October 2021

The Men who Built the Cathedrals

Welcome to The Arts Society Great Ouse Valley
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 19:30

Sharnbrook Hotel, Park Lane Bedfordshire MK44 1LX

NB: This event may be held online instead due to social distancing

Standing in the nave of Ely cathedral when I was 14, I stopped listening to the guide saying how long and how high and started wondering how on earth ordinary human beings created sky-scraping, dizzyingly high buildings on which even the top-most parts were delicately decorated. How, why and for whom were my questions. For God, for personal redemption and to make a living are the answers to the last two of those, but the "how" was harder to fathom.

In this talk we meet the Master Masons who both designed the buildings and ran the site. They commanded everything whether it was sourcing the vast quantities of wood and stone, recruiting the workforce or knowing enough about their various trades to be able to create heaven on earth out the cacophony of thousands of chisels and hammers. These men were charismatic leaders, but they were continually checked by their fellow Master Masons in the interests of making a building as strong as possible - we only see their successes, after all. They were real people who got into trouble with the law, who occasionally cheated on contracts, who liked to start a job but not to finish it. On the other hand, their creations remain to this day, some breathtakingly beautiful in their exquisite detail causing us, centuries later, to stand in a nave and wonder.


Mrs Imogen Corrigan

After nearly 20 years in the British army, went to the University of Kent to study Anglo-Saxon & Medieval History and Art, graduating with 1st class honours, followed by an MPhil from the University of Birmingham. Works as a freelance lecturer across Britain and Europe as well as lecturing on small cruise ships and running study tours and courses on land. Has written Stone on Stone: the Men Who Built the Cathedrals, published 2019. A Freeman of the City of London, being a Member of the Company of Communicators.

Willing and able to deliver lectures remotely via Webinar/Zoom.