The first ever auction of stonework from Durham Cathedral saw 85 lots raise over £62,000 which was then matched pound for pound by the National Lottery Heritage Fund raising over £125,000 to support the Cathedral’s Foundation 2020 Scheme.
The Foundation 2020 Scheme aims to develop a £10 million endowment fund to cover any maintenance and repair work for the World Heritage Site and help train the masons, joiners and embroiderers of the future.
The sale, which took place in the Chapter House on Saturday, featured a wide range of stonework taken from the top of the central tower during a recent renovation project.
Local auctioneers Anderson and Garland presented the 85 lots to hundreds of bidders that included local businessmen, university alumni and architecture aficionados, as well as online participants.
The auctioneers’ managing director, Julian Thomas, described the room as ‘jam-packed’ and the bidding as ‘frenzied’.
All the lots sold, raising £62,891, matched pound for pound by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, bringing the total to more than £125,000.
The most sought after lot, number 48, proved to be the central open tracery stone that had sat between two ornate quatrefoil arches in the middle of the western window of the central tower’s southern side for more than 150 years. Hectic bidding meant the piece sold for £4,200.
‘With this being the first event of its type at Durham Cathedral, we didn’t know what to expect in terms of the public interest, but we are so pleased with the final outcome,’ said Matthew Kirk, Relationship and Development Manager at Durham Cathedral.
‘The driving force behind all the hard work to put on this event was knowing that the Cathedral, the jewel in the crown of Durham City, was ultimately the one that was going to benefit in the long run.
‘And it is just brilliant to have raised this staggering amount, which will be invested back into the cathedral to allow for future restorative work,’ he added.