A major project to restore Birmingham Cathedral’s ‘crowning glory’ weather vane and orb has been completed.

The two objects have been regilded thanks to a £2,500 donation from Edgbaston-based property investment firm Calthorpe Estates, in recognition of a long-standing relationship between the company and the cathedral.

The restoration gave experts the opportunity to look into the story of the weather vane and to learn more about the significance of its boar’s head design.

A plaque hangs inside the main entrance to the building offering clues about the meaning and this allowed Birmingham Cathedral heritage manager, Jane McArdle, to piece together its history.

Mark Lee, chief executive of Calthorpe Estates, and The Very Revd Catherine Ogle, Dean of Birmingham
Mark Lee, chief executive of Calthorpe Estates, and The Very Revd Catherine Ogle, Dean of Birmingham

“After St Philips was built in 1715 there was insufficient money to complete the orb, weather vane and cross,” said Ms McArdle.

“Several years later Sir Richard Gough made an approach to King George, who made a generous donation of £600 (around £75,000 in today’s money).

“In perpetual recognition of Sir Richard’s efforts, the boar, which features in the Gough coat of arms, was recreated on the weather vane.

“Almost 300 years later, the descendants of Sir Richard Gough in the form of the Calthorpe Estates, have funded the recent re-gilding of the weather vane and orb.”

Mark Lee, chief executive of Calthorpe Estates, said: “We were pleased to support the restoration of the orb and weather vane, and rejuvenate the long-established relationship between Birmingham Cathedral, Calthorpe Estates and the Gough family.

“In addition, Calthorpe Estates are delighted to be able to continue to play a significant role in supporting the Cathedral and community 300 years on.”

 

In 2015 Birmingham Cathedral celebrates 300 years of the church of St Philips, and in 2017 Calthorpe Estates will also be celebrating its 300th anniversary.

The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, Dean of Birmingham said: “We cannot celebrate the heritage of our cathedral, without celebrating the heritage of our city, the two are intrinsically linked.

“Over the course of 2015 we will be sharing the story of how a town became a city, and how a church became a cathedral.

“We are delighted to have the support of Calthorpe Estates, and our shared heritage speaks of all that we have to be proud of in Birmingham.”

Birmingham Cathedral offers free heritage tours every Monday at 1pm at the main entrance.