Llanthony Secunda Priory Trust Stone Carving Festival
- Credit: Archant
Over the late May Bank Holiday weekend Llanthony Secunda Priory hosted Gloucester’s first ever stone carving festival http://www.stonecarvingfestival.co.uk/
The event was organised in conjunction with the Tall Ships festival in Gloucester Docks http://www.thecityofgloucester.co.uk/tallships/event-information
Well over 2,000 visitors came to Llanthony and enjoyed the stone carvers at work. The masons were each given a block of Tetbury Limestone, to produce a carving with a nautical theme over the weekend.
Children were given the opportunity to have a go at stone carving under the expert supervision of Carrie Horwood, the event organiser (who has worked at Gloucester Cathedral). There was tremendous interest in Llanthony from an audience drawn from a very wide catchment, including a good number of overseas visitors.
Llanthony Secunda Priory Trust (LSPT) ran a busy stand throughout the event selling raffle tickets for a mermaid carving, the work of event organiser Carrie. It significantly boosted the Trust’s friends and supporters numbers, and substantially raised the site’s profile, as well as generating much needed cash for this historic site.
LSPT is a charitable trust made up entirely of volunteers. It has been working up a major project to restore and bring into active use this unique and long forgotten heritage site. It is a site of enormous national historic, cultural and archaeological significance, located just a short walk from the centre of historic Gloucester, and now surrounded by 21st century waterside regeneration at Gloucester Docks and Quays.
To date the Trust has raised and invested £350,000 in emergency repairs to wind and weatherproof the fragile heritage buildings. However, future plans will require much greater funding to restore the heritage and give the site a bright future.
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The project that has been developed by the Trust will comprehensively repair and conserve the six Grade 1 listed structures and introduce sustainable uses for the main buildings, which will include an interpretation centre. It will bring to life the site’s rich 900 year history and make Llanthony a significant destination for events, activities and general enjoyment.
An application for a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has been lodged with a decision expected later this summer.
Philip Staddon, one of the founding Directors of the Trust, says, “Hosting the stone carving event at Llanthony was a resounding success. Everyone had a great time watching the masons transform blocks of Tetbury Limestone into exquisite carvings in just one weekend. With over two thousand visitors attending the event it has also given us a glimpse into the future potential of the Llanthony site to host major events and activities. Our project to restore the site is the subject of a Heritage Lottery Fund bid and, if we are successful, we will begin a major project of restoration. In the light of the success of the stone carving festival we are already planning a much bigger, international, stone carving event in 2015, again in conjunction with the Tall Ships event in Gloucester Docks.”
• Llanthony Secunda Priory Trust, Llanthony Road, Gloucester, GL2 5JQ