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Howden Minster restoration

Visited Howden minster to day which is quite local to me, in fact I seem to live in the “minster triangle” of the North ! In places around the outside of the building there has been some restoration work done in new limestone. The stone is so white, and the edges and angles so crisp it is amazing. I always assumed that the skirt around the base of this and other similar buildings was always rounded, yet the restoration blocks demonstrate that these actually came to a sharp edge, it is the weathering that has rounded them after 1000 years. Looking at the new blocks I suddenly realised what this building must have looked like when it was new. It would have shone brightly in white stone with a fine crispness to all the detail – in fact it would have looked surreal to us now, never mind to the people of 1200 who would have been living in one step up from a mud hut. This minster and all the others would have been a glowing beacon of hope – “god’s house on earth” – which to day we just do not see. For many centuries people have associated churches with being old, dark and weather beaten, yet this is completely the opposite image that they were originally built to give.