Stone carving demonstration in the churchyard

Royse Murphy, Stone-carver, set up his bench in the churchyard on 10 June and showed us how he works on slate.

Royse is a familiar face at Iffley, really an honorary member of the Living Stones education and heritage team. He was here on 10 June with his tools, his bench and the truly beautiful slate tiles he is working on. He is carving a series of fourteen Stations of the Cross and mounting the polished and gilded slate on blocks of beechwood with bronze resin inlay Haikus.  While he was showing us and our visitors how he uses his hammer and chisel he quietly talked about how the traditional meditational forms relate to current concerns. His own Christian convictions proved a stimulating basis for discussion with visitors of all ages and persuasions.

Looking ahead, Living Stones is planning an in-depth study of stone used in the building and sculpture of St Mary’s Church. This will have three areas of focus:

  1. Stone carving course

4-day taster stone carving course with Alex Wenham, Royce Murphy and other stone-carving colleagues. Participant numbers will be small and the course fee will be in the region of £400. Two bursaries will be available for young people seeking pre-apprenticeship experience

  1. A study of the geology and building stones used in St Mary’s Church

One or more study sessions with Dr Heather Viles (Oxford Rock Breakdown Laboratory) and/or Philip Powell on the geology and building stones used at Iffley with possible walks to certain locations in and around Oxford.

  1. The work of sculptor Nicholas Mynheer

Nicholas Mynheer, whose beautiful aumbry is one of the newest treasures in St Mary’s Iffley, has offered to talk about his work.