Stonemasons compete in race against clock at York Minster's Stone Carving Festival

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The world’s top stonemasons have converged on York Minster in a race against the clock to chisel art out of rock.

The first Stone Carving Festival to be held in the city since 2010 has brought together about 70 of the world’s most foremost masons, who spent two days carving nature-themed images.

Yorkshire Minster Stonemason Richard Bossons, with his carving of a Polar Bear.

Yorkshire Minster Stonemason Richard Bossons, with his carving of a Polar Bear.

They will today vote on each other’s work to pick a winner - and the competition is stiff, with masons from Canterbury, Durham, Lincoln, Winchester and Norwich cathedrals and from as far afield as Iceland, India and the vast Romanesque Nidaros Cathedral in southern Norway, where the country’s kings are traditionally crowned.

The weekend forms part of a four-day celebration of ancient craft at the Minster, which began on Friday with the annual open day at the stoneyard.

It is also offering an opportunity to sell off bits of stonework that have fallen from the Minster or been replaced during previous restorations.

In the first such event for two years, they will be auctioned on Wednesday, with lots ranging from the 14th to 19th centuries, including include grotesques, finials and 10 lots which form an 18th-century pinnacle.

Proceeds from the auction will be ploughed back into the cathedral’s maintenance.