CONSERVATION work is underway to restore decaying stones at the main entrance of York Minster to pave the way for a £10.5m project to open up the cathedral to a wider audience.
Scaffolding has been erected around the South Transept Porch of the Minster as part of the restoration, which began this week and will continue until May.
Part of the work will involve replacing 21 ornate voussoir stones which are carved by hand, with each taking about 50 days to complete.
The scaffolding will be taken down for the Queen’s visit to York on Maundy Thursday, which will see her attend a service at the Minster.
While the conservation work on the South Transept Porch is being paid through general maintenance budgets, it is an integral part of the £10.5m York Minster Revealed project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The scheme is aimed at attracting a wider range of people to the Minster, and access will be improved with a piazza created at the South Transept entrance. The York Minster Revealed project will also see multi-media galleries and new displays of historic collections introduced to help visitors glean a clearer understanding of the cathedral’s history.
The South Transept Porch is historically important as it represents the earliest phase of Gothic re-building of the cathedral to have survived above ground. It was substantially re-developed under the patronage of Archbishop Walter De Grey between about 1225 and 1250.