Carving of Stuart, Head Maintenance Man at Lincoln Cathedral

This is a carving I did in the tradition of the original cathedral builders. It is a carving of a fellow workman.

He is Stuart. Head maintenance man at the cathedral.

As a medieval grotesque stone had failed, it was thought a fitting acknowledgment for 30 years service to carve Stuart as its replacement.

Stu’s job requires him to work all over the cathedral, so he has keys to everywhere. He is always the first into work and the last to leave. To coin a term from cricket, he is known as the Night Watchman.

I decided to carve him wearing a medieval cloak, with hood raised, carrying a lantern in one hand and his huge bunch of keys in the other. Upon his back are his tools and his packed lunch, in a wicker basket, the lid of which you will see slightly ajar. It has been raised by a hand bearing a key. This represents the key to his lock-up where he keeps all his equipment, ladders and tools.

He thinks it is kept secretly hidden under a bucket, but we all know where it is. So it is my way, as a carver, of poking a bit of fun at him.

In centuries to come, who knows what stories will be attributed to the lone key? One thing is for sure, as Stuart continues to give his working life to the cathedral he loves, it is only right that he will remain a part of it long after he retires.

Sitting astride the top of a buttress and gazing towards his home village of Bardney some 10 miles from Lincoln, he has a long shift ahead of him replacing the medieval grotesque which had sat there before for nearly 800 years.