Future visitors to Exeter Cathedral will soon see a symbol of the city’s rugby club adorning part of its façade after a new stone carving was unveiled this week.
In what is an extensive project on the Cathedral’s East Gable, work has been going on for a number of months to address parts of the stonework that need replacing or re-conditioning.
And part of the project has been to replace four corbel stones, all of which are to now have a new look moving forward.
As Clerk of Works Chris Sampson explains: “The project we are currently working on will see us replace something like 350 stones, four of which have been identified as corbel stones.
“With that in mind, we came up with ideas and a theme of how we would replace them and in the end we split it into four categories, representing the world, the UK, the City of Exeter and the Cathedral itself.
“So for the World, we have carved a poppy that relates to remembrance and those killed in the World Wars; for the UK we have carved a crown in celebration of the Queen’s 90th Birthday; for the Cathedral we have an Eagle Owl as last January one took up residence in the area we are working on for around three or four months, and for the City we have decided on the Exeter Chiefs club emblem because we feel they have done so much in recent years to really put Exeter on the map, not just in this country, but across Europe and further afield.”
The new Chiefs carving was hand produced out of Salcombe Stone by stonemason Anna Steinmetzer, who said it took a week to design out of clay and a further week to carve into stone.
And this week club chief executive and chairman Tony Rowe OBE, along with first team players Henry Slade, Jack Yeandle and Gareth Steenson, got the chance to see first-hand the new design, which is set to initially go on show in the cathedral for a period of time, before being put into place around March
Mr Rowe said: “It’s fantastic for the club that the Cathedral want to put a stone in place to recognise Exeter Rugby Club and its strong links with the City. It is going to be here for hundreds of years to come and who knows down the line, there maybe people asking the question of why there is a Chiefs head on the side of the building.
“This is the first time I’ve seen the stone since it’s been completed and I have to say it’s marvellous what they have produced as a club we’re very proud to have been honoured in this way.”
Dean of Exeter Cathedral, the Very Revd Dr Jonathan Draper, himself an ardent rugby fan, added: “The Chiefs are a very important part of the local community here in Exeter and they are an organisation that people gather around, so it’s important we look to acknowledge that for years to come.
“Over the years’ the club have really helped to put Exeter as a city on the map and I’ve no doubt moving forward they will continue to do that. Also, I have to praise our team here at the Cathedral, especially Anna, who has done a marvellous job creating the stones, which should last for many years.”
PICTURE: Exeter Chiefs players Gareth Steenson, Henry Slade and Jack Yeandle pose alongside the new Chiefs carving with Exeter Cathedral stonemason Anna Steinmetzer.
credit Pinnacle Photo Agency
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Hi, I am Mark Stevens, Media and Communications Manager for the Exeter Chiefs