A frenzied fundraising auction that took place last week and saw 85 lots of cathedral stonework up for grabs fetched more than £62,000, which was then matched pound for pound by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
A fundraising sale featuring stonework from Durham Cathedral has beaten all expectations to bring in more than £125,000.
Held on October 19, the Cathedral’s first-ever stone auction had been conceived to support its Foundation 2020 scheme, which aims to develop a £10 million endowment fund to cover any maintenance and repair work for the World Heritage Site, as well as help train the masons, joiners and embroiderers of the future.
The sale, which took place in the Chapter House, featured a wide range of stonework taken from the top of the central tower during a recent renovation project.
Local auctioneers Anderson & Garland presented the 85 lots to a hundreds of bidders that included local businessmen, university alumni and architecture aficionados, as well as online participants, with the auctioneers’ managing director, Julian Thomas, describing the room as ‘jam-packed’ and the bidding as ‘frenzied’.
All the lots sold, raising an astonishing £62,891, which will be 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 a massive £4,200.
‘With this being the first event of its type at Durham Cathedral, we didn’t know what to expect in terms public interest, but we are so pleased with the final outcome,’ says Matthew Kirk, Relationship and Development Manager at Durham Cathedral.
‘The driving force behind us putting so much hard work into this event, was knowing that our cultural landmark, the jewel in the crown of Durham City, was ultimately the one that was going to benefit in the long run.
‘It is just brilliant to have raised this staggering amount, which will be invested back into the cathedral to allow for future restorative work.’
Cathedrals across the UK are branching out with a series of unusual attractions.