

Beyond the technical aspects of the job, there is a deeply personal connection that makes my employment at Exeter Cathedral even more special. Since my childhood, I have felt a strong affinity for this magnificent building. It has always held a special place in my heart, and now, after 20 years, I find myself blessed with the opportunity to be a custodian of this architectural marvel. The sense of awe and reverence that fills the air is truly humbling. Being able to contribute to the preservation and maintenance of this sacred place brings me immense joy and fulfilment.”

How has your experience at the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship Foundation degree contributed to your success in obtaining employment at Exeter Cathedral?

“The experience I gained at the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship Foundation degree was absolutely paramount in my success in obtaining employment at Exeter Cathedral. The knowledge and expertise I acquired through that programme played a crucial role in securing my position and ultimately getting invited for an interview.

The Foundation degree provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the principles, techniques, and best practices involved in cathedral restoration and maintenance. The programme not only covered theoretical aspects but also provided hands-on practical training, allowing me to develop my skills as a stone mason in the context of ecclesiastical architecture. During the degree programme, I learned about the intricate details of working with different types of stone, the importance of preserving historical features, and the methodologies employed in cathedral conservation. This knowledge was directly applicable to the work carried out at Exeter Cathedral, and it showcased my understanding of the specific requirements and challenges associated with such a project.

When I applied for the position at Exeter Cathedral, my qualifications and experience through the Foundation degree served as a strong testament to my dedication and competence. The knowledge I gained, both in theory and practice, demonstrated my commitment to the preservation and restoration of historic structures like Exeter Cathedral.”

In what ways do you believe the Foundation degree programme has helped you develop your creativity and innovation in the field of cathedral craftsmanship?

“One of the key modules that contributed to this development was the Architecture & Archaeology module. It was fascinating to dive into the historical context of different architectural styles and understand how they evolved over time. This knowledge gave me a deeper appreciation for the cultural and artistic influences that shaped cathedral craftsmanship. It also allowed me to make informed decisions that align with the architectural context of the building I’m working on. When you have a good understanding of the context and styles, it opens up a world of possibilities for incorporating unique and creative design elements that complement the overall aesthetic of the cathedral.

Another module that really sparked my creativity was the Historic Ornamental Carving module. I had the opportunity to learn various stone carving techniques, and let me tell you, it’s a true art form. It allowed me to express my own creativity and bring a personal touch to my craftsmanship. The module encouraged experimentation and thinking outside the box, which really fuelled my innovation in cathedral craftsmanship.

And let’s not forget the wealth of literature and historical examples we explored throughout the degree programme. Studying the lessons from history and examining the works of master craftsmen was truly eye-opening. It exposed me to different styles, techniques, and inspirations that I could draw from in my own work. It’s amazing how literature and historical examples can spark your imagination and encourage you to push the boundaries of traditional practices. I found myself constantly inspired and motivated to think creatively and embrace innovative solutions in my cathedral craftsmanship.”

Can you discuss any collaborative projects or experiences you have had with other professionals, both within the Fd programme and Cathedral network, and how they have contributed to your growth as a craftsman?

“During my Foundation degree programme, I had the pleasure of collaborating with some incredibly talented individuals. Rachael Wragg (Lincoln) really stood out with her unwavering enthusiasm and dedication to her craft. Her passion and commitment inspired me. Another person who left a lasting impression was Joe Milne (Exeter), whose exceptional talent in craftsmanship was truly awe-inspiring. Working alongside these fellow practitioners allowed me to witness their deep talent and complexity, creating an environment of mutual growth and learning. Ultimately everyone on the course was brilliant and I could list everyone of them highlighting their talent and expertise.

Beyond my cohort, I also had the opportunity to collaborate with professionals in the Cathedral network. I had the pleasure of collaborating with Alex Woodcock during the Architecture & Archaeology module. Alex’s infectious passion and extensive knowledge of architectural history were truly inspiring. Through our collaboration, I gained a broader understanding of architectural styles and the fascinating stories they tell. Another standout collaborator was Michael Sheppard, a conservation expert. Working with Michael during the conservation module was a privilege as I gained invaluable knowledge and guidance on conservation practices. His expertise enhanced my understanding and helped refine my own approach to the craft.

Throughout the Foundation degree programme, the tutors provided continuous support and guidance. Their open-mindedness and willingness to listen and provide feedback created a nurturing learning environment. I am grateful for their mentorship, and I know that I can always reach out to them for support and maintain the valuable network they provide. These collaborations with fellow students, professionals, and tutors have been instrumental in my growth as a craftsman. They have expanded my perspective, deepened my knowledge, and provided a supportive community to learn and develop within.”

Looking back on your journey from being a student at the Foundation degree to your current position, what are the key takeaways or lessons learned that you would like to share with others?

Firstly, I would encourage students to go out and seek as much exposure and experience as possible. Don’t limit yourself to just what is required by the programme. Take the initiative to engage with additional opportunities, such as workshops, seminars, and site visits. The more you immerse yourself in the field, the more you will learn and grow as a craftsman.

Secondly, be organised in your approach to navigating the course requirements. Stay on top of your assignments, projects, and deadlines. Procrastination can quickly pile up and create unnecessary stress. By staying organised and managing your time effectively, you can ensure that you give your best effort to each task and achieve better results.

Additionally, don’t take the opportunities provided by the CWF for granted. The access and privileges you have as a student in the programme are unique and should be cherished. Take full advantage of visiting different cathedrals and parts of buildings that the general public may not have access to. These experiences can be truly surreal and leave a lasting impact on your journey as a craftsman. You need to appreciate the privilege of being able to witness and study architectural marvels up close. I remember the awe-inspiring experience of getting up close to the Lincoln Cathedral west front frieze, realising that it might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Each trip to a cathedral was a reminder of how privileged I felt to have these unique encounters. Treasure these moments and let them inspire you in your craft.

14th August 2023

Duke of Gloucester Awards 2023

The Worshipful Company of Masons has issued the Calling Notice, Rules and Entry Form for this year’s Duke of Gloucester Awards for Excellence in the Craft of Stonemasonry.

The Calling Notice is here

The Rules and Entry Form are here

The Awards will be held at Mercers’ Hall, London, on 6th December 2023.

10th August 2023

The Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship and Hamish Ogston Foundation announce latest grant of over £500,000 to secure the future of our cathedrals

Salisbury Cathedral Apprentice Stonemason supported by the grant. Picture by Finnbarr Webster

We are thrilled to share some remarkable heritage conservation news and the commitment to preserving our cherished cathedrals. The Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) and the Hamish Ogston Foundation have joined forces once again to announce an extraordinary grant exceeding £500,000. This funding will play a pivotal role in safeguarding the future of our cathedrals and the dedicated individuals who care for these iconic structures.

Between September 2022 and August 2025, the Hamish Ogston Foundation will generously provide a staggering £2.3 million to the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) as part of an enduring partnership project aimed at securing the legacy of our cathedrals. The recent grant of £534,768 signifies a significant stride forward in this mission.
The essence of this grant lies in nurturing a continuous flow of skilled individuals through the CWF’s comprehensive training programme – the Hamish Ogston Foundation Craft Training Programme. This programme, in turn, ensures the transfer of vital skills required to preserve heritage sites from one generation to the next. This particular grant will support the education of five stonemasonry students at the Improver Level 3, propelling them towards the CWF’s Foundation degree course in 2025. Additionally, eleven Level 2 students in both joinery and stonemasonry will be enrolled, fortifying the foundation of this important endeavour.

What adds to the excitement of this initiative is the pioneering scheme to retain six emerging and recently qualified stonemasonry students within their home cathedrals. This approach provides a unique opportunity for hands-on experience, allowing these individuals to learn from the finest heritage professionals while enhancing their employability prospects.

As we celebrate this milestone, it is important to acknowledge the impressive dedication and commitment displayed by the current cohort of thirteen students. Their journey has led them to successfully complete their Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair. With outstanding results from all students it stands as a testament to the exceptional efforts of both students and tutors.

Robert Bargery, Heritage Project Director of the Hamish Ogston Foundation, aptly stated, “The UK is home to some of the world’s most historic and awe-inspiring cathedrals. These buildings have been built to last, but like all great pieces of art, they sometimes need repair and maintenance work by specialist skilled workers to meet the demands of the 21st century.

Frances Cambrook, Executive Director at the CWF, expressed immense gratitude towards the Hamish Ogston Foundation for their generous support, especially during challenging times. She emphasised that the new phase of the project is essential to sustain the heritage craft skills required to care for these beloved structures.

This grant is not an isolated effort but part of a wider investment in heritage skills training across the UK and the Commonwealth. The Hamish Ogston Foundation is now a driving force behind a £29 million investment that will further bolster heritage skills training in partnership with organisations like English Heritage, the Commonwealth Heritage Forum, and Historic Environment Scotland. Since its inception in 2019, the Hamish Ogston Foundation has pledged nearly £44 million towards heritage skills training, solidifying its status as the largest private donor to this noble cause.

This partnership underscores a shared commitment to safeguarding the magnificence of our cathedrals and preserving the skills that make it possible. We look forward to witnessing the ripple effects of this grant, as it continues to foster a new generation of skilled individuals dedicated to our architectural heritage.

10th August 2023

Latest Vacancies at CWF Cathedrals

Apprentice Stonemason
Winchester Cathedral
Winchester Cathedral invites applications for the role of Apprentice Stonemason.
More information can be found here

7th August 2023

Congratulations to the Level 5 students

We are delighted to extend our heartfelt congratulations to the accomplished students of the 2021 – 2023 cohort of the CWF Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair. Their exceptional efforts have culminated in the successful completion of their course, with each student achieving remarkable results.
After years of dedication and diligence, these individuals have emerged successful, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to their studies. This achievement not only signifies the mastery of intricate subjects related to historic building conservation and repair but also marks a significant milestone in their educational journey.

As they embark on a well-deserved summer break, it is worth noting that this respite is even more meaningful as it is the first time in several years that they will enjoy a truly tuition-free period. This offers them the opportunity to reflect on their accomplishments and recharge before the next chapter of their academic or professional pursuits.
The forthcoming graduation ceremony in September 2023 promises to be a truly momentous occasion, with the magnificent Canterbury Cathedral providing a fitting backdrop to honour these graduates’ dedication and hard work.
We extend our warmest congratulations once again to all the students for their exceptional efforts and commendable achievements. May their future endeavours be equally successful and fulfilling.

All of the Level 5 students are funded by the Hamish Ogston Foundation, as part of their ongoing partnership with the CWF. This generous funding is essential for securing the future of English cathedrals, and the talented craftspeople who care for them.

3rd August 2023

Latest Vacancies at CWF Cathedrals

Lichfield Cathedral
Lichfield Cathedral invites applications for the role of Stonemason.
More information can be found here

Apprentice Stonemason
Lichfield Cathedral
Lichfield Cathedral invites applications for the role of Apprentice Stonemason.
More information can be found here

2nd August 2023

Historic Lichfield Cathedral Joins Prestigious Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship

We are excited to announce that Lichfield Cathedral has become the newest member of the renowned Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF). This significant collaboration marks a pivotal moment in Lichfield Cathedral’s history, as it takes a bold step forward in preserving traditional craft skills and embracing innovative techniques.

Supported by the visionary Hamish Ogston Foundation (HOF) and its pioneering Craft Training Programme, Lichfield Cathedral is set to establish a new works department and workshop facility on its historic grounds. This initiative reflects a steadfast commitment to heritage conservation and the advancement of artisanal craftsmanship.

Frances Cambrook, Executive Director of CWF, expressed her delight, stating, “We extend a warm welcome to Lichfield Cathedral as our 12th member. This partnership signifies a collective dedication to sustainable conservation and the retention of essential craft skills, ensuring our architectural heritage continues to thrive.”

Simon Warburton, Executive Director of Lichfield Cathedral, emphasised the significance of this collaboration, “Lichfield Cathedral’s inclusion in the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship and the support from the Hamish Ogston Foundation mark a transformative journey. We are eager to combine centuries-old craftsmanship with modern innovation, ensuring our cathedral remains a beacon of history and a testament to future generations.”

The generous grant of £3.5 million from the Hamish Ogston Foundation will enable members like Lichfield Cathedral to welcome skilled stone masons and bolster its works department. As part of the CWF network, Lichfield Cathedral joins esteemed institutions like Canterbury, Chester, Durham, and others, enhancing the collective effort to conserve our national treasures.

Stay tuned for updates as Lichfield Cathedral embarks on this exciting journey of preservation, innovation, and collaborative excellence.

21st July 2023

Latest Vacancies at CWF Cathedrals

Clerk of Works
Worcester Cathedral
Worcester Cathedral invites applications for the role of Clerk of Works.
More information can be found here

Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral invites applications for the role of Stonemason.
More information can be found here

Stained Glass – Glazier
Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral invites applications for the role of Stained glass – Glazier.
More information can be found here

20th July 2023

Freshman Stonemasonry Student Tatum Connor Embarks on Transformative Externship at Lincoln Cathedral

Tatum Connor, a talented 19-year-old freshman stonemasonry student from the American College of the Building Arts, Charleston, South Carolina, has been granted a remarkable opportunity to participate in an externship at Lincoln Cathedral in the United Kingdom. Placed by the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) at the Lincoln Cathedral works department, Tatum is working on one of the finest medieval cathedrals in the UK, developing her skills in banker work while gaining invaluable hands-on experience in various aspects of stonemasonry.

Tatum, one of the 200 students at the American College of the Building Arts, brings her prior experience with banker work to the table. This experience is now being enriched through her work at Lincoln Cathedral, where she is engaging with raking out, repointing, and stone fixing skills, both on the banker and on-site, for the first time. Supported by Rachael Wragg, a Foundation degree student with the CWF, and the conservation team at Lincoln, Tatum has been able to dive into her externship with passion and dedication.  

On-site works at Lincoln Cathedral are currently focused on the Chapter House, encompassing parapet restoration, weathered stone replacement, and conservation efforts. The major restoration projects on pinnacles and buttresses provide Tatum with a diverse and complex site where she can hone her skills and considerably expand her knowledge. Tatum has found great joy in this process, expressing, “It was fun to take out the old Victorian cement, and it was great to see the whole process of the blocks coming together. The experience has been nice and beautiful, with the fresh air on-site, and I am thoroughly enjoying every step of the process.”   In addition to her practical work, Tatum has been learning the art of copy carving in the workshop. This has involved taking an apprentice panel and meticulously copying the motif onto a blank stone.

Tatum’s familiarity with the workshop environment has allowed her to seamlessly continue her work at Lincoln Cathedral. She has appreciated the opportunity to immerse herself in the skills necessary for stonemasonry. Tatum was particularly impressed with the hydraulic bankers at Lincoln, even playfully suggesting that she might attempt to bring one back to the United States when she returns in August.   Reflecting on her time at Lincoln, Tatum expressed her desire for future trips to the UK to include her college cohort. She believes that shared experiences and reflection with her peers would allow for a more enriching experience and provide opportunities for social interaction while in the UK. Nevertheless, she expressed immense gratitude to the American College of the Building Arts, the CWF, and Lincoln Cathedral for the opportunity to explore the trade as a whole.  

Lincoln Cathedral praised Tatum’s positive attitude and aptitude, appreciating her dedication and the quality of work she has produced during her externship. Tatum, in turn, expressed her gratitude for the informative experience, stating, “My experience has been very informative and has given me a good insight into working in the field of masonry. As opposed to just having banker skills, understanding all aspects of masonry has been really enriching.”

As Tatum returns to the United States to embark on her sophomore year, she does so with a sense of accomplishment and excitement, eager to demonstrate her newfound skills to her peers and tutors. Her externship at Lincoln Cathedral has undoubtedly laid a strong foundation for her future success in the field of stonemasonry.  

Looking ahead, Tatum expresses interest in returning to Lincoln Cathedral in the future, while also harbouring a desire to visit other cathedrals within the CWF membership. The membership includes possible externships at Salisbury, Gloucester, Lincoln, and York Minster in 2024, offering her a chance to further expand her skills and knowledge.  

Tatum Connor’s experience at Lincoln Cathedral stands as a testament to the importance of hands-on learning and international collaborations in nurturing the skills and talents of young artisans in the field of stonemasonry.  

Michael Sheppard, Deputy Director of the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship, expressed his enthusiasm and satisfaction with the successful externship program. The collaboration between the American College of the Building Arts, CWF, and Lincoln Cathedral has opened doors for students to gain valuable skills and experiences. He acknowledged Tatum Connor’s positive attitude and aptitude, attributing them to the expertise of her American tutors. Michael also expressed his anticipation for facilitating more externships across the CWF cathedral membership in the coming year. This opportunity allows students to further develop their skills and explore the rich heritage of various cathedrals within the CWF network. “Being able to facilitate the first externship between the American College of the Building Arts, CWF, and Lincoln Cathedral has been an interesting and exciting opportunity for all involved, but not least the student who will be able to go home with new skills and enriching experiences. Her attitude and ability are a testament to the expertise and ability of her American tutors, and we are all really looking forward to being able to facilitate more students next year across the CWF cathedral membership. We would like to specifically thank Lincoln Cathedral for accommodating Tatum during her placement, providing support and lodgings that will make a lasting impact on her education and career in stone masonry and heritage crafts and to Classical American Homes Preservation Trust who was able to support Tatum and this externship by providing the funding for her airfare.”

14th July 2023

Latest Vacancies at CWF Cathedrals

Clerk of Works
Worcester Cathedral
Worcester Cathedral invites applications for the role of Clerk of Works.
More information can be found here

12th July 2023

Hamish Ogston CBE visits Salisbury Cathedral to see heritage skills in action

Picture by Finnbarr Webster

On Friday 7 July, Hamish met with Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship students as part of his visit to the West Country cathedral.

The Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) is proud to be part of a long-term partnership with UK charity, the Hamish Ogston Foundation, which is essential for securing the future of English cathedrals and the people who care for them. Between September 2022 and August 2025, the Hamish Ogston Foundation will award £2.3 million to the CWF, which will fund the employment and training of stonemasons, carpenters, joiners and electricians at the 11 CWF cathedrals, including Salisbury Cathedral.   During his visit on Friday 7 July, Hamish took the time to stop by the cathedral’s on-site workshop where he met with some of the CWF students. This included apprentice stonemason Joe O’Connell, who is currently studying at Level 2 in preparation for completing the CWF Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair, and Matt Barton, who completed this qualification in March 2022, both funded by grants from the Hamish Ogston Foundation. Joe, Matt and Hamish discussed progress on projects, such as a baluster which showcases different masonry profiles and demonstrates the many skills developed on the course.  

Hamish Ogston CBE, Founder of the Hamish Ogston Foundation said:   “My interest in heritage skills and stonemasonry stemmed from observing the great stonework in and around Salisbury Cathedral whilst I was a chorister and pupil at the Cathedral. Returning to the stone works yard to meet the apprentices we are funding through our programme with the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship is a great privilege. These apprentices are safeguarding the future of the Cathedral so that many more, children and adults alike, can enjoy the majesty of its ancient architecture for generations to come.”  

Joe O’Connell, apprentice stonemason under the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship, added:   “I really enjoyed meeting Hamish today and expressed my thanks for his generosity. By funding my stonemasonry apprenticeship at Salisbury Cathedral, Hamish has enabled me to pursue my passion for medieval architecture in a practical way and develop the skills necessary for me to contribute to the restoration and maintenance of our built heritage, preserving these beautiful buildings for years to come.”  

Frances Cambrook, Executive Director at the CWF, said:   “We are delighted to welcome Mr Hamish Ogston to Salisbury Cathedral marking the partnership between the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship and Hamish Ogston Foundation in developing the heritage sector. This collaborative project has ushered in a new era of progress and advancement, particularly within the member cathedral works departments.  Mr. Ogston has witnessed the remarkable achievements of our trainees. As we approach significant milestones in the academic calendar, with students completing their summer works, it is truly a pleasure to witness our esteemed stakeholders engaging with our talented students and observing first hand the profound impact they are making on the acquisition and preservation of craft skills in the United Kingdom.”

6th July 2023

Level 5 students conclude the programme with a trip to the capital

On Wednesday 28th June, Level 5 students travelled to London for their final Study Tour of the academic year.

The morning was spent exploring St Paul’s Cathedral, where the group was lucky enough to have a behind-the-scenes tour. This included the wonderful Dean’s Staircase and the Lapidarium. They toured the Nave and the Crypt and also had the chance to meet with some of the Works Team at St Paul’s, where they learnt more about what it takes to care for one of London’s most iconic buildings.

The students visited Westminster Abbey in the afternoon, which became the eleventh member of the CWF in November last year. The group was taken on a fantastic tour of the roof spaces, which included a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go out onto the roof and take in the stunning views across London. The students also visited the Diamond Jubilee Galleries and Lady Chapel, before exploring the building at their leisure.

Later this month, the Level 5 students will complete their Foundation degree, and all were in agreement that this was a particularly special way to end the programme.

A huge thank you to St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey for their hospitality, and to the Hamish Ogston Foundation for generously funding the Level 5 students.

31st May 2023

Job Vacancy: two apprentice positions at Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral is looking for two passionate and committed individuals who are seeking to complete their apprenticeship in the field of Heritage Masonry and Conservation. The successful applicants will undertake a structured traineeship in the Gloucester Cathedral Workshop as full-time members of the outstanding Stonemason Team; this will include completing the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair.

Head to Gloucester Cathedral’s website to find out more and apply.

Closing date: Monday 26 June 2023

Interview date: Wednesday 5 July 2023

11th May 2023

Putting new skills to the test

(Pictured: Level 5 students with Alan Mickelthwaite and Martin Coward who deliver the Historic Ornamental Carving module. Photo credit, Winchester Cathedral)

Earlier this year, our Level 5 apprentices – who are all generously funded by the Hamish Ogston Foundation – attended a fantastic Study Workshop at Exeter Cathedral. Whilst they were there, they learnt to carve stiff-leaf foliage from a cube of French limestone.

They then returned to their workplaces and continued work on their carvings until 28 April, when they headed to the beautiful Winchester Cathedral to present their results, alongside sketches of other examples from around the UK, for assessment. Whilst at Winchester, the completed stones were then moved into the Quire where they were put on display for members of the public to see. This exhibition showcased the work of our talented apprentices, and highlighted heritage conservation skills in action.

We are so proud of all the students! Thank you to Winchester for hosting the assessment, presentations and exhibitions. The video below shows some of the finished carvings and sketches.

3rd May 2023

A pleasure to meet with Hamish Ogston

The Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) recently had the pleasure of meeting with Hamish Ogston to discuss current and future business. The meeting was attended by the CWF Executive Director Frances Cambrook, Deputy Director Michael Sheppard and the Foundation’s Heritage Project Director Robert Bargery. 

The meeting covered a range of topics, including progress with the currently funded Craft Training Project that supports the training of Level 2-3 apprentices and Level 4-5 Foundation degree students across the CWF cathedral membership of eleven Anglican cathedrals. The Hamish Ogston Foundation funding has had an incredibly positive impact on the retention of craft skills in the cathedral environment and the heritage sector more widely, helping to keep traditional skills alive so that they can be passed down to future generations.

Potential future concepts were also discussed, and it’s clear that there is a lot of scope for further collaboration between the CWF and the Foundation. The two organisations are committed to making a significant impact on the acquisition and retention of craft skills in the heritage sector, and agreed to continue to work together in achieving this goal.

Overall, the meeting between the CWF and the Hamish Ogston Foundation was a great success, and we are looking forward to working together to develop our shared vision.

26th April 2023

Job Vacancy: Stonemason/Conservator at Exeter Cathedral

Photo credit: Dietmar Rabich

There is currently an exciting opportunity to join the talented team at Exeter Cathedral as a Stonemason/Conservator! This post holder will work within the Stonemason Team and occasionally the Maintenance Team, helping to ensure the building is maintained to the highest possible standard. Principle duties will include setting out, banker work and fixing works, and carving work when required. The ideal candidate will have extensive and demonstrable experience in stonemasonry and conservation, all-round building maintenance experience, excellent attention to detail, reliability and integrity.

Head to Exeter Cathedral’s website to find out more and apply.

The closing date for applications is Friday 12 May 2023
Interviews will be held in person on Tuesday 23 May 2023

23rd March 2023

A fantastic few days in the West Country!

This week, our Level 5 apprentices have been at the beautiful Exeter Cathedral for a Study Workshop. They have enjoyed a packed and varied timetable, which included carving a stiff-leaf foliage from a cube of French limestone. You can read more about it in this article by the BBC and watch the BBC news item on the workshop here. Filmed by the BBC, broadcast on Spotlight, Evening News: 28/03/2023.

In addition to the activities at Exeter, the students had a brilliant day at Wells Cathedral, learning about the cathedral’s architecture, carvings and history.

Thank you to both Exeter and Wells Cathedrals for hosting us and for such a fantastic few days.

All of the Level 5 students are generously funded by the Hamish Ogston Foundation.

8th March 2023

Latest Vacancies at CWF Cathedrals

Head Stone Mason
Winchester Cathedral
Winchester Cathedral invites applications for the role of Head Stone Mason.
More information can be found here

Head of Estates and Fabric
Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral invites applications for The Head of Estates and Fabric.
More information can be found here

27th February 2023

Experiencing world-famous architecture at Gloucester Cathedral

Earlier this year, Level 5 students visited Gloucester Cathedral for a Study Workshop – here, they tell us more about what they got up to…

8th February 2023

National Apprenticeship Week 2023 is celebrated on our CWF website by showcasing the apprentices’ journeys and work at their respective home Cathedrals, Minsters and Abbey.

Currently, we’re shining a spotlight on our NVQ Level 2 & Level 3 apprentices, who are all studying relevant courses before progressing onto the CWF Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair. All of these apprentices are generously funded by the Hamish Ogston Foundation.

Have a look at our Apprenticeships pages here

23rd December 2023

Stonemason Vacancy at Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral is seeking to recruit a Stonemason. An opportunity has arisen for an exceptional candidate to work on the fabric of one of Europe’s largest medieval cathedrals. Stone masons undertake banking, fixing, conservation cleaning, pointing and carving duties. The successful applicants will at minimum have a level 2 stone masonry qualification with a minimum of three years’ experience in banking and fixing in the heritage construction environment.

Check for further details and to read the job description here

5th December 2022

Staff News

We are very pleased to announce that Michael Sheppard has joined the CWF team as Deputy Director (Development & Projects). Formerly Director of Works and Property at Lincoln Cathedral, and currently a Module Leader on our Foundation degree, Michael brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience of project management, conservation and craft skills development.

Michael is joining the CWF team at a particularly challenging and exciting time as we make the transition to charitable status, due to be completed early next year. His project management experience will be put to immediate use supporting both current and new projects. Also, he has lots of excellent development ideas which we are really looking forward to working on with him.

Initially, Michael will be leading delivery of two major projects; our £3.5m Hamish Ogston Foundation Craft Skills project, now in its fourth phase, as well as a new project recently funded by the Benefact Trust.

We all wish Michael every success in his new role!

17th November 2022

Westminster Abbey becomes the latest member of the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship

Since its foundation in 2006, many of the country’s most significant cathedrals have joined the CWF. It is a thriving partnership which aims to deliver high-quality, accredited training and education to the next generation of craftspeople so that they have the skills needed to care for our historic buildings for years to come. A key part of this is the CWF Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair, which to date has over 50 graduates.

Last month, Westminster Abbey joined this partnership. Built between the 13th and 16th century, it is an architectural masterpiece, famous for its Gothic façade and spectacular fan vaulting. An onsite Works Department cares for the building on a day-to-day basis, and it is planned that a member of this team will join the next cohort on the CWF Foundation degree course. Funded by the Hamish Ogston Foundation, the student will gain vital knowledge surrounding the care and conservation of our historic buildings, under the guidance of leading industry experts.

Paul Baumann CBE, Chapter Clerk and Receiver General of Westminster Abbey, said:

‘At the Abbey we have long been committed to sustaining the highest standards of craftsmanship in maintaining and developing our unique buildings.  By joining the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship we are linking to a number of the country’s most significant Cathedrals, who share our belief in the importance of developing and maintaining these essential skills.  We look forward to a fruitful partnership and to playing our part in nurturing crafts which are part of our shared inheritance and key to our future.’

Frances Cambrook, Executive Director of the CWF, added:

‘We have had an informal association with Westminster Abbey for many years and we are delighted that they have now joined us formally to become our eleventh member. We look forward to welcoming their first student to our Foundation degree course next year, and supporting him to develop his craft skills and conservation expertise for the benefit of this magnificent abbey church.’

2nd November 2022

Learning through doing at St Saviour’s Church, Redbrook  

A key component of the CWF Foundation degree is the opportunity for hands-on, practice-based learning at some of the most significant heritage sites in the country. In September, a number of Level 2 and Level 3 apprentices who are funded by the Hamish Ogston Foundation attended a conservation workshop in Redbrook, Gloucestershire, which embodied the idea of ‘learning by doing’.  

Led by architect Toby Falconer, the workshop was based at the beautiful 19th century St Saviour’s Church and took place over a period of three days. It was aimed at keen amateurs, as well as those already involved in building work who wanted to develop a better understanding of conservation principles. Attendees had the opportunity to practice techniques such as raking out, mixing and pointing, under the guidance of highly skilled and experienced tutors.  

CWF alumnus Paul Synan, who is now a stonemason at Gloucester Cathedral and a CWF work-based tutor, was one of the tutors at the workshop. Reflecting on the success of the weekend, he said:

This course is a good opportunity for apprentices with little or no experience of hands-on conservation to take responsibility for a small area of a very weathered building and learn about conservation through practical application. When I started on the CWF Foundation degree, I had never attempted mortar repairs, mortar analysis or tile repairs, or had the opportunity to spend time with an architect. Many of the apprentices were in a similar position, so it was good to see their confidence grow over the weekend.”

Hannah Kendall has recently started her Level 3 at Gloucester Cathedral before beginning the CWF course in September 2023, and benefits from generous funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation. Hannah attended the workshop, and said:

I got to experience new techniques that I hadn’t had a chance to use yet, and on stone types I wouldn’t work on at Gloucester Cathedral. It was a very different type of building and gave a good opportunity to think about different conservation approaches. It was great to talk to knowledgeable tutors and learn about their experiences, and meet with people from other cathedrals.”

31st October 2022

Chester Cathedral Heritage Discovery Day

On October 22nd 2022, Chester Cathedral hosted the Heritage Discovery Day, celebrating the rich and varied history of Chester Cathedral during the Medieval Period.

The day consisted of showing medieval collections, handling sessions with medieval artifacts by Grosvenor Museum, academic discussion panels and musical events. There was medieval inspired food and drink by the Cathedral cafe in the Refectory, Heritage skills and Living History Demonstrations and a sensory funerary tour!

Some CWF students, alumni and prospective students came together to showcase our skills for the event. Tom Livingstone and Rachael Wragg showcased medieval stonemasonry and the tools and techniques used as well as the attributes of Limestone and Sandstone that our respective Cathedrals are constructed of. William Blackmore helped with the set-up of these demonstrations and crafted some medieval inspired tools used by the stonemasons.

The day was very succesful with over 600 visitors booked in and over 50 re-enactors showing domestic tasks in the Living History Camp on Dean’s Field which was split into Viking, Norman and High Medieval camps. There was also a small trading area. The Cathedral Works Yard demonstrated the crafts to build a Cathedral: Stonemasons, Blacksmiths, Woodworker, Glazer, Tiler, Mosaicist, Willow Basket Weaver.

Chester Cathedral look forward to hoisting this event again next year, making it even bigger and better!

26th October 2022

Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship receives £20,000 Movement for Good Award

We’re delighted to share that the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) was chosen by a panel of judges to receive a share of £500,000 as part of Benefact Group’s Movement for Good Awards, which is giving over £1million to good causes this year.

This funding will enable us to create and deliver a brand new, game-changing module entitled ‘Historic Building Sustainability and Eco-Build’ which will form part of the existing Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) Foundation degree programme and will also be offered as a stand-alone short course to building conservation professionals.

Despite the Church of England’s 2030 Net Zero target, training in architectural conservation, stonemasonry and related building crafts does not currently include sustainable and eco build content in the curriculum. The new CWF module will address this shortfall, providing an urgently needed education programme for people working at site level.

The module aims to increase understanding of sustainable building pathology by craftspeople undertaking conservation and restoration of historic buildings in the cathedral environment, with subject matter ranging from planning considerations to sustainable materials and energy creation.

The course will benefit participants and organisations on a national scale, attracting site staff in 42 cathedrals and other national heritage organisations. It will equip the next generation of craftspeople with vital knowledge, which will allow them to care for our historic buildings so that they can remain open for years to come.

We are hugely grateful to the Benefact Group for their generous support. Watch this short video to find out more from our Executive Director, Frances Cambrook.

19th-22nd October 2022

Discover more about the fascinating history of Chester Cathedral

As part of their Heritage Discovery Day, Chester Cathedral are hosting a Heritage Lecture Series between 19th-22nd October. The series of six lectures will all be live-streamed so that you can join online, and topics will include the relationship between the secular and religious parts of Chester’s history, attitudes towards the saintly remains of St Werburgh, and the music sung daily by the monks of the Abbey. Each lecture lasts for an hour, including 15 minutes for questions. Find out more about the lecture series here or view the poster below.

If you would like to join online and require the Zoom links, please call the Cathedral office on 01244 500 959.

19th October 2022

A fantastic start to the new academic year

The new academic year got off to a fantastic start last month with a study workshop at Canterbury Cathedral. This was attended by students in their second and final year (Level 5) of the CWF Foundation degree programme, all of whom benefit from generous funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation.

During the study workshop, the students made the short journey to Rochester Cathedral, Kent, for a field trip. This formed part of the Building Conservation module, led by Michael Sheppard, and built on the skills learnt in the Architecture and Archaeology module and the Carving module that had been introduced in the workshop the day before.

Michael Sheppard, who is Director of Works and Property at Lincoln Cathedral, said:

The cohort had the enriching experience of a guided tour of Rochester cathedral by the architect John Bailey of Thomas Ford and Partners. Receiving first hand guidance from the conservation accredited architect of several UK cathedrals, walking around this fantastic example of Early English Gothic architecture, really put into context the cohort’s desk-based study. Looking behind the scenes and on the roofs of the cathedral they could fully immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of architectural development on offer at Rochester. The site also encouraged the comparison of architectural styles and splendour of Canterbury who hosted the conservation module this year and of course, their own cathedrals.

Rochester is a beautiful Norman cathedral, with building work beginning in 1083. It has faced various conservation challenges throughout its long history and continues to do so into the present day. The Cathedral Architect, John Bailey, was an excellent guide during our visit and gave a fascinating insight into the many different construction periods, and the opportunities and challenges that each had brought with them. The students had a very informative day, with highlights including a visit to the Cathedral roof and belfry, the extensive lampidarium and the chance to hear about the conservation plans for the cloister.  A big thank you to Rochester for hosting us, and to John for being such an informative guide.

Alongside the trip to Rochester, the study workshop included an exclusive evening tour of Canterbury Cathedral led by Heather Newton which everyone enjoyed greatly. Students also had the opportunity to peek inside Christchurch Gate with a close-up look at the polychrome, as well as the chance to see demonstrations of cleaning methods on the famous gate. Over in the cathedral’s production centre, Broad Oak, students watched an enlightening hot lime process demonstration given by the skilled staff at Canterbury.

The whole CWF team are very grateful to the Canterbury Cathedral works staff for all the time they gave, and knowledge they shared, during the study workshop.

The next study workshop of the academic year is currently underway at York Minster.

12th October 2022

Vacancy at Chester Cathedral

Chester Cathedral is seeking to recruit a Stonemason to join their well-established Works Department. Primary duties for the successful candidate will be the removal of cement pointing and the reapplication of traditional lime mortar, as well as a mixture of Banker and Fixer work. As part of this role, the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) FdA in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair.

Check for further details and to read the job description here

31st August 2022

Congratulations to Level 4 Foundation degree students!

It was celebrations all round in July as Level 4 students received their end-of-year results. After a series of practical and desk-based assessments throughout the year – including presentations, written reports and professional discussions with tutors – we’re delighted to say that the whole cohort passed with flying colours!

As part of the Level 4 course, which is the first year of the CWF Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair, students completed a number of core and pathway modules. These included everything from ‘Learning and Studying at Work’ and ‘Understanding the Cathedral Environment’ to ‘Principles of  Stone Construction’. As part of the course, students have visited various CWF cathedrals across the country and got to know others studying at the same level.  

Rachael Wragg*, a Level 4 CWF apprentice at Lincoln Cathedral, said:

“The first year of CWF was a fantastic opportunity to visit other cathedrals and get to know other cathedral craftspeople. The sharing of ideas amongst my fellow masons is just as rewarding and enjoyable as the knowledge shared by tutors.”

Rachael added that a trip to Winchester, where students were given access to the archives for group research, was a particular highlight.

“It was an opportunity to access parts of the cathedral and experience it’s rich history in a way that wouldn’t be available to me without the CWF.”

Grace Impesi, a CWF apprentice at Durham Cathedral, said:

“Looking back at the first year of the CWF, I feel grateful for all the memories that spring to mind. It has been a pleasure to be a student again, to be given the time and opportunity to learn and to consider new concepts and put them in practice within my day-to-day work at Durham Cathedral. This is one of the unique aspects of the CWF that I find most valuable: the learning is focused on helping us become better, well-rounded craftspeople, partly for our own individual careers but also (and I believe most importantly) for the preservation and continuation of high-quality work at each cathedral.”

Jordan Cliffe is a CWF apprentice at Canterbury Cathedral. He said:

“Finding the right balance between work and the CWF course has been challenging, but I have just completed my Level 4 and am ready to start the second year come September. I’ve found visiting other cathedrals a great experience as you can compare methods of work against your home cathedral. The next step is to carry on with the second year modules to finish the course.”

Worcester Cathedral’s Lewis Jones added:

“It’s exciting to know my efforts paid off, and I passed the first year of the course with good marks! I’m very excited to see what the second year has in store for me and the cohort, and I’m looking forward to the challenges that will be set for us!”

Level 4 students will now progress to Level 5, which is the second and final year of the CWF Foundation degree. Amongst other things, they’ll be developing their investigative skills, learning about historic ornamental carving and studying architecture and archaeology of historic buildings.

All of the Level 4 students are funded by the Hamish Ogston Foundation, as part of their ongoing partnership with the CWF. This generous funding is essential for securing the future of English cathedrals, and the talented craftspeople who care for them. You can find out more about this partnership further down this webpage.

Congratulations to all our Level 4 students – we hope you have had a fantastic break over the summer, and we wish you all the best as you embark on your Level 5 studies in September.

*You can follow Rachael on Instagram (@thegingermason), where she documents aspects of day-to-day life as a Cathedral stonemason.

19th August 2022

Apprentice vacancies at Lincoln Cathedral

Three full time stone mason roles are being advertised at Lincoln Cathedral. The successful applicants will have at minimum a level 2 stone masonry qualification with at least one year’s experience in banking and fixing in the heritage construction environment.

The closing date is noon on 1st September 2022.

Full details of the positions can be found in the application pack along with information on how to apply on the Lincoln Cathedral website here

16th August 2022

Inter Cathedral Training within CWF

Lincoln Cathedral works department hosted stonemasons from Chester Cathedral recently, for some useful sharing of expertise on lead joggling within the two CWF member cathedrals. Lead joggling is the technique of pouring molten lead into a masonry hole and joint, to fix the two together.

Mike Graves, Head Mason at Lincoln Cathedral reported that ‘it was really good to host the Chester stonemasons. We all enjoyed some very interesting training and it was useful for the two Cathedrals’ masons to spend time together in this way.”

5th July 2022

Putting training to the test

The Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) Foundation degree is designed to equip the next generation of craftspeople with the skills and knowledge that they need to care for our historic buildings in the 21st century, and Matt Barton is a prime example of an alumnus who is putting his training to the test.

Matt graduated from the CWF Foundation degree course in March 2022, and received generous funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation as part of the 5-year partnership between the CWF and the Hamish Ogston Foundation. Now, he is a member of the Stonemason team at the beautiful Salisbury Cathedral. Some of the CWF team visited Salisbury Cathedral last month, which provided an opportunity to catch up with Matt about what he’s been up to.

Among other projects, he’s currently involved in the conservation work of Salisbury’s East End, which involves carving new ornate stones. During the CWF course, Matt took the ‘Historic Ornamental Carving’ module in autumn 2021; despite having little existing carving knowledge, he really enjoyed this aspect of stonemasonry. One of the techniques he learnt on this module was how to use a ‘bridge’ to transfer a 3D design from a model to stone. This involves using a rigid cardboard frame as a template to measure the depth of a salient point on a model, so that this measurement can be transferred onto the stone.

“At Salisbury Cathedral, I almost immediately had the opportunity to put this technique into practice,” Matt explains. “I was able to use a bridge to transfer the design for a corbel [a projection jutting out from the stonework to support another structure above it] from a clay maquette to the final stone. The corbel will be going on the very East End, one of the earliest parts of the cathedral. It ties the top of a small Purbeck column back into a buttress.”

It is always brilliant to see former CWF students using the skills that they have learnt as part of the course in their careers; together, they are working to ensure that our historic buildings remain open for generations to come. To find out more about the CWF Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building and Conservation Repair, please click here.

18th May 2022

Further funding for cathedral heritage crafts is announced

The partnership between the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship and The Hamish Ogston Foundation is essential for securing the future of English cathedrals and the craftspeople who care for them

The Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) and the Hamish Ogston Foundation are delighted to announce the latest round of funding to support heritage craft training through the CWF, which will be essential for ensuring our historic buildings remain open for future generations.

The Hamish Ogston Foundation will be awarding £2.3 million over a three-year period, from 1 September 2022 to 31 August 2025; this grant will fund the employment and training of twenty-nine stonemasons, carpenters and joiners and one electrician at the ten CWF cathedrals during that time. The grant forms part of a five-year partnership project between the Hamish Ogston Foundation and CWF, in which the Hamish Ogston Foundation is contributing £3.5 million to expand heritage craft training and maintain the flow of skilled craftspeople at English cathedrals despite the devastating impact of Covid-19.

Not only is this funding essential for ensuring that our cathedrals stay in the best possible condition for years to come, but it will also enable heritage skills to be passed from one generation to the next through the CWF’s wide-ranging and comprehensive training programme. The trainees will have the unique opportunity to learn their craft from the very best heritage professionals in cathedrals across the country, all whilst helping to conserve and maintain these magnificent buildings.

The CWF’s Executive Director, Frances Cambrook, said “the funding and support we have received from the Hamish Ogston Foundation over the last two years has enabled our cathedral craft training scheme to withstand the shock of the pandemic. With this new round of funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation, cathedrals will be able to plan ahead and recruit new craftspeople for at least the next three years. We are incredibly grateful for this support from the Hamish Ogston Foundation and the opportunity it gives our cathedrals to continue to develop the specialist craft and conservation skills they need.”

Robert Bargery from The Hamish Ogston Foundation said “We are delighted to continue working with CWF to help ensure that England’s finest buildings are properly conserved for future generations. Our cathedrals may look immortal but they require constant care and that can only be delivered if we maintain a flow of people with the necessary craft skills.”

Jordan Cliffe from Canterbury Cathedral, who will shortly complete the first year of his CWF Foundation degree course, said “the best part of the CWF degree programme is visiting different cathedrals and experiencing how differently the workshops operate. This helps to apply new techniques to our own workplace. This experience is only available to me due to the funding opportunities provided by the Hamish Ogston Foundation.”

11th May 2022

And finally….

Two months after graduating, many of our most recent alumni finally got to see the area of Winchester Cathedral that was the subject of their ‘live’ conservation exercise last year! Unlike their colleagues on the current cohort, we were in lockdown when they had to complete this module last year, and the team exercise was conducted online in Zoom breakout rooms.

They were all delighted to finally see the infamous niche and to meet Pourang Tajally in person!

10th May 2022

Working together in Winchester

The Level 4 students arrived in Winchester with some trepidation, not knowing quite what to expect. They were there to undertake an assessed conservation exercise, working in small teams, as part of their Principles of Historic Building Conservation module. The exercise was led by Michael Sheppard ACR, Director of Works at Lincoln Cathedral and Pourang Tajally, CWF graduate and stonemason at Winchester Cathedral.

On the first day the students were shown the area to be worked on, a wall in the Epiphany Chapel which has developed a long crack over the last couple of years. Armed with some basic background information the students were given 24 hours to investigate the area, carry out archival research to establish what has been done before and by whom, and develop a plan for remedial works. On the final morning each group presented their results to the assessors.

This was the first time this cohort had worked in teams in this way but, after a slightly wary start, by the end of the first day the project room was positively buzzing!

Feedback at the end of the exercise was really positive. Despite the nerve wracking experience of delivering joint presentations for assessment, everyone agreed that the exercise had not only been a valuable learning experience but also very enjoyable.

One student commented: ’it was really helpful discussing the issues with colleagues and hearing other people’s ideas’.

4th March 2022

They finally made it!

Picture by Andrew Higgins/Thousand Word Media http://www.thousandwordmedia.com

The long-delayed (and some might say long-suffering!) ‘Covid Cohort’ have finally crossed the finishing line. Twelve students received their degree certificates at an Awards ceremony in Worcester Cathedral.

The ‘class of 2021’ had a particularly challenging experience on their craft-based programme. Just five months into the two-year course, delivery was suspended during the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, when cathedrals were closed and students and tutors were furloughed for up to six months. Thanks to Covid Emergency funding received from Historic England and the Hamish Ogston Foundation the course was adapted for delivery online and continued remotely for almost a year.

However, the practical nature of many of the course modules, requiring visits to cathedrals and other historic buildings, led to further delays and the cohort finally completed their studies, six months behind schedule, in December 2021.

One of the graduates, Tony Nothard from Canterbury Cathedral spoke for everyone when he said: “with all that we went through with the uncertainties of Covid, I really wasn’t sure that we would finally get here. It’s great to be back in Worcester on this memorable occasion”.

This course has been a truly memorable one. Over the last two and a half years not only did the students develop their craft skills to a very high standard, but they also showed remarkable determination, fortitude and tenacity in sticking with the course through the most challenging of times.

They can all rightly be very proud of what they have achieved.

25th January 2022

Virtual Canterbury

We temporarily returned to online learning in January in response to the rising Covid numbers. The new Level 4 students had their first (and hopefully only) taste of a Zoom Workshop where they were introduced to their module on Architecture and Archaeology of Historic Buildings.

Everyone was sad to be missing the planned visits to Canterbury and Rochester Cathedrals but enjoyed their online lectures and discussions with tutors Alex Woodcock and Trevor Carr. The visits will be rescheduled later in the course and, all being well, ‘normal’ delivery will resume in March.

19th January 2022

The new Annual Report is published today

The CWF Annual Report has been published on 19th January.

Download a PDF of the 2021 Annual Report here

7th December 2021


When Adrian Munns, former Administrator of the CWF, and his assistant Roy Bentham, departed in December 2019 we made plans for a farewell event to take place in the Spring of 2020.

Despite several attempts in between lockdowns to organise the event, it became clear that nearly two years on it was unlikely we would be able to bring colleagues from around the country together in the usual way any time soon.

So in the spirit of the times we decided to hold a ‘blended’ event in Salisbury, to say farewell to these key members of the CWF team.

Adrian Munns led the organisation for seven years from 2012 – 2019 and Roy Bentham supported him throughout that time. A small number of colleagues were present in person and the remainder were able to join and watch the event on Zoom.

Thanks to some wizzy technology in the Great Hall at the Diocesan Offices, virtual attendees were able to have a bird’s eye view of the whole room and participate in the presentations and speeches.

Chris Nickols, Receiver General of Canterbury Cathedral and Chair of the CWF Governance Group, made the presentations. Adrian received a carving by Martin Coward, created as part of the preparatory work for his renowned carving of St Peter at York Minster. Roy received an authenticated piece of 14th century timber, also from York Minster.

2nd November 2021

Apprenticeship opportunities at Lincoln Cathedral

Two full time stone mason roles are being advertised at Lincoln Cathedral. The successful applicants will have at minimum a level 3 stone masonry qualification with a minimum of five years’ experience in banking and fixing in the heritage construction environment.

The closing date is noon on Wednesday 3 November 2021.

Full details of the position can be found in the application pack along with information on how to apply at https://lincolncathedral.com/get-involved/current-vacancies/

12th October

CWF HOF Partnership Enters Phase 3

L4 cohort at Lincoln Sept 21

The first post-Covid cohort of CWF Foundation degree students has just enrolled on their new programme. 14 students attended their first Study Workshop in Lincoln for induction and the start of the first module. In addition to meeting their tutors, they had the opportunity to find out what the course is really like from the previous cohort who were also visiting Lincoln that week.

The students, who are all stonemasons, were treated to a close-up look at the 14th century Gallery of Kings on the West Front of the cathedral and the ongoing conservation works to the 12th Century Romanesque Frieze on a tour led by the cathedral architect.

This cohort was recruited during the pandemic and is generously funded through a grant of £700k from the Hamish Ogston Foundation (HOF). The Foundation has so far invested £1.2m in the Craft Training partnership project with the CWF and is supporting a total of twenty-five crafts people at various stages of training in 2021-22. A further round of funding from 2022 – 2025 will take the Foundation’s total investment in cathedral crafts skills to £3.1m and secure training places for fifty craft trainees up to 2025. The project is key to maintaining the flow of skilled craftspeople on whom the future of our cathedrals depends.

Apprentice stonemason Elliot Lyster from Gloucester Cathedral commented “for me personally the Hamish Ogston Foundation has given me access to the Gloucester Cathedral building, the wealth of knowledge and experience in the rest of the mason team and the CWF course as well, so it’s invaluable. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of that without this funding”.

Ellie Fells, Digital Communications Officer at Gloucester Cathedral, has created a video to showcase the CWF/HOF project. The passion and enthusiasm of our students really shines through!

17th September

Students return!

We were delighted to welcome our intrepid ‘Covid Cohort’ back to ‘live’ teaching this week in York. After 19 long months on Zoom it was such a delight to see everyone again and to be able to get a ‘proper’ look at the magnificent Minster.

Carving tutor Martin Coward organised a socially distanced outdoor banker workshop so the students could start work on their carvings safely, and even the weather cooperated!

There was a fascinating walking tour of three York churches with Architectural History tutor Alex Woodcock and tour guide Rob Andrews plus Masterclasses with sculptor Alan Micklethwaite and letter cutter Jane Cowan.

Next stop Lincoln at the end of the month where the students, who are funded by the Hamish Ogston Foundation will continue their catch-up tour of ‘missed’ cathedrals and help us to welcome the new cohort.

16th August 2021

Chester has a new team member

Harriet Bailey recently joined Chester Cathedral as a Stonemason. Harriet’s post is funded by the Hamish Ogston Foundation (HOF). She recently completed her Level 3 Diploma in Banker Masonry and will be funded by HOF on the CWF Foundation degree programme, beginning in September this year.

19th July 2021

CWF Patron, HRH The Prince of Wales, visits Exeter Cathedral

Anna Steinmetzer, a Level 5 student on the CWF Foundation degree, and Joe Milne, who has just been accepted onto the new course starting in September, met our patron HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to Exeter Cathedral today. Anna and Joe explained the use of clay maquettes in the process of stone carving and showed examples of grotesques which they are currently working on. Anna and Joe are both funded through the Hamish Ogston Foundation Craft Training Project.

Their Royal Highnesses also met Exeter Cathedral Clerk of Works Chris Sampson and CWF Executive Director Frances Cambrook, and chatted with CWF graduates Owen Whitfield, Oliver Chamberlain and Matt Hoskins about the restoration works currently under way at the cathedral.

Images ©Russell Sach – 0771 882 6138

1st July 2021

Apprenticeship opportunities

Gloucester Cathedral has vacancies for two stonemasonry apprentices.

The posts are open to craftspeople who are qualified at NVQ Level 2 or Level 3.

Full details can be found here

30th June 2021

Case Study on the necessary shift to online learning for the CWF Foundation degree programme

Following the emergency funding from Historic England of the CWF Foundation degree programme last year, a case study of some aspects arising from that funding has now been published on the ICON website here

This case study on the website complements an article in the June issue of ‘Icon News’ which addresses the wider issues of the online approach to conservation learning and reflects on the lessons learned.

27th May 2021

Craft Training Vacancies

Gloucester Cathedral is recruiting for two Level 3 qualified stone masons to join their team as Level 4 apprentices, combining working at the cathedral with studying on the CWF Foundation degree.

Further details and application forms can be found here.
There is also a short video containing more information about the vacancies.

25th May 2021

Cathedral Crafts Training Enters New Phase

The Hamish Ogston Foundation (HOF) has announced a further tranche of funding to support heritage craft training through the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF). This new award of £700k, which builds on the HOF Covid Emergency grant of £535k announced in January, will enable the ten CWF cathedrals to offer training places to up to twenty-five craft trainees from September 2021.

The funding marks the second phase of a five-year partnership project with the CWF in which HOF is contributing £3.1m to expand heritage training at English cathedrals, enabling them to continue to develop the next generation of craftspeople despite the devastating impact of Covid-19 on cathedrals’ finances. The HOF Craft Training project will be key to maintaining the flow of skilled craftspeople on whom the future of our cathedrals depends.

CWF Executive Director Frances Cambrook said: “We are delighted that the Hamish Ogston Foundation has recognised the value of the training we provide for craftspeople in cathedrals and the importance of ensuring its continuation as cathedrals start to recover from the effects of the pandemic. Craft skills take time to develop and it is vital that we maintain the training momentum through the difficult years ahead. The funding will enable us to deliver training next year and plan confidently to offer further training opportunities over the next four years”.

Trainee stonemason Harriet Bailey is one of the trainees who will benefit directly from this grant. Harriet is due to complete her NVQ Level 3 in Stonemasonry at York College this summer and has been looking for a training role to enable her to progress. The HOF funding has enabled Chester Cathedral to create a training position to which Harriet has just been recruited. She will start at Chester in the summer and join the Level 4 course in September.

Harriet said: “I’m excited to be undertaking the CWF course funded by the Hamish Ogston Foundation and honoured to be joining Chester cathedral to care for such a beautiful building, rich in history. I look forward to applying what I learn in the degree to my work and reaching a stage where I can plan, manage, and carry out projects. I hope one day to be able to pass down what I learn in the course to future apprentices and trainees”.

Robert Bargery, Heritage Director at the Hamish Ogston Foundation, said: “We are excited to be working with CWF on this timely project, which not only supports the heritage sector at a time of crisis but invests in the skills needed to conserve our cathedrals. Our oldest and finest buildings will not survive without a continuous flow of skilled craftspeople and a key part of our strategy is to give trainees a helping hand as they embark on a truly rewarding career”.

Find out more about the Hamish Ogston Foundation here.

4th May 2021

Applications are open for the CWF Foundation degree programme

Recruitment is underway for the next intake of students on our Foundation degree in September 2021. A number of places are available to stonemasons, carpenter/joiners, electricians and plumbers employed in the commercial heritage building sector, to study alongside craftspeople from the CWF cathedrals. See the Prospectus for more information and details of how to apply.

30th April 2021

Latest news from two funded CWF students


Blog Updates have recently been published by two CWF students who have both benefited from recent funding.

Tony Murphy at Gloucester Cathedral has received funding from The Hamish Ogston Foundation and from the Friends of the Cotswolds. Access his blog here to read about the banker work, fixing and conservation work that he has been involved in at Gloucester.

Lewis Jones at Worcester Cathedral has received funding from The Hamish Ogston Foundation. Access his blog here to read about his involvement in the conservation of the library roof and windows on the south side of Worcester cathedral.

23rd March 2021

Stonemason Vacancy at Chester Cathedral

Chester Cathedral is seeking to appoint a full-time Stonemason. This role will support the repair and conservation of the fabric of the Cathedral and surrounding buildings, in conjunction with the Estate Manager, Clerk of Works, Cathedral Conservator and the Cathedral Architect.

More details on this vacancy, which closes on 18th April, are available here

15th March 2021

Abraxas Academy – Stone and Letter Carving Course

Beginners and Experts alike are welcome on a residential stone and letter carving course which will take place from 23rd – 26th August 2021. More information can be found here

11th March 2021

A competition for early career carvers in wood and stone is now open for applications

The Grinling Gibbons Tercentennial Award in wood and stone is a national competition for emerging craftspeople and carvers that is being held as part of the 300th anniversary commemorations of Britain’s greatest master carver.

Further details are on the Award page – The Grinling Gibbons Tercentennial Award
Direct any enquiries about this competition to gibbonsaward2021@gmail.com

2nd March 2021

CWF student carves the new South Transept Cross at Durham Cathedral


Peter Crinnion, stonemason at Durham Cathedral, has just completed a new cross for the south transept at Durham Cathedral, after his design won a competition.

Peter worked on crafting the new cross in Durham Cathedral’s Work’s Yard for over a year while also developing his portfolio of work as a CWF student. More information is in this news item.

Peter commented “It is an honour to see my design finally come to fruition and receive a blessing after all this time.” He talks about the cross design and is filmed carving it here.

The Cross was blessed by Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham Cathedral, on 16th February, before its installation. Watch the Blessing here.

26th January 2021

Cathedral crafts given funding lifeline to help preserve English cathedrals in the pandemic

As part of a longer-term investment aimed at keeping alive the specialist skills needed to repair and maintain our cathedrals the Hamish Ogston Foundation (HOF) has joined forces with the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) to fund twenty-one stonemasonry and joinery trainees at English cathedrals in 2021.

Emergency funding of £535,000 will give the twenty-one trainees, and their employers, stability at a time of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Without this support, some of the trainees would have had to call a halt to their studies and others would have faced redundancy, with the strong likelihood that their skills would have been lost to the heritage sector.

The funding marks the first phase of a five-year, £3.1m HOF/CWF project to expand heritage training at English cathedrals. Even before the pandemic, many cathedrals were reaching crisis point, with no dedicated public funding to help them address the backlog of repairs. Their financial position has been made much worse by COVID-19, in the wake of which it is unlikely that any cathedral will have the money to take on heritage craft trainees in the short term. The HOF/CWF Craft Training project, details of which will be published shortly, will be key to maintaining the flow of skilled craftspeople on whom the future of our cathedrals depends.

CWF Executive Director Frances Cambrook said: “We are very excited to be working with the Hamish Ogston Foundation on this important initiative. Cathedrals, like everyone, have been hit hard by the pandemic and the immediate future of our craft training programmes was in jeopardy. The funding will enable training to continue online throughout the rest of this academic year, avoiding the loss of trainee positions, and enable us to plan confidently to increase training opportunities over the next four years”.

Stonemason Tony Murphy is one of the trainees who will benefit directly from this grant. Redundancy had meant that he would have to give up his place on the CWF’s 2-year Foundation degree course, but HOF funding has enabled Tony to take up a placement at Gloucester Cathedral which will allow him to complete the course this year.

Tony said: “The funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation is enabling me to continue my learning through the CWF at Gloucester Cathedral. I am passionate about furthering my skills and deepening my knowledge and experience as a crafts person. The broad range of teaching, work-based learning and professional development provided by the CWF is an invaluable opportunity for me. I am incredibly grateful to the HOF for their support”.

Find out more about the Hamish Ogston Foundation here.

15th January 2021

The new Annual Report is published today.

The CWF Annual Report was published on 15th January. This publication reviews a most extraordinary year for everyone involved with The Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship.

Download a PDF of the 2020 Annual Report here

1st January 2021

A new member for the new year

We are delighted to welcome Chester Cathedral as a member of the CWF.

Chester re-opened their Works Department two years ago and currently have one solitary stone mason, who is also a student on the current cohort of our Foundation degree. They hope to gradually grow the workforce in the coming years as funding allows.

This new addition takes the number of CWF cathedrals to ten. Students and staff alike are looking forward to visiting Chester for a Study Workshop when we are able to go out and about again.

22nd September 2020

They’re back! After six long months, we are delighted to have resumed the Foundation degree course today. Thirteen students will be participating in our first online Study Workshop, set in ‘virtual’ Lincoln Cathedral, learning about the principles of historic building conservation.

With a mixture of online presentations, video-recorded lectures, virtual tours, demonstrations and live seminar discussions with tutors and visiting speakers, it is set to be a busy couple of days on Zoom!

Remote learning cannot hope to fully replace the wonder and atmosphere of Lincoln Cathedral, but we think we have created the next best thing for these challenging times, enabling our students to stay safe and study.

29th May 2020

CWF receives Grant from Historic England Covid-19 Emergency Fund

When the current cohort started their course in September 2019 social distancing was clearly not an issue! Since then the world has changed and we are all having to come to terms with a ‘new normal’ and what that might mean for our students and our course.

We are therefore delighted to have been awarded a grant by Historic England from their Covid-19 Emergency Fund. The grant will enable us to maintain momentum and start to develop alternative ways of delivering our highly practical course to meet new social distancing and travel guidelines.

Over the coming months we shall be creating webcasts, video demonstrations and other remote learning tools, so that we can restart the course as soon as soon as it is safe to do so.


21st May 2020

CWF contributes to Historic England debate

Historic England have dedicated the latest issue in their Heritage Online Debate series to the impact of Covid-19 on the heritage sector.  You can read CWF’s contribution to the debate here.


15th May 2020

Field Trip to St Margaret’s Westminster

  Foundation degree next steps

 It is mid-May and the country is still largely locked down. The students are in good spirits though, some even admitting to doing more reading in lockdown than they would otherwise have done and finding this useful! They are all looking forward to getting back to work and back to studying, when it is safe to do so, albeit recognising that there are likely to be significant changes to what we do and how we do it in the short – medium term.

 We are working on our strategy to resume the course from September, and confronting the serious challenge of how to deliver practical work-based training in a socially distanced way. It will certainly be a while before we are able to work together as we did in this picture! It is going to be a busy few months.

7th April 2020

© 2016 Antony Thompson reproduced with permission

Covid-19 impact

 The difficult but unavoidable decision has been taken to suspend all CWF Foundation degree activity until September 2020. Whilst it is hoped that everyone will be back at work before then, the pressure will be on the cathedrals’ Works Departments to catch up with delayed work and make the most of what is left of the critical summer season, making it very difficult for either students or staff to give priority to their Foundation degree work.

 As the situation unfolds over the coming weeks and months we shall be making plans for the resumption of the course from September.


25th March 2020

Salisbury Cathedral

  Covid-19 Interrupts Foundation degree

We are responding to the unfolding   Coronavirus crisis with a series of   measures to protect students and staff.   In response to the government’s call, in   mid-March, to reduce non-essential   travel the Study Workshop scheduled   for late March in Lincoln has been   postponed.

The introduction of  lockdown on 23rd March has meant that all students and most tutors have now been furloughed. This will require extensive changes to our programme of coursework and assessment, planning for which is underway.


25th January 2020

CWF Graduation 2012

Tenth Anniversary today!

Today is the tenth anniversary of the launch of the CWF Foundation degree in Personal and Professional Development (Stonemasonry). In those days the programme was delivered at weekends, and the first cohort gathered in Gloucester for their first Study Workshop on 25th January 2010.

Two years later the first four students, Matthew Cook (York), Jason Crozier (Worcester), Andrew Kirby (Salisbury) and David Lamb (York) graduated at a ceremony in Gloucester Cathedral.

Shown here, left to right, are: Neil Barnes, Frances Cambrook, Adrian Munns, David Lamb, the late Peter Lyddon, Jason Crozier, Dr Phil Gravestock, Andrew Kirby and John David.

Where are they now?  David Lamb and Matthew Cook run their own businesses. Jason Crozier works as a Project Manager at Clarkson Alliance and Andrew Kirby remains a valued member of the Works team at Salisbury Cathedral.


1st January 2020

Frances Cambrook

New Year changes at CWF

Frances Cambrook, Academic Programme Manager of the CWF for the last nine years, has moved to a new role as Executive Director, following the retirement of the CWF Administrator Adrian Munns OBE and Assistant Administrator Roy Bentham MBE.

Frances has a background in higher and further education consultancy and she has extensive experience of working with employers and education providers supporting the development of innovative work-based education and training solutions. She designed the CWF’s original Foundation degree in Personal & Professional Development for stonemasons in 2008, and has been supporting the team delivering the programme, now revalidated as an Fd in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair, since 2011.

Frances said, “ The CWF Fd programme is now well established and recognised in the sector, but the cathedrals face strong challenges with the rising costs of conservation, maintenance and repair, recruitment and craft skill shortages. I am delighted to be working with the CWF on this next phase of their development”.


18 September 2019

The new cohort of students

Welcome to our new cohort!

Thirteen new students attended the graduation for the outgoing cohort at Gloucester Cathedral on 17th September – and then started their own course the next day!

This is our largest and most diverse cohort to date. We have two cathedral-based students joining our new craft pathway for plumbers, and two students on the carpenter/joiner pathway, with the remaining nine students pursuing the stonemasonry pathway.

We are especially pleased that we have been able to offer places to two students from commercial contractors for the first time this year. We welcome a stonemason from Chichester Stoneworks and a carpenter from Ellis and Co. Ltd.

We wish them all luck!


17 September 2019

In the beautiful setting of Gloucester Cathedral Quire, to the accompaniment of Gloucester’s world renowned Cathedral Choir, eleven new graduates received their Foundation degrees at a ceremony on 17th September. Family and friends, together with CWF tutors, watched proudly as the Awards were conferred by Stephen Marston, Vice Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, during Choral Evensong.

The graduates, from seven of the CWF’s nine cathedrals, bring the total number of graduates of our specialist Foundation degree programme to thirty nine.

We congratulate them all and wish them well on the next stage of their careers!

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All September News Images  © Andrew Higgins reproduced with kind permission. Please contact Thousand Word Media if you would like copies of these images.


August 2019

A senior volunteering opportunity

We are seeking to appoint a new volunteer Executive Director of the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship. Supported by a dedicated team of cathedral and academic professionals, the CWF Executive Director provides the leadership and coordination necessary to achieve ongoing success for the Fellowship. Working primarily from home, this is an unpaid role requiring a flexible commitment of approximately two days a week throughout the year. Contact us for further details and information about how to apply.

Closing date: 13th September 2019.




July 2019


We are delighted that all eleven of our students have passed the final year of their Foundation degree. They are looking forward to their graduation ceremony in September.



April 2019

The news of the tragic fire at the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris has saddened us all and highlighted the significance of our own historic ecclesiastical buildings and the ever present need to retain the craft skills to conserve, repair and maintain them. 

The CWF sends its sincere support to colleagues in Paris, and to the people of France. We are sure that our partner cathedrals will be ready to offer support and assistance in the months ahead.


January 2019

Shedding light on stonemasonry and wood carving

Now recruiting

Recruitment is underway for the next intake of students on our Foundation degree in September 2019. The course is now open to stonemasons, carpenter/joiners and electricians employed in the heritage building sector, as well as to crafts people directly employed in cathedrals. Contact us for more information and to receive an application form.


October 2018

Field trip to Westminster Abbey October 2018

Westminster Abbey

Our field trip to St Margaret’s Church, Westminster and Westminster Abbey was described by one student as ‘the best part of the course so far’.  We are very grateful to staff The Morton Partnership and Daedalus Conservation for giving us so much of their time and enabling the students to see the conservation and restoration work  behind the scenes, including the recently completed Queens Diamond Jubilee Galleries in the Triforium.


March 2018

Poppies on tour

Our field trip to Hereford Cathedral coincided with the installation of the Poppies: Weeping Window cascade. Touring as part of the 1st Word War Centenary commemorations, the Poppies will be at Hereford until 29th April.




February 2018

What’s the problem?

Students gathered in Winchester for their Principles of Conservation assessment. The task, set by module leader Heather Newton, Head of Conservation at Canterbury Cathedral, was to diagnose the possible causes of the decay to a pier in the North West Transept and make recommendations as to how to approach conservation and repair.

Winchester Mason Pourang Tajally (CWF graduate 2013) provided the background for the exercise.

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November 2017

Class of 2017

Students celebrate success 

Nine of our students have received their Foundation degrees at a graduation ceremony in Gloucester Cathedral.   Stephen Buchan and Philip Green from Canterbury, Steven Mann from Durham, Owen Whitfield from Exeter, James Bayliss and Paul Synan from Gloucester, Laura Jeary from Lincoln, Christian Sullivan from Salisbury and Emily Draper from Worcester celebrated their success with family and friends.

The CWF now has twenty seven graduates from the four cohorts that have completed the programme since 2010.



October 2017

The Duke of Gloucester Craft Awards
 were established by The Worshipful Company of Masons in 2007 in honour of HRH The Duke of Gloucester.

The awards are made jointly with The Stone Federation of Great Britain and the masons awards are given every two years  in recognition of excellence in stonemasonry.

We are delighted that one CWF graduate, two graduands and two current students were amongst those receiving awards at a ceremony in London on 4th October. The top award went (jointly) to Victoria Darley (York Minster, CWF graduate 2015) and Tom Francis from Chichester Stoneworks. James Bayliss (Gloucester, CWF graduand 2017) and Luke Kingston (Salisbury, CWF student 2017) were ‘Highly Commended’ and  Matt Hoskins (Exeter, CWF student 2017) and Christian Sullivan (Salisbury, CWF graduand 2017) each received a ‘Commendation’. Well done to all!



September 2017

CWF welcomes new cohort

Ten stonemasons and one carpenter/joiner from seven of our cathedrals joined the first cohort of the new CWF Foundation degree programme on 26th September 2017. The first teaching Workshop took place over three days in Canterbury.




August 2017

New Programme Validated

The CWF Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair has  successfully completed validation with the University of Gloucestershire.




June 2017

Assessment completed

The final cohort of the CWF’s first Foundation degree  in Professional Development completed their final assessments this month.  Eight stonemasons and one cathedral electrician can now look forward to graduating in November.