Ten foot cross raised outside Wakefield Cathedral
A ten foot tall Saxon cross was installed in front of Wakefield Cathedral to mark its recommitment to the people of the city and region and the end of its refurbishment project.
The cross – hewn from a quarry in Holmfirth and hand carved by local stone carver and calligrapher, Celia Kilner – was raised outside the west door - at the top of the Cathedral precinct just before Easter. Over 30 people - including the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson, joined outside for a short service and prayer as the cross was raised.
The Dean, the Very Revd Jonathan Greener, “We are delighted to announce the successful outcome to our renewal programme here at the Cathedral.
“And in this holiest week of the Christian year, we will raise this cross as a sign of our faith, which has been alive in Wakefield for well over a thousand years,” he added.
It is the last commission for Celia Kilner, pictured in the foreground, who, at 72 has just announced her retirement and was there to watch her final piece put into place – and on hand herself to steer the top of the cross.
“It is my biggest project and watching it being put in place is a big relief but also there is sadness there that it is the last piece too."
In the 19th century the fragment of Saxon Cross Shaft was discovered being used as a doorstep in Wakefield – it dates to around 970 and would have stood as a central symbol of faith in the town. While its original location is not known, during the archeological excavations of Project 2013, the first phase of the Cathedral’s redevelopment programme, two high status Cist burials were found in the south aisle – and carbon dated to the late 10thand early 11th centuries.
It was this shaft that Celia had to try and imagine and then bring to life a new cross for Wakefield Cathedral. She said she spent a lot of time brooding and thinking and brooding again to come up with the design.
Over £6.5m has been spent renewing the Cathedral for the 21st century. York-based specialist contractor William Anelay Ltd started work on Project 2013 with the removal of the pews back in October 2012 and last year work began on Project 2015 - to renew the East End of the cathedral, its windows, the vestry and music room. Work is expected to be completed by early May 2016.
Contracts Manager Mark Wainer commented "“We are extremely pleased to be part of this prestigious project and the installation of the cross signifies a huge step towards the completion of the current works in time for Easter.”
Said the Dean: ““This begins the next chapter in the life of our Cathedral and we are proud to have the confidence to put this cross up for all to see as a sign of our recommitment to the people of this city and this region.”