The Stone People Project is a multi faceted investigation into The Master Masons in England Circa 1250-1350 specifically reviewing links between lincoln Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and Queen Eleanor's Crosses. Simeon Personal research will eventually lead to a multi site public art project including the rebuilding of 9 historic monuments/crosses based on evidence left behind by the decision of Edward the First to memorialize his wife death in 1290.
In 2009 the Stone People came from an idea to create a story based on gargoyles on medieval Churches and Cathedrals. The germ of the ideas was based on the premise that the "Stone People" where finding it hard to live in London's claustrophobic center with the noise, pollution and over crowding especially as the church they lived on was being over shadowed by the "Shard". Their search for a place to live in peace Inevitably lead them to Lincoln and its majestic cathedral. So began the Journey to find the "Stone People".
Inevitably in any artistic endeavor the journey has evolved into a research project based on finding the names of the master masons who built the English Medieval Cathedrals particularly Lincoln Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, via a link between the Eleanor Crosses and the Angel Choir.
This project will also present ideas based on known information on medieval theology, mathematics, geometry and sculptural practice to represent and showcase the work of these masons and contemporary practitioners of stone carving and conservation. In some way we hope to enhance our understanding of the stone craft historically and showcase how it can be utilized today. The Stone People will become a mutli-site collaborative public art project utilizing English historic sites, events and sculpture and maybe a number of interesting books.
In some way by doing this we hope to support:
Lincoln Cathedral Works Department efforts to conserve the cathedrals building fabric and enhance the publics understanding of their work and this building and alongside other organizations whose mission is focused on educating a new generation of craftspeople such as Weymouth College, American College of the Building Arts and Bryn Athyn College.
With this simple act to understand our past we hope to help save our built heritage for future generations to enjoy and marvel at and to develop contemporary practice for a new generation of passionate craftspeople.
As I write this in the year 2014 the aim is for a project completion date of 1241. The year of Eleanor's birth.
- Raise awareness of the English Medieval Masters Masons lives, accomplishments, ideas and develop dialogue between contemporary masters and a future generation of craftspeople.
- Instigate a major sculptural project to celebrate the Master Masons oeuvre to highlight the importance of the "Building Arts" in contemporary life.
- Develop a story and narrative to get young people interested in the Built Environment
Aims and Goals
Rediscover the Medieval Master Masons Circa 1200-1356 and reveal their names, history and work.
Create a conceptual narrative linking Westminster Abbey, Lincoln Cathedral through the Eleanor Crosses and the Angel Choir. In doing so create a public audience for the history and work of the medieval masters.
Develop conceptual ideas based on present understanding of Medieval Theology, Geometry and the Craft of Stone Carving to understand clearly how the English Cathedral where built both physically and conceptually allowing people to understand the meaning built into our majestic cathedrals.
Instigate the development of a major public arts project to recreate the missing Eleanor Crosses showcasing the present master of building craft and contemporary sculptural practice and educating a new generation of high skilled Building Artisans.
Bringing together the evidence left behind of the original Eleanor Crosses in an exhibition format to showcase the work of the medieval masters.
Showcase the need to develop a new generation of Masters by highlighting the work of Lincoln Cathedral Work Department and organizations interested in building the capacity to educate crafts people for the 21st Century.
Confront the inherent, or perceived, conflict between Traditional Craft (making) with Contemporary Conceptual Sculptural Practice and Modern Architecture (Ideas).
Remaking an iconic image
Queen Eleanor is a iconic cultural figure whose presence in the English Built Environment is ever present and somehow missing. Small Signs and signifiers alongside massive monuments dot the English Landscape but somehow these clues, to a deeply important figure in British History, are ignored and walked past without a second look. The monuments are either so obvious to a passerby that they are ignored due to the scale of their mass. Or the plaques, signifying the designation of an original site of importance related to Eleanor, are so hidden that even if you are looking for the objects or looking straight at them you will probably miss them.
Eleanor Death and the Eleanor Crosses
Much of the Imagery surrounding Eleanor is now found along a path between Lincoln Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. Its placement in the English Landscape was due to Eleanor's Death in Harby near Lincoln in 1290. This event led to a major episode in English History, perhaps similar to the events after the death of Diana Prince of Wales, where by royal protocol, ceremony, logistics, and medieval etiquette all had to be arranged for the funeral in London. Firstly her body was moved to a local monastery in Lincoln where her body was eviscerated, i.e. the organs removed, this was done for logical reasons due to the nature of human decomposition, so that her body remained stable over the 12 days journey to London. During those 12 days she was transported and rested in state in many of the most important places in Eleanor's life and also of religious significance in England: Lincoln, Grantham, Stamford, Geddington, Hardingstone, Stoney Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, St. Albans, Waltham, West Cheap, Charing, and the final stop Westminster Abbey. Once this journey had been completed and Eleanor layed to rest Edward the First ordered the creation of 12 Crosses to honor Eleanors wife to leave a lasting imprint on England culture which last to this day 700 years later. For more information on these crosses please follow as this website is updated on each site visited on Eleanor's procession.
As part of the Reproduction of the Lincoln Cross, which has started in Charleston South Carolina (see page Lincoln: Angels and Demons or Rebuilding a medieval Master Piece), The Stone People Project is reproducing a new Eleanor Statue, starting Fall 2015 and projected for completion in 2017. This page will not only showcase many of the images left of Eleanor but also the process in the creation of this new statue.
The re-creation of Eleanor's Lincoln Cross
In the Summer of 2014 The Stone People Project set out on the first summer research tour. Its aim was to follow the path of the Eleanor Crosses and to meet the Clericus Fabricae of Lincoln Cathedral Works Department Carol Heidschuster (The Boss) to discuss progress on the Story "The Stone People". In this meeting for the first time the new mission and objectives of the Stone People Project where revealed. One of those objectives was to "Instigate the development of a major public arts project to recreate the missing Eleanor Crosses". During the discussion the "Boss" said "well why don't you recreate the first cross for Lincoln City".
So begins the journey to recreate a new Eleanor Cross for Lincoln City.