Weathercock removed to be re-gilded

25 August 2020
The golden weathercock that sits on top of Norwich Cathedral’s centuries-old spire was this week (Monday 24 August) removed to be re-gilded as part of a wider restoration project. It is thought it is the first time since 1963 that the weathercock has been brought down to ground level so that experts can ensure it remains in good condition long into the future.
Chris and Sam Milford on top of Norwich Cathedral spire (c) WallWalkers

Father and son team Chris and Sam Milford, from Bristol-based historic building conservation specialists WallWalkers, have returned to the Cathedral to remove, restore and reinstall the weathercock, which since at least 1756 has crowned the 96m (315ft) spire.

The duo caused quite a stir on their first visit to Norwich earlier in August when they could be seen climbing the spire to construct a special rope system to access the outside of the spire ahead of the main part of the restoration now taking place.

Now that the weathercock has been removed, it will be re-gilded over the next couple of days before being returned to the top of the spire on Thursday. The project also includes repointing open joints and repairing stonework on the spire.

The Revd Dr Peter Doll, Canon Librarian and Vice-Dean at Norwich Cathedral, said: “The Cathedral’s towering spire and the golden weathercock that sits on top is such an iconic sight in our fine city. The restoration work currently taking place will help ensure this historic landmark remains part of Norwich’s skyline for generations to come.”

The WallWalkers removing Norwich Cathedrals weathercock (c) Bill Smith_Norwich Cathedral (1)

The weathercock is 83cm (2ft 9ins) high and it dates from at least 1756 when the top part of the spire was rebuilt by John Parsons.

Excluding the weathercock, the height of the Cathedral spire is 95.36m (312ft 10⅓ ins).

The spire that today rises high above our fine city’s skyline is actually Norwich Cathedral’s third documented spire.

The first known spire was completed in 1297 and was a timber frame with lead covering, but this was later blown down in in a storm of 1361-2. The next spire, also made of timber, was burnt in a fire in 1463 caused by lightning.

The current spire, which is constructed of a brick cone with stone facing, was thought to have been designed by Robert Everard and built later in the 15th century. Records suggest it may have been completed in 1485 and that the pine internal framing was replaced in 1772-3.

Over the centuries there have been numerous repair projects to keep the spire standing. The last major restoration of the stone spire was in the early 1960s and the project was overseen by architect Bernard Feilden.


The WallWalkers removing Norwich Cathedrals weathercock (c) Bill Smith_Norwich Cathedral (2)
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The WallWalkers removing Norwich Cathedrals weathercock (c) Bill Smith_Norwich Cathedral (3)
The WallWalkers removing Norwich Cathedrals weathercock (c) Bill Smith_Norwich Cathedral (2)
The WallWalkers removing Norwich Cathedrals weathercock (c) Bill Smith_Norwich Cathedral (1)
The WallWalkers removing Norwich Cathedrals weathercock (c) Bill Smith_Norwich Cathedral (2)
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The WallWalkers removing Norwich Cathedrals weathercock (c) Bill Smith_Norwich Cathedral (3)
The WallWalkers removing Norwich Cathedrals weathercock (c) Bill Smith_Norwich Cathedral (2)
The WallWalkers removing Norwich Cathedrals weathercock (c) Bill Smith_Norwich Cathedral (1)