Tyne & Wear

Durham Cathedral to benefit by £125,000 after stonework auction

Stonework taken from the cathedral Image copyright Anderson and Garland
Image caption Auctioneers said bidders were keen to own "pieces of history"

Durham Cathedral will benefit by more than £125,000 after stonework was sold in "frenzied" bidding at an auction.

A total of 85 weather-beaten pieces of stonework were sold to boost funds for maintenance of the World Heritage Site.

All lots were sold, with the highest price of £4,200 paid for the open tracery stone, which sat in the central tower for over 150 years.

The sale raised £62,891, but with match funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, that figure will rise to £125,782.

Durham Cathedral is nearly 1,000 years old, but the stonework sold at auction dated from 1858.

The sandstone lots were removed from the cathedral's central tower and bell tower during renovation work.

'Pieces of history'

They ranged in size from a few centimetres to more than 1.5m (5ft).

Auctioneers said buyers wanted to "own pieces of history" and use them as bookends and garden features.

Matthew Kirk, from the cathedral, said it was "brilliant" to have raised so much money.

"We didn't know what to expect in terms of public interest, but we are so pleased with the final outcome.

"The driving force behind putting so much hard work into this was knowing our cultural landmark was ultimately the one to benefit in the long run."

Julian Thompson, from Anderson and Garland auctioneers, said: "The auction was jam-packed and I would describe the bidding as frenzied.

"The items really captured the imagination as people wanted to own pieces of history."

Image copyright Durham Cathedral
Image caption The highest price was paid for the open tracery stone from the cathedral's central tower

The money raised will go towards the building's Foundation 2020 campaign, which aims to raise £10m to cover future maintenance and repairs.

The cathedral's tower reopened this year, following the completion of the three-year restoration which also saw the construction of a viewing platform.

The project was undertaken after a 2013 survey identified a number of areas in need of attention.

Image copyright Nick Martin
Image caption Durham Cathedral attracts 750,000 visitors each year

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