The Ashmolean are set to host a fantastic programme of free events this weekend exploring all things Anglo-Saxon and Viking as part of the National Festival of Archaeology. This weekend (Saturday 21st - Sunday 22nd July) will be your opportunity to come and talk to The Master Stonemason of The Guild of St. Stephen and St. George and meet several of his apprentices who will be performing carving demonstrations on the museum forecourt. Alongside the project pieces that apprentices have designed especially for the event, they will carve a stone ‘henefatafl’ board for a 10th Century gaming workshop, another exciting event taking place in the museum for the festival.
Members of the public are also cordially invited to witness an historic event as the stonemasons’ Guild make their first ceremonial Guild procession in Oxford since 1736! Their processions will set off at 10:15am, on both Saturday and Sunday, from the magnificently carved portico of the Museum of the History of Science (the Ashmoleans original home) and passing: The Bodleian Library, The Sheldonian Theatre, Trinity College, Balliol College and St Mary Magdalen and The Martyr’s Memorial before returning to The Ashmolean to start the event.
Our Guild also held the last known craft guild meeting in Oxford in 1736, when its then Master was chosen by the whole fraternity out of a group of four assistants on St. James' day - 25 July. You will note, we are processing on the nearest weekend to this traditional festival. Our Guild has recorded connections with the city dating back as early as 1525 and it is hoped that, with the support of The Ashmolean Museum, this weekend will mark the re-kindling of this craft connection.
For those interested in learning more about the little-known history of the stonemasons’ guilds and their part in world events during the Anglo-Saxon period, The Guild Master, Dr. Stephen L’Normand, will give free lunchtime talks on both days in the museum alongside other speakers such as Dr. Ryan Lavelle and Dr. Janina Ramirez. We look forward to talking to you.
If you’re interested in our stonemasons’ Guild and the work we are doing Nationally and abroad to support our craft, you can find out more at www.guildsg.org
The Guild of St. Stephen and St. George