York Minster Stone
Yorkshire’s Most Talented Craftspeople
As a small business we take pride in working with some of Yorkshire’s most talented craftspeople. From Emily Stubbs, the artist & ceramicist whose work adorns the gin bottles and Quentin Jaume, the cabinet maker whose hand-made bespoke oak table takes centre place in the tasting room, to master cooper Alastair Simms who coopers and fires the casks in which we mature single malt whisky. These talented folks have spent many years and decades honing their skills, and it’s an honour to support them in this digital era where traditional crafts are too often neglected.
So, when discussing ideas for an entrance sign to the distillery we turned to Harriet Pace - a York Minster stonemason and good friend of Cooper King - to craft us a traffic-stopping entrance stone.
Harriet soon scouted out suitable stones at the annual York Minster stoneyard auction and we became the proud owner of two 18th century stones which originate from the South Quire Aisle of York’s 800 year old Minster.
Using traditional tools of a mallet and chisel inherited from her father, Harriet set about carefully carving the Cooper King name into the smaller of the two stones.
Going behind the scenes at the stoneyard, Harriet showed us other projects she was working on. She was in the process of carving her first grotesque and had bestowed it with the face of her father, a sculptor who passed away when she was young.
Being amongst the stones, tools and intricately detailed sketches of the York Minster, we began to grasp the enormity of the task Harriet and her fellow stonemasons face: conserving and restoring one of the world’s most magnificent cathedrals using ancient techniques, one stone at a time.
Once carved and painted, there was the small task of transferring the stones from the workshop to the distillery. With a few extra pairs of hands the stones were secured into position at their new home at the Cooper King gates, complete with Harriet’s unique banker mark.
The Cooper King name has rich historical ties to York, with ancestor Thomas Pigot identified in the family volumes as being abbot of St Mary’s Abbey in 1398 – the ruins of which are now nestled within York’s Museum Gardens. The new entrance stones cement and celebrate these historical ties between the family and distillery to the city of York.
A visit to York Minster is well worth the ticket price, and if you walk around the corner to the stoneyard you may even catch the stonemasons in action. If you see a blonde lass with a strong Yorkshire accent, tell her we say hello…