A £150,000 grant from the First World War Centenary Repairs Fund will help repair medieval stonework at the famed Salisbury Cathedral.
The cathedral, consecrated in 1220 to replace an older cathedral in Old Sarum, is perhaps best known as the home to one of four surviving original copies of the Magna Carta.
The grant is part of £30 million in grants for 502 historic churches across the United Kingdom, according to the Salisbury Journal. In Salisbury, the money will be used ensure vulnerable masonry is safe from the elements.
“The news was received with great joy in Salisbury,” Very Revd June Osborne, dean of Salisbury, said in a news release. “We are the custodians of this remarkable building and it is our job to ensure that the Cathedral is preserved for the benefit of future generations wishing to worship here and visit in order to share its long and venerable history.
“The Cathedral is a testament to the faith and practical skills of those who built it and those who work on the fabric today,” Osborne added. “Salisbury is one of only eight cathedrals to have its own works department and a dedicated team of glaziers, sawyers, stonemasons and conservators. It was the largest building project of its time in England and the on-going Major Repair Programme that was begun nearly thirty years ago, is one of the most extensive, continuous Cathedral Repair Programmes to date.”
The main portion of the cathedral took 38 years to complete, from 1220 until 1258. Elias of Dereham, a master stonemason who was present at Runnymede and tasked with distributing copies of the Magna Carta, is credited with bringing Salisbury’s copy to the cathedral.
“In the year of the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, six copies of which are still held by cathedrals, it is timely to consider the place of the church in the life of the nation,” Frank Field, a member of Parliament and chairman of Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, said in a news release. “In the case of cathedrals it is clear that they provide much more than services.
“They offer a spiritual and physical sanctuary from everyday life, a chance to experience something greater,” Field added. “It is right and proper that the Government is supporting the care of these places and the huge range of initiatives — from food banks and night shelters to concerts and exhibitions — that cathedrals run for the benefit of us all.”