Home About News Current projects The Workshop Contact


The last 30 years or so has seen the establishment of the Building Conservation profession, the purpose of which is to preserve and maintain the unique fabric of our architectural heritage and protect it as far as possible from the processes of further decay. The idea of restoring buildings in the manner of the Victorians was challenged in the late 19th century by William Morris and the S.P.A.B. and the principles of conservation they pioneered are now the accepted norm. But stone is still subject to decay and there must come a time when the external envelope of the building has to be renewed in some degree if the structural integrity of the whole is to be preserved. It is at this point that the traditional crafts of the mason and carver are called upon. Apart from the practical skills of carving, restoration work demands an understanding of style and period. In many cases carved detailing can be accurately recreated by carefully interpreting what remains of the original work, or by using less decayed detailing as a guide. There are many occasions however, where all has been lost and the carver must design afresh in a sensitive and sympathetic manner. If we wish to conserve our historic buildings we must also conserve and promote the traditional skills that were used to create them in the first place.

King’s College Chapel – West Door

King’s College Chapel was one of the last major medieval buildings finished before the Renaissance. The West Door was completed by 1519 in the reign of Henry VIII.

Henry VII Chapel, Westminster Abbey – Heraldic Beasts

A notable feature of the carving work on Henry VII chapel are the heraldic beasts; greyhounds, lions and dragons, which cling to the building everywhere one looks. They peer down from string courses, pinnacles, cupolas, and flying buttress copings.

Henry VII Chapel, Westminster Abbey

Henry VII, reputedly a notorious miser, lavished a fortune on the building of a new Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey. Intended by its founder as the mausoleum of the newly established Tutor dynasty, it is heavily ornamented with heraldic motifs, insistently proclaiming the family pedigree.

© 2015 Tim Crawley | Website designed and hosted by Harris Digital