Two pieces of stone salvaged from the restored Great South Window of Canterbury Cathedral have fetched almost £15,000 at auction.
They were among 144 lots of stone retrieved during the huge project to save the magnificent window from collapse which have raised a total of £210,000.
It involved removing precious medieval stained glass and replacing much of the failing stone supporting it.
More than 200 people crammed into the sale conducted by Tony Pratt of Canterbury Auction Galleries at the cathedral stonemasons’ yard in Broad Oak on Saturday.
There were telephone bidders too from all over the UK and even the USA and India.
The most prized lots wer e2m-high Caen stone pieces, called principal springers dating from 1428, which drew gasps and applause when they sold for £7,400 each. They and several other important pieces were sold to a London-based dealer in antiquities.
But even smaller, less important stone pieces, suggested as book ends, were eagerly bid for and the consistently made more than £500. Each piece sold also had a signed letter of provenance from the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, the Very Rev Robert Willis.
All the lots sold and the result far exceeded expectations, raising £210,000 for the cathedral, with the auction house adding value by waiving its fees. The money will go towards the ongoing restoration of the Cathedral.
The sale was organised by the Canterbury Cathedral Trust and those attended were also able to see stonemasons at work.
Trust chief executive Andrew Edwards said: “This was a truly unique event, attracting interest from around the world and providing that special opportunity to take home a piece of Canterbury. A big thank you to all our bidders, our auctioneers The Canterbury Auction Galleries and all local businesses who made the day one to remember.”
Canterbury Auction Galleries managing director Tony Pratt said: "I felt privileged to have been asked to conduct this unique and historic sale and I was thrilled with the outcome, raising a total more than double the expectation.
"It was a memorable and highly pleasurable experience, marking my 30 year association with the Dean and Chapter and a highlight of my 40 year career as an auctioneer and valuer."
Work to first construct the Great South showpiece window began in 1428 and some of the stones auctioned dated back to that period in the Cathedral’s life.
Others told of the window’s history as they featured the repairs and conservation carried out by previous generations of craftsmen.
During the lengthy £2.5 million restoration now nearing completion, new limestone was carved by the stonemasons to exactly match the previous stones.