Heart of Albion
Project Gargoyle and LARC Project
Project Gargoyle is a voluntary scheme set up in 2009 to photograph all the figural 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.
If you're not sure what a figural carving might be you should get the drift from the instructions to the photographers: 'If it's got eyes, shoot it.'
About 300 churches in Leicestershire have figural 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.
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. More details on the LARC Project's web site: larcproject.uk. Note that in 2021 an entirely different LAARC Project was started.
Three videos provide more information about Project Gargoyle and discuss a selection of the carvings of Leicestershire and Rutland:
Four free-to-download PDFs relate to the aims of Project Gargoyle:
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 was set up by an advisory committee which included 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.
Currently Project Gargoyle is run by Bob Trubshaw. He co-ordinates the allocation of churches to photographers, prepares the photographs for submission to the Historic Environment Record, and also gives talks about Leicestershire's medieval carvings.
Bob Trubshaw's contact details (updated June 2022):-
Project Gargoyle has three main phases:
The pilot phase took place during 2009.
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.
Documents relating to Phase Two of Project Gargoyle
Project Gargoyle record sheet master (Excel spreadsheet)
Project Gargoyle 'dummy' record sheet (Excel spreadsheet)
Gargoyle Hunting Guide (PDF)
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