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The Story of the Statue of St Cyr

St Cyr Statue carved by Rory Young
St Cyr Statue carved by Rory Young

‘What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others’

Next time you go past the church have a quick look at the Statue of St Cyr on the plinth above the entrance. For many years the space stood empty. Bereft. Like the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Then, for the Millennium, awards were made to all Parish Councils. Stinchcombe P.C. planted an oak, had a party and still had some money left.

At the same time the PCC were trying to raise money for a statue to fill the empty plinth and all villagers had been invited to contribute. So, the remaining Millennium money was used to top up the Statue Fund.

So, a young artist and sculptor called Rory Young was recommended and commissioned.

The next bit in the story is vague as it changes depending on who you speak to. But, I’m told that when it came to putting St Cyr onto his plinth, the then church ladder was found to be too short and so the fire brigade was called and used it as a “training exercise”. Although I am assured that scaffolding did come into it somewhere.

Do YOU have any pictures of this event? If so, please can you send them to me and what you know of the event.

Rory Young

The reason for the quote from Pericles is that Rory Young (the sculptor) died this year aged 68 and this quote will be on his gravestone.

The son of a farmer he showed an interest in art and in 1973 he took up a place to study fine art at the Camberwell College of Arts in South London. When he graduated in 1976 he embarked, in a campervan, on a painting tour of the North of England. He lived on £13 a week, parked in laybys and became a vegetarian by necessity.

The experience had a lasting effect on him and inspired him to devote his life to the history and practice of traditional building techniques. He now began a career in which he was, by turns, a sculptor, a memorial letter cutter, a builder and a building repairer.

He started by managing to find work reconstructing a 17th century gazebo and set about teaching himself masonry, mortared walling, paving and plastering. He became an expert in and effective champion of lime, which he called the : “Lifeblood of all traditional buildings and has the advantage over cement of being protective, nourishing, even the stone it coats and also permeable, allowing building to breathe”.

By the end of the 20th century the carvings around the arch of the main west door of York Minster had deteriorated badly and in 1998 Rory was commissioned to replace them with new designs and the decision was made to replace them with carvings of stories from the Book of Genesis.

He lived in Cirencester and carved St Cyr for Stinchcombe for £2,500

For more information on Rory’s fascinating life I recommend “Time for Britain to honour and pay tribute to its Master Stone Carver, Rory Young” and “The incredible life and works of sculptor Rory Young

And Who was St Cyr?

We believe that St. Cyr and St. Cyriac are one and the same saint. We know that Julietta was St. Cyr’s mother, and over the years it would appear Cyriac has been shortened to Cyr.

Cyr (or Cyriac) was the three year old son of a Christian woman, Julietta, who was crucified in about the year 303 AD during the persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian.

She refused to answer questions or deny her faith at her trial before the Governor of Silicia. The child appeared with his mother on this occasion and is said to have affirmed his belief in the Christian faith, at the same time boxing the ears of the Governor who had taken him on his knee.

The enraged official threw the child Cyr (Cyriac) to the ground with such force that he struck his head and was killed instantly.
The dedication to St. Cyr (Cyriacus, Quiricus) which means ‘the Lord’s’ or ‘Sunday Child’ is a rare one in England.


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