Aycliffe firm Stiller helps to relocate unique piece of cathedral for good cause

Published: 09 Oct 2019

Newton Aycliffe firm Stiller Warehousing and Distribution have helped to relocate a historic – and very heavy – stone from Durham Cathedral for a good cause.

One of the highest stones from Durham Cathedral’s tower now has a new home at Learning Curve Group (LCG) in Durham Gate, Spennymoor.

LCG successfully bid for the 150-year-old stone during the North East England Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner in 2018, paying £6,500.

This amount was part of £75,000 raised at the NEECC last year, added by a further £154,000 raised at the 2019 dinner in September – totalling nearly £230,000 raised from the two NEECC dinners which will go towards the cathedral’s restoration.

The painstaking job of transporting and installing the stone safely at its new home at the entrance of LCG’s Durham Gate office was undertaken by Aycliffe-based Stiller, who offered to deliver the stone free of charge at the event and carried out their promise.

Stiller’s business development manager Thomas Prentice is pictured above (far left) delivering the stone to LCG’s premises.

Matthew Kirk, Durham Cathedral relationship and development manager, said: “We were thrilled when LCG won this fabulous stone at last year’s Chamber annual dinner auction at the Cathedral.

“For the past three years we’ve been removing and replacing a number of stones from the Cathedral’s tower and this stone was one of the finest we removed.

“We are glad to know this stone which has stood guard over Durham for over 150 years will have a new life welcoming people to the LCG building.

“LGC’s bid will contribute to the repair and maintenance of the Cathedral for many years to come. Not only have they bought a little piece of Durham history but they’ve also helped safeguard the future.”

Daniel Marsden-Knight, Chamber events and development manager, said: “It is a tremendous privilege for us to be able to hold our annual dinner in Durham Cathedral, part of the country’s most iconic world heritage sites.

“The partnership between the Chamber and the Cathedral is fantastic for our members who attend the unique event and are also proud to know they are supporting its restoration at the same time.”

The stone, which now sits pride of place at LCG’s head office, is an open tracery upper course stone and was the top of one of the crenels, the highest point on the cathedral tower. Open tracery is a style of carving that means the decoration is visible from the outside of the stone.

The decoration is a double quatrefoil – the four points in the inner arch are the ‘quatrefoil’ creating a clover-like decoration.

Brought from Prudham Quarry in 1859, the stone was put on the tower in approximately 1860. It was removed from the tower during the first phase of recent renovations with the other upper course tracery stones.

There is now a further opportunity for other organisations or members of the public to own a piece of the cathedral’s history for themselves.

On October 19, 1-3pm, Durham Cathedral is holding a stone auction, The auction, which is the first of its type for the UNESCO World Heritage Site, will see stones taken from the top of the Central Tower during its recent renovation work, available to purchase and take home.

Bidding for a stone will support Durham Cathedral’s Foundation 2020 endowment fund for ongoing restoration work. You can find out more about the auction here: https://www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/get-involved/stone-auction