Worcester Cathedral’s brand-new pinnacle is now in place after the final stones were installed and blessed by the Interim Dean and Bishop at a ‘topping out’ ceremony.
The ceremony marked the completion of repair works exactly two years to the day since Storm Arwen ripped through Worcester. On 27 November 2021, Storm Arwen tore a pinnacle from the northeast corner of the Cathedral tower.
The stone fell through the roof of the North Quire Aisle, damaging the 14th Century vaulted ceiling beneath. The vaulting and the roof were repaired in 2022, and during 2023 the Cathedral’s team of talented stonemasons has been working on designing and crafting a new pinnacle to replace the one that fell.
Scaffolding was erected earlier in the year, and the pinnacle is now complete. It’s been a long road as scaffolding has come and gone and repairs have taken place both inside and out, finishing with the final piece of the jigsaw, the design and crafting of a new pinnacle by the talented stonemasonry team.
The ‘topping out’ ceremony is an ancient tradition whereby the final piece of stone is placed, and the stonework is blessed by the Dean. The Interim Dean of Worcester, the Reverend Canon Dr Stephen Edwards, invited contractors, stonemasons and clergy, as well as a representative from the Archbishops’ Appointments Office, and the Ecclesiastical Secretary to the Crown, who were both on site as the Cathedral begins the process of appointing the next Dean of Worcester.
The ceremony took place on the scaffolding at the site of the pinnacle, located roughly 175 feet in the air. Canon Edwards said: “Today’s ceremony was a wonderful and fitting way for us to mark the completion of the repair work following Storm Arwen exactly two years ago.
The Cathedral is a large and complex entity and as such it has been a lengthy process with various repairs taking place to the ceiling, the external roof, the organ, and now finally the replacement pinnacle is now proudly in place on the tower.” The new north-facing pinnacle comprises a unicorn and a lion head, crafted by Stonemason Neil Berry, and a dragon’s head created by Master Mason, Darren Steele.
These are to represent the Royal Beasts and commemorate the Coronation year. Canon Edwards added: “The new pinnacle with its superb carvings and design is a testament to the skill and excellence of our Stone Mason team, and to them, and all our professional advisers we express our appreciation for their dedication and hard work.
“It is wonderful to see the pinnacle in place after two long years of continual repair works. We were delighted to welcome our esteemed guests to the topping out ceremony and to bless the new stonework and pray for all involved in the project and for the work and ministry of the Cathedral.”