Leicester Cathedral rooftop cross blessed by climbing dean

Dean of Leicester David Monteith
Image caption The Dean of Leicester climbed ladders and scaffolding to carry out the blessing

The Dean of Leicester has climbed scaffolding on a cathedral spire to bless a new stone cross.

The "topping out" ceremony marked work to repair the stonework of the north transept of Leicester Cathedral.

From the roof, The Very Reverend David Monteith offered prayers for the cathedral and city.

Leicester Cathedral was awarded £130,000 to "undertake urgent repair work" by the World War One Centenary Repairs Fund last year.

Blessed are the roof-top crosses

Image caption During the blessing, Dean Monteith offered prayers for the cathedral and city
Image copyright Leicester Cathedral
Image caption Officials said it was traditional for stone masons to have a topping out ceremony

The cathedral team said it was traditional for stone masons to have a topping out ceremony and decided it would be in the form of a blessing service.

Dean Monteith said: "As the city launches its pre-Christmas events and activities, it is very appropriate that we are able to offer our own blessing with the sign of the cross from the roof of a cathedral which has stood for faith at the heart of our city and county for the past 1,000 years".

The cross has been placed on the highest parapet on the north transept of the Guildhall Lane cathedral. New mounting has replaced a weather-worn version put there as part of the mid-19th century rebuilding of St Martins.

Cross Finial

Image copyright Leicester Cathedral
  • A finial is the architectural name for whatever sits on the top or end of another object, such as a spire
  • The stone cross (pictured left) replaces a mid-19th century metal finial (pictured right)
  • The metal finial, which has been damaged by the weather over the years, took the shape of an ornate cross with a corona
  • The new cross is represented in its simple form, proclaiming a message of hope
  • The floral postament below the cross signifies purity, and a wreath of roses symbolises both heavenly joy and forgiven wrongs
  • The rose of the House of York is set beside the heraldic cinquefoil of Leicester, to mark when King Richard III's remains were brought into Leicester Cathedral for final repose.

Source: Leicester Cathedral architect, Ian Salisbury

As well as the stone cross, a new flame finial has been made to sit on top of a smaller pinnacle, and a new griffin constructed to replace a decayed one.

Repairs have also been carried out to a large window in the north transept and the replacement of gutters and downspouts has taken place across the whole building.

The work is due to be fully completed before the end of the year.

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