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Project Gargoyle and LARC Project

This page has been superceded by the LARC project's web site: larcproject.uk

Project Gargoyle is a voluntary scheme set up in 2009 to photograph all the figurative carvings in Leicestershire and Rutland churches. The photographs and associated information form part of the Leicestershire County Council's Historic Buildings, Sites and Monuments Record.

The Leicestershire and Rutland Carvings Project – or LARC Project for short – was inaugurated in 2016 and aims to develop a database to enable those photographs to be accessible via the Web for further study.

About 300 churches in Leicestershire have figurative carvings – some with only a few and some with very many. At this stage we do not know how many figurative medieval carvings here are in the two counties, but a best guess is about 6,000. In addition the Project is also recording a representative selection of the nineteenth century Gothic Revival carvings. The comparatively small number of Anglo-Saxon and Romanesque (or 'Norman') carvings have also been recorded, but these sculptures are part of two major academic studies.

Three videos provide more information about Project Gargoyle and discuss a selection of the carvings of Leicestershire and Rutland:


Although we are accustomed to seeing Romanesque and later medieval carvings as bare stone, this is not how they would have been envisaged by their makers and patrons. Before the nineteenth century Gothic Revival such sculpture would have been painted, often in ways which now might seem rather garish. Medieval Carvings in Colour is a response to requests for information about how Romanesque and later medieval carvings would originally have been painted.

Medieval Carvings in Colour can be downloaded for free.

Project Gargoyle newsletters

Five newsletters can be downloaded as PDFs. These contain the latest information about Project Gargoyle and the LARC Project together with short articles providing background information for selected carvings.

Who is running Project Gargoyle?

Project Gargoyle has an advisory committee includes representatives from relevant departments of Leicestershire County Council, the diocesan archaeologist, representatives of Leicestershire Fieldworkers, a committee member of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society and an art history graduate.

The Project Co-ordinator is Bob Trubshaw.
8 Hedgefield Road, Barrowby, Grantham, NG32 1TA. Phone 01476 565174. email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk

Note that Liz Blood left Leicestershire County Council in October 2016 so is no longer the Project Co-ordinator.

Project Gargoyle has three main phases:

Phase One

The pilot phase took place during 2009.

Phase Two

The main survey phase where Heritage Wardens and volunteers survey and record all the churches in Leicestershire and Rutland. This started in February 2010 and is ongoing.

Leicestershire County Ccouncil's staff are also incorporating the images and information into the Historic Buildings, Sites and Monuments Record database.

A limited number of photographs taken for Project Gargoyle can be accessed via Heritage England's Heritage Gateway.




Barrow upon Soar

Breedon on the Hill





Frisby on the Wreake

Long Whatton

Newbold Verdon

Peatling Magna






Thorpe Langton


Tilton on the Hill

Documents relating to Phase Two of Project Gargoyle

Project Gargoyle village by village (PDF)

Project Gargoyle photography guide (PDF)

Project Gargoyle copyright assignment and consent form (PDF)

Project Gargoyle record sheet master (Excel spreadsheet)

Project Gargoyle 'dummy' record sheet (Excel spreadsheet)

Gargoyle Hunting Guide (PDF)


Phase Three LARC Project

LARC Project aims to make the photographs and associated details available via the Web. This in turn will enable the more detailed cataloguing of each carving, enabling stylistic comparsions and searching by 'motifs'. This will be carried out by volunteers working from home; the timing for this is currently open-ended.

Until July 2016 this was referred to as 'Phase Three' of Project Gargoyle. However it is now known as the 'LARC Project' – an abbreviation of 'Leicestershire and Rutland Carvings Project'.

The LARC Project has received sufficient funding to allow the development of a 'beta' database. This will be tested during 2018. However full development of this database awaits more funding. However if anyone wishes to make a donation then this will speed things up. The budget is for a further £15,000 to £25,000 – however smaller amounts are of course welcome!

More details of the LARC Project can be found in the project_pargoyle_newsletter_july_2016.pdf

The formal constitution of the LARC Project is online as larc_constitution_2016.pdf

Three PDFs relate to the aims of the LARC Project:

What can a gargoyle tell us? (2 Mbyte PDF)

Mawming and Mooning: Towards an understanding of medieval carvings and their carvers (14 Mbyte PDF)

Demon Carvers and Mooning Men: The East Midlands School of Church Carving by Lionel Wall (5 Mbyte PDF)


For more information about Project Gargoyle and the LARC Project please email Bob Trubshaw.



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