CHESTER Cathedral’s west-facing doors are to be taken away for a full restoration – for the first time in 500 years.
The ceremonial oak doors, used for allowing royalty to enter, have stood firm over the past five centuries but are now finally showing their age.
So from Monday, for the first time since they were installed in the early 16th century, the doors will be taken off their iron hinges and taken to the workshops of John Nethercott and Co in Powys, for a six-week restoration project under the direction of conservation specialist architects Donald Insall Associates.
Work will include the replacement of some of the nails, the substitution of damaged woodwork with hand-carved replacements and the consolidation and renewal of old repairs.
Funding for the project, which will cost just under £10,000, has principally come from a grant via the Mrs TA Briggs Deceased Will Trust, with other funds from the Friends of Chester Cathedral.
Cathedral press officer Nick Fry said: “There are cracks on the doors and the street level has gone down in the past 500 years, while some filler repairs on the door need to be redone properly.
“These doors have been here since the building was still a monastery in about 1520, about 20 years before it was declared a cathedral. Hopefully after these repairs, these doors will last another 500 years.”
The Dean of Chester, the very Rev Professor Gordon McPhate, said: “This is a very exciting project. The restoration of the west doors demonstrates our commitment to caring for the building while the funding partnership demonstrates the support of the community.”
A temporary screen will be installed with a peep hole to allow visitors to catch a glimpse of the cathedral inside.