The 37 year-long restoration of Salisbury Cathedral came to an end in early September, when a topping-out ceremony was held at the east end. For the first time in many years, the building is free from scaffolding. Future masons will discover quirky stone carvings of, for example, a ferret, a baby dragon, a bird on a nest, and even the figure of a female mason carved by Carol Pike, who has worked for the Cathedral for 17 years, just as Salisbury’s current masons discovered evidence of their forebears in the form of oyster shells discarded after lunch and used to pack the mortar joints. There is even a stone celebrating the running (and completing) of the London marathon by the daughter of a recent Dean, to raise funds for the restoration. For the next four years the cathedral’s stonemasons will be working on restoring the elaborately carved tracery and Purbeck columns in the cloisters.
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