A NEWLY-carved grotesque of St George was unveiled to mark the Patron Saint’s day on Tuesday.

The carving, produced by Minster Stoneman Richard Bossons, has been produced as part of an 11 year, £11 million project to conserve and restore the cathedral’s 14th century South Quire Aisle, which involves repairing and replacing stone and glass in 15 windows bays.

It is one of four new grotesques created by the Minster’s stonemasons to replace weathered figures removed from the cathedral last year, which were believed to date from the 1700s.

Although badly eroded, it was clear the 200-year-old carvings had once shown three human figures and an animal or beast, which provided the starting point for developing the saint and – as legend has it – his traditional foe, the dragon.

The grotesques will sit 70 feet above the ground as part of a pinnacle which the team is rebuilding, using limestone from a quarry near Tadcaster. They are due to be fixed in place on the Minster later this year.

Richard said that the figure took 10 weeks to design and that it will sit alongside a dragon, carved by Lee Godfrey and two other grotesques currently being produced by stonemasons Harriet Pace and Dave Willett.

He said: “We like to replace like for like in the carving work we do. We use the surviving fabric as a starting point and take inspiration from historic sources to ensure the design of the grotesque is in-keeping with the period of the building it will feature on.

“The figure was extremely eroded but we could see the positioning of the arms and legs and it was clear the figure had been holding something like a sword, so this, along with the fact one of the figures was a beast, gave scope to develop St George and the dragon.”

The York Minster Fund is currently raising money for the restoration of the South Quire Aisle. For more information ,visit www.yorkminster.org.