Bidding opens to own a piece of York Minster

Bidders vying to own a piece of history can place offers online for the first time as part of York Minster’s auction of historic stone next week.

The auction, the first since 2016, will take place on Wednesday (22nd August) and features 140 pieces of stone, which have all been removed from the cathedral during conservation work.

Lots range in date from 14th century stones to Victorian pieces, with highlights including grotesques, finials and ten lots which form an 18th century pinnacle.

For the first time, interested bidders can now view the stones going under the hammer via an online catalogue, placing bids either in advance or live during the auction.

The event concludes a four-day celebration of the ancient craft of stonemasonry at the Minster, which starts on Friday (17 August) with the annual Stoneyard Open Day, followed by the Stone Carving Festival in Dean’s Park on Saturday and Sunday (18th and 19th August).

The Stone Carving Festival will see more than 70 stonemasons from across the globe gathering for two days of carving on the theme ‘All creatures great and small’, with participants travelling from a range of countries including India, Iceland, Norway and Cyprus, as well as locations across the UK.

Neil Sanderson, Director of the York Minster Fund, said: “York Minster is an international icon and we’re very grateful for the interest and support it attracts from around the globe. We’re delighted to be able to offer an online catalogue for the first time this year for those who can’t make it along to the auction but would like to own a piece of the cathedral, which has a special place in so many people’s hearts.

“It seems fitting to have the event as part of the four-day celebration of the ancient craft of stonemasonry and we’re looking forward to welcoming people to learn more about the skill which goes into maintaining a fragile masterpiece like York Minster.”

The auction of historic stone starts at 12pm on Wednesday 22nd August in Dean’s Park. Lots can be viewed in advance via the online catalogue at auction.yorkminster.org, which has been provided by auctioneers Stephenson & Son and is now open for bids. Five preview events will also take place in Dean’s Park on Saturday 18th August 1pm-3pm, Sunday 19th August 2pm-3pm, Monday 20th August 5pm-7pm, Tuesday 21st August 5pm-7pm and Wednesday 22nd August 10am-12noon.

The Stoneyard Open Day runs from 9.30am until 3pm on Friday 17th August in the cathedral’s Stoneyard in Deangate. Visitors can see the cathedral’s craftspeople at work in their workshops and learn how they repair, restore and protect the Minster’s historic fabric, as well as joining tours of the cathedral’s South Quire Aisle scaffolding and plaster cast museum and drawing office. Please note spaces for the South Quire Aisle tours are limited – visit www.yorkminster.org for full details.

The Stone Carving Festival runs from 8am-6pm on Saturday 18th August and from 8am-5pm on Sunday 19th August. It will be officially opened at 11am on Saturday 18th August by the Sheriff of York, Verna Campbell. The two winners of a school competition, which attracted nearly 120 entries, to design a carving for York Minster stonemasons to create will also be presented with their finished pieces.

The festival will conclude on Sunday 19th August at 3pm with the presentation of four prizes for Best Carving and Best Apprentice Carving (both voted for by participants), People’s Choice and Worshipful Company of Masons Choice. An auction of the pieces created during the weekend will then take place from 3.30pm.

All four events are free to attend. For full details, visit www.yorkminster.org.