The Leaves of Southwell have been a source of inspiration for 700 years.
Sir Nikolaus Pevsner found them an inexhaustible delight during the darkest hours of the
Second World War.
Dame Hilary Mantel describes them as so subtle that it is
as if.....stone has burst into forid life in her great historical novel ‘Wolf Hall’ .
Sir Simon Jenkins, in his book on England’s cathedrals, notes that Southwell Minster’s Chapter House played host to a burst of genius. As if a corner of Nottinghamshire was seized by a collective magic.
The fluid carvings of plants, animals and green men found within the Chapter House - known collectively as ‘The Leaves of Southwell’ - are of quite exceptional quality and regarded as the best example of 13th century naturalistic carving in the United Kingdom. An example of global importance currently at risk. Seventy years since Pevsner wrote his booklet, they deserve fresh appreciation.
They need protection from leaking roofs and lack appropriate heating and environmental controls. In addition, with modern lighting (there is none at present) and an imaginative interpretation scheme, the Leaves of Southwell can be made much more accessible and widely known to future generations. It is our belief that they represent not only wonderful heritage but also an extraordinary resource today.
We're delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded us an initial grant of £352,697 to develop the project in a way that will protect, interpret and better present the medieval carvings.
A further grant of £2.2million to implement
our plans is contingent on the success of the development phase. Thanks to generous pledges and gifts we are but £180,000 short of target.
Reverend Canon Nigel Coates