YORK Minster held an auction of historic pieces of wood and stone yesterday.

The auction, which took place in Dean’s Park, was organised by the York Minster Stoneyard and raised over £30,000 for Minster conservation work.

For the first time, the annual event featured 14th century pieces of oak charred by the 1984 Minster Fire. Deborah Branson, 55, a nurse from Monkgate, who bought one of the charred pieces to put in front of her fireplace, said “It’s part of history.”

Another oak piece, a 7 foot roof beam, was the most expensive item at the auction. A Yorkshire farmer who wished to remain anonymous bought it for £2,600. Two wooden bosses, also damaged in the fire, sold for £2,000 each, while a 19th century limestone quoin stone carved with the winged figure of a grotesque went for £2,550.

The artefacts, which were approved for sale by Minster archaeologists who kept the items of greater historic value, made unique home decorations for the buyers. Tom Ambler, 53, a self-employed builder from Heworth, bought a 19th century limestone panel carved with a crucifix for his garden. “I came down to view it last night, and thought it was one of the most attractive pieces,” he said.

There was also a table top sale of smaller items, at which Mark Hackney, 32, an archaeologist and tour guide from York, and his wife Lisa, 31, a mental health researcher, purchased a piece of masonry as an unusual way of marking their first wedding anniversary. Mr Hackney said the piece would act as “a little atheist altar.”

Canon Michael Smith from York Minster said the auction was “The best kind of recycling there can be. Everyone benefits. We take a little bit out of it and put all that money back into the building.”