A close-up look at Canterbury Cathedral's gargoyles

Sangeeta Bhabra has been to the cathedral in Canterbury to see the gargoyles face-to-face. Click above for the video report including interviews with: Head of Conservation Heather Newton, Stonemason Jordan Cliffe and Visitor Manager Christine Pascall.

The fascinating story behind the dozens of gargoyles that adorn Canterbury Cathedral in Kent has been uncovered, as the age-old workmanship is enhanced by modern masonry methods.

Gargoyles are intricately carved drain openings that direct water away from the building. They usually depict heads of animals, mythical beasts and people, not to be confused with grotesques which serve no purpose other than for aesthetics.

The gargoyles are fantastic examples of the stonemason’s expertise and skill and have inspired other members of the public to create their own gargoyles at our community events. We can’t wait to see new beautifully carved gargoyles on the building once again.

Mark Hosea, Project Director

The building is currently covered with metres of scaffolding as part of a multi-million pound restoration programme.

This essential work was funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £13.8 million and as well as donations from trusts and individuals in this country and America who have given £10.9 million through the Canterbury Cathedral Trust. £250,000 was donated by The Friends of Canterbury Cathedral.

The Cathedral employs 20 stonemasons, including 6 apprentices, 8 stained glass conservators, specialist carpenters, plumbers and other conservators.

All conservation work has to receive consent from conservation bodies such as Historic England, the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England and the Cathedral’s Fabric Committee.