Stephen L’Normand, BA, MA, Th.D.
Cordon Bleu (Society of Free Stone Masons).
Guild Master – The Stonemasons’ Guild of St. Stephen and St. George.
Assistant Clerk – The European Guild of Master Masons.
Stephen L’Normand is a Guild Master, Master stonemason and a leading authority and practitioner of sculpture and architectural stone carving within English Palladianism, Baroque and Neoclassicism.
Through his Guild initiatives, he works to preserve and cultivate craft skill and the craft culture internationally. He is an advocate for better, fuller, lifelong training and support for craftspeople.
Within the past 30 years, Stephen’s positions and awards have included:
1998 -1999 Head of Masonry and Conservation at Stoneleigh Abbey.
1999 Received Cordon Bleu from Les Sociétés des Franch Pierre Maçons.
2000 Master Mason at British Museum.
2001 Master Mason at The Palace of Westminster.
2002 Master Mason at Windsor Castle.
2003 Master Mason at The Doge’s Palace, Venice.
His present positions include:
Stephen was born in The Royal Free Hospital, Islington and lived in The Angel until moving to St. Luke’s in 1968 within 1 Mile of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the dome of which could then be seen from his bedroom window.
His early education was at a Guild School, Moreland Street, in Finsbury where he was often shown cine films of aproned craftsmen at work and met craftspeople such as Mr. Gardner, the Master at St. Paul’s and Harold Pound, tool maker to Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Jacob Epstein. Many of Stephen’s friends had parents, grandparents or other relatives who worked locally in one craft or another. He later attended The Sir Philip Magnus comprehensive school. Sir Philip Magnus was one of the early heads of The City and Guilds Institute.
As a child Stephen was surrounded by craftsmen and tradesmen; Wood turners and furniture leg makers in Haggerston, clock and watch makers in Clerkenwell, glass engravers in Shoreditch, wood carvers in Islington, stonemasons in Moorgate and St. Paul’s, stained glass makers also in Shoreditch, bell founders in Aldgate, blacksmiths/farriers in Whitecross Street and many tailors and typesetters, many of whom were happy for children to watch them work.
In addition to being surrounded by these skilled people, his Grandfather worked for the Ministry of Works (later the Department of the Environment) at The Tower of London. All this lead to his growing interest in crafts, architecture and history.
In the last 4 decades Stephen has worked on all aspects of stonemasonry and at all levels. He worked under, and learnt from, some very experienced Masters and, in turn, instructed many trainees. He has been Apprentice Master to 11 apprentices, now qualified, and currently has 12 craft apprentices.
Stephen entered his apprenticeship in the early 1980’s with the City of London Company, Ashby and Horner who could trace their origins back to Aldgate in the 1690’s; he attended Vauxhall College as part of his training.
While with Ashby and Horner, Stephen was involved in the working of the new Seven Dials Monument, Covent Garden. Upon finishing his apprenticeship and becoming a journeyman, he first travelled and worked across Europe and down into Africa before returning and working on the restoration of Somerset House designed by William Chambers, St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden and The Queen’s House, Greenwich designed by Inigo Jones, St. Martin’s in the Field designed by James Gibbs and The Egyptian Avenue, Highgate Cemetery.
As he gained experience Stephen had the opportunity to work on the Sultan of Brunei’s Palace in Knightsbridge, Grand Buildings, Trafalgar Square, The Savoy Hotel, The Strand, The Canadian Pacific Building, Cockspur Street and The Aga Khan’s Palace at Newmarket overlooking The Gallops.
In the early 1990’s Stephen had advanced to Foreman for J.Bysouth at Woburn Abbey and was in charge of the dismantling and rebuilding of Chambers Bridge and while working on the South Stable Block he was involved in the ‘Consolidation of Clunch’ trials carried out by John Ashurst and published in Practical Building Conservation: English Heritage Technical Handbook Volume 1 -Stonemasonry.
As Master Mason, Stephen ran projects in and around Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire including: Heythrop House, Wheatley Park, The YMCA, Cheltenham and a variety of Regency houses in Cheltenham. While working at Stoneleigh Abbey in 1999, he supervised the masonry and conservation packages of both phase I and phase II to their successful completion. The work consisted of the conservation and restoration of the 14th century gatehouse, garden balustrade, Charlesworthy Bridge and Victorian conservatory. Different degrees of intervention were used for each of the works packages, recognising the individual historic properties of each structure.
Whilst working for a number of specialist conservation companies as a freelance Master Mason and Contracts Manager from the early 2000’s, he ran projects such as the Conservation of the Piers Cloakroom and Westminster Hall at The Palace of Westminster, Windsor Castle, Lancing College Chapel, The Doge’s Palace, Venice, Somerset House and worked on the Great Court project at The British Museum.
Bertholey House was built by George Maddox, a pupil of John Soane. In the early 1900’s it was razed to the ground over a family dispute and stood completely ruined and with no front elevation until 2000. Stephen was asked to form and lead a small team of craftspeople and, with only two drawings and a few very early photographs, rebuild it to its former glory. To comply with the client’s wishes, all replacement stone was worked on-site including an entire front elevation cornice, portico columns and Ionic capitals.
Since 2006 Stephen has worked with The Guild of Masters running a department overseeing craft training in thirteen countries. He is also the Guild Master of The Stonemasons’ Guild of St. Stephen and St. George as well as working commercially at the highest levels internationally.
Years of working so closely with high quality design and craftsmanship especially from the 17th 18th and early 19th Centuries lead to Stephen gaining a deep understanding of the design of these periods and he is now one of very few craftspeople worldwide who still works with the techniques and visual proportions contemporary to these times, many of which, closely link with the explosion of baroque music through harmonic proportion.
Over a long career, Stephen has worked on many projects, below are those he considers notable.
C7th BC – Ancient ruins, Kavala, Greece;
C4th BC – C1st AD – Largo di Torre Argentina, Rome;
96-8 BC – Roman Paving of Colonia Nervia Glevensium, Friends Meeting House, Gloucester;
C2nd AD – Kom El Shoqafa, Alexandria, Egypt;
700 – Evesham Abbey, Warwickshire;
1031 – Crac des Chevaliers, Hosn al-Akrad, Syria;
1060 – Marqab castle, Tartous, Syria;
1097 – Westminster Hall, London SW1;
1100′s – Windsor Castle, Berkshire;
1123 – St. Bartholomew the Great, London;
1160 – St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna;
1250 – Castello del Buonconsiglio, Trento, Italy;
1340 – Palazzo Ducale,Venice;
1340 – St. John the Baptist Church, Kingscote, Gloucestershire;
1346 -Stoneleigh Abbey Gate House, Warwickshire;
1360 -St. Mary the Virgin Hawkesbury Upton, Gloucestershire
1377- St. Clement’s church, Hastings, Sussex;
1400′s – Raglan Castle, Monmouthshire;
1440′s – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire;
1460 – Ports Magna, Arsenale di Venezia, Venice;
1485 – Scala dei Giganti, Palazzo Ducale, Venice.
1578 – Pont Neuf, Paris.
1610′s – Audley End House, Essex;
1616 – Dulwich Burial Ground, London;
1617 – The Queen’s House, Greenwich – Inigo Jones;
1626 – York Watergate, London, WC2, Sir Balthasar Gerbier;
1633 – St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, London, WC3 – Inigo Jones;
1670 – St. Edmund, King and Martyr, City of London – Christopher Wren;
1671 – Les Invalides Complex, Paris;
1677 – St. Peter upon Cornhill, City of London – Christopher Wren;
1690 – Heythrop Foley, Oxfordshire;
1700′s – Stoneleigh balustrade, Warwickshire;
1706 – Heythrop Park, Oxfordshire – Thomas Archer;
1712 – Royal Naval Hospital, Greenwich – Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor;
1716 – St. Mary Woolnoth – Nicholas Hawksmoor;
1726 – St. Martin’s in The fields, St. Martin’s Lane, London WC2 – James Gibbs;
1730′s – Painswick House, Gloucestershire;
1730′s – Southam Manor, Gloucestershire;
1733 – St. Luke’s Church, London, EC1 – John James and Nicholas Hawksmoor;
1744 – Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire – Henry Flitcroft and Henry Holland;
1750 – Woburn Abbey South Stable Block, Bedfordshire – Henry Flitcroft;
1750′s – South Audley Street, london, W1;
1770 – Stoneleigh Abbey Conservatory, Warwickshire;
1790′s – Prestbury Table Top Tombs, Gloucestershire;
1804 – Russell Square, London, WC2;
1810 – Dulwich Picture Gallery – Sir John Soane;
1813 – Tobacco Dock, London, E1;
1814 – Charlesworthy Bridge – John Rennie;
1815 – Wheatley Park School, Oxfordshire;
1819 – Somerset House – William Chambers;
1820′s – Chamber’s Bridge, Woburn Abbey – William Chambers;
1824 – YMCA, Cheltenham;
1830 – St. Philip’s and St. James’ parish Church, Cheltenham;
1836 – Pittville Lawn, Cheltenham;
1839 – Highgate Cemetery chapel and Egyptian Avenue, London, N6;
1840 – Bertholey House, Llantrisant, South Wales – George Maddox pupil of Soane;
1840 – Nelson Museum, Monmouth, South Wales;
1840′s – Dover lighthouse, Kent;
1844 – Usk Prison, South Wales;
1847- Palace of Westminster, Piers cloakroom – Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin;
1848 – Palm House, Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew – Decimus Burton;
1850 – Suffolk Square, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire;
1855 – Public Records Office, Sir James Pennethorne;
1862 – Cornhall, Cirencester, Gloucestershire;
1865 – Old Lloyds Building, Billiter Street, London;
1879 – Bristol Grammar School, Bristol;
1886 – Cadogan Square, London – Harold Ainsworth Peto and Sir Ernest George;
1887 – All Saints’ Church, Gloucester – George Gilbert Scott;
1889 – Savoy Hotel, London;
1894 – St. Francis of Assisi, Wormwood Scrubs, Anglican Chapel, London W12;
1895 – King Edward’s Buildings, St. Martin Le Grand, London, EC2 – Sir Henry Tanner;
1900 – Empire Hotel, Bath;
1905 – Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona;
1909 – Victoria and Albert museum – Aston Webb;
1909 – Selfridge’s store, Oxford Street, London, W1;
1910 – Durban City Hall, South Africa;
1911 – Whiteley’s store – John Belcher and John James Joass;
1911 – Lancing College chapel – R H Carpenter and William Slater;
1920′s – Prestbury Campanile, Gloucestershire;
1920′s – Lewisham War Grave;
1920′s – Kensal Green War Grave;
1920′s – Coleford War Memorial, Gloucestershire;
1925 – Adelaide House, London Bridge, EC4;
1936 – Church House, Westminster, SW1 – Sir Herbert Baker and A T Scott ;
1948 – Polish War Memorial, Northolt;
1953 – Runnymede Memorial;
1960 – Carlton Towers Hotel, Sloane Street, London;
1987 – Garden House, Henley upon Thames;
1987 – Rutland Gate, Kensington;
1987 – Royal Court, Sloane Street;
1988 – Richmond House, Whitehall, London, SW1;
1988 – Carnaby Street, Roof Garden;
1989 – Seven Dials monument, London, WC2;
1989 – Grand Buildings, Trafalgar Square;
1991 – Elle, Wigmore Street;
1992 – The Aga Khan’s Palace, Newmarket;
1996 – Garden House, Henley Upon Thames;
2000 – The Great Court, British Museum.
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