The restored Edgar Tower is about to be revealed!12 Mar 2019 By Sam Setchell
The Edgar Tower at the Cathedral has been restored thanks to donations from individuals as well as local and national charitable trusts.
After nearly five years of being shrouded in scaffolding, the beautifully restored south walls and turrets of the Edgar Tower will soon be revealed! The Edgar Tower is one of the city’s oldest structures. This impressive gateway to Worcester Cathedral’s College Green was built in the mid-14th century, replacing an earlier stone gateway built in the early 1200s by order of King John, who is buried in Worcester Cathedral and whose legacy lives on in Magna Carta. It is one of only a few medieval Gatehouses that has survived largely unaltered from this period and still houses what is possibly the oldest schoolroom in continuous use in England, as the Classics Department for the King’s School.
The very poor condition of the existing structure and the structural fragility caused by earlier phases of repair work, combined with the exposed condition to the prevailing weather from the southwest, led Historic England to add the Edgar Tower to its ‘Heritage at Risk’ register in 2016.
The restoration was carried out by the Cathedral Works Department under the guidance of the Cathedral’s Surveyor of the Fabric. The Archaeological assessment was undertaken by the Cathedral Archaeologist and the sourcing of materials by the Cathedral’s Master Mason. Replacement stone was selected on a ‘like for like’ basis and in each case a natural stone closely matched to the existing was selected.
The scaffolding is now being taken down from the south side and the Cathedral’s stonemasons have just begun work on the north walls and turrets.
Louise Brennan, Regional Director of Historic England in the Midlands said:
"We are thrilled at the progress that has been achieved at the Edgar Tower. Working in partnership with the team at the Cathedral has been positive and the essential work has been done to an amazingly high level of skill. Not only that, it is wonderful to see Worcester Cathedral’s former apprentices leading the repair work. With the scaffolding coming down, Edgar Tower has been returned to the streetscape of Worcester as a beautiful, well repaired and safe building."
The Cathedral wishes to thank everyone who supported the fundraising campaign to secure the restoration. The Make Your Mark campaign caught the imagination of the local community and all of the 400 new stones have been sponsored and placed on the Edgar Tower, raising over £30,000. Both local and national charitable trusts awarded very generous grants and Historic England, who is guiding the Cathedral on its strategy for repair, has awarded major support to secure the restoration of the north walls and turrets. This means that the Cathedral will be able maintain the Edgar Tower and ensure that it can be enjoyed and cherished now and in the future.