Things are certainly looking up for historic Doncaster Minster – with a team of experts going to great heights to restore the crumbling church to its former glory.
Skilled stonemasons have been scaling the dizzy heights of the Gothic masterpiece building to carry out a series of urgent repairs to the roof, stained glass windows and ornate stonework – all the while enjoying a bird’s eye view of Doncaster.
And The Star were given an exclusive peek from the top of the scaffolding to see the work taking place during the 20-week programme of refurbishment which is focusing on the north transept which has suffered problems from water damage.
Foreman Steve Bull said: “We have got a big job on our hands and there’s a lot to do. We’ve discovered quite a few more problems that we weren’t really aware of until we got started.”
Dozens of pieces of lead have already been removed from the roof and will be melted down and recast before being re-attached to the roof.
Stonework is also being repaired and replaced, with cracked, crumbling and flaking limestone being delicately handled by Steve’s team of experts.
Canon Paul Shackerley, vicar of Doncaster, said: “It is exciting to be moving on with this essential work to the fabric of Doncaster Minster.
“Not only will it address the effects of the historic water ingress but it will prevent further damage to the stonework.
“We will also see improvements to the condition of one of our biggest and most impressive stained glass windows.”
Steve added: “It is a very specialist and time consuming job and it can’t be rushed. Everything has gone pretty smoothly so far though and when we’ve finished the Minster will look the best it has looked in many years.”
Stonemason Alan Cook, whose previous jobs have included working on Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and Kensington Palace, has been tasked with carving replacement stones.
He said: “We use traditional techniques so the work is as close as possible to the original. It is hard but very rewarding to work on such beautiful buildings.”