Attractions industry news

18 May 2021

Face mask added to St Albans cathedral's medieval carvings as part of restoration project

Visitors to St Albans Cathedral in the UK will be able to spot a very contemporary item among the newly-restored, medieval shrine of St Amphibalus.

The restoration of the rare memorial took place during the COVID-19 pandemic – a fact which has been commemorated with the addition of a figure wearing a face mask.

The shrine of St Amphibalus is one of Britain’s 13 medieval pedestal shrines and St Albans is the only British cathedral to house two.

As part of the Cathedral’s landmark Alban, Britain’s First Saint project, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and over one thousand donors, the conservation and restoration project of the shrine of St Amphibalus began in June 2019.

Carried out by a team at Skillington Workshop, based in Lincolnshire, specialist conservation of the original pieces took place as well as the creation of hand-carved stone by skilled carvers to replace missing sections, before returning to rebuild the shrine in the Cathedral in 2021.

Amongst the range of carvings, visitors will be able to spot the modern addition of a face wearing a face mask to commemorate the shrine’s restoration project taking place during the pandemic.

The St Albans Cathedral reopened to visitors on 17 May, as part of England moving to Step 3 in its roadmap out of lockdowns.

A spokesperson for St Albans Cathedral said: "To mark the return of the newly restored shrine of St Amphibalus, we will be launching a brand-new pilgrimage route during the annual Alban Pilgrimage weekend in June.

"Beginning at the site of the saint’s martyrdom in Redbourn before arriving at the shrine’s new home in the Chapel of the Four Tapers, this new pilgrimage route will be a key feature of our Medieval Summer programme."

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