4th March 2022
They finally made it!
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
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/
CWF HOF Partnership Enters Phase 3
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!
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
We congratulate them all and wish them well on the next stage of their careers!
All September News Images © Andrew Higgins reproduced with kind permission. Please contact Thousand Word Media if you would like copies of these images.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
New Programme Validated
The CWF Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair has successfully completed validation with the University of Gloucestershire.
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.