The Minster Church of St John

We have been the Inspecting Architects to Beverley Minster since the 1960’s and Andy Burrell is the third generation of Carden & Godfrey to take on this responsibility.
Beverley Minster in East Riding of Yorkshire is the largest parish churches in England, larger than one-third of all English cathedrals and regarded as a gothic masterpiece by many. A fire in 1188 seriously damaged the Anglo-Saxon church and a complete rebuild was commenced. The East end and first bay of the Nave were completed by 1260 and work started on the construction of the Nave and West Towers in 1311 but was not completed until c1400.


Originally a collegiate church, it was not selected as a bishop’s seat during the Dissolution of the Monasteries; nevertheless, it survived as a parish church and is now part of the Greater Churches Group and a Grade I listed building. In addition to preparing the Quinquennial Inspection, the role includes providing general advice on the day-to-day care of the building, forward planning of repairs and maintenance in conjunction with the Minster Surveyor and various ongoing projects which have recently included repairs to stained glass windows, accessibility improvements, visitor facilities, floor repairs, reordering, new lighting and fire detection systems and repairs and replacement of pinnacles.

The biggest challenges currently facing the Minster are the need to replace the leadwork to all the High roofs and to repair and conserve the Great East and West Windows. We have been working with the Minster in preparing a ten-year programme to complete this work and in assisting with fundraising activities in conjunction with the “Two churches one town” organisation.

Read about “Two Churches, One Town” >


One of the distinctive features of Beverley Minster are the pinnacles which adorn the parapets and towers around the building. Many of these have been replaced over recent decades but many remain and some in very precarious condition.
Whilst several the most precarious pinnacles have now been replaced, a detailed condition survey of all the pinnacles has recently been carried out in conjunction with the Minster Stonemason to understand the full scale of the problem and allow for more holistic planning of repairs and replacements, making use of scaffolding for other projects wherever possible.
Most of the recent replacement pinnacles have been hand carved by the Minster Stonemasons following careful study of the surviving details on the existing pinnacles and the grotesque figures around the base of the pinnacle hood stones are inspired by other carvings in the Minster.
The original pinnacles are held together with lead joggles which also formed the bedding between the pinnacle stones. The replacement pinnacles are threaded around a stainless-steel core and grouted in – a system devised and tested by Price & Myers Consulting Engineers.

High Roofs and Stonework

The Sanctuary Project
The first phase of the High Roof Lead Replacement Project commenced in 2020 with a substantial grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The project focused on repairs to the roof of the Lesser South Transept, replacing the gutters, Lead and timber sarking boards, undertaking repairs to the timber roof structure, and taking advantage of the scaffolding to undertake stonework repairs to the high-level masonry of the Transept, including replacement of four pinnacles. A parallel interpretation project explores the theme of Sanctuary, telling the story of Beverley Minster as a place of Sanctuary as designated by Saxon King Athelstan and drawing attention to the plight of refugees in the world today.
The existing leadwork, which is believed to be around 200 years old, has been stripped and recast and re-laid in a manner close to the existing but improving the details where these have been developed and refined to ensure that the roof also meets the standards expected of modern leadwork. We have introduced ventilation at the eaves and ridge upon the advice of timber specialists and we have renewed the fall arrest system to ensure that safe access can be achieved into the gutter for maintenance.
Replacing the roof required a substantial scaffolding and temporary roof to protect the interior of the Minster below during the works and this access to all three sides of the Transept was an ideal opportunity to replace some of the badly eroded stonework on the elevations including four pinnacles. All new stone is Tadcaster Limestone, which is the closest Geological match to the original Minster stonework.

Nave Roof Project

The second phase of the High Roof Lead Replacement Project is the Nave roof, the first half of which commenced in November 2020 and was completed in March 2021 with a substantial grant from the Cultural Recovery Fund Major Works Scheme in the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic and the second half started in April 2021 and is due for completion in November 2021. This project focussed entirely on replacing the leadwork, gutters and sarking boards and associated repairs to the timber structure.

More Work