A Chisel, A Hammer And A Robin
A Tip-tapping Heard in the Cemetery!
is often his companion wherever he is working. This is Paul Sandilands; he is one of only a handful of skilled
Stonemasons left in the country today.
A Form Tutor’s Influence
Joe Rotherham Senior, a craftsman Stonemason liked what he saw in the young lad who worked hard cleaning and re-fixing the kerbs and headstones that formed the bread and butter of the Company’s business. The workshop would prepare the stones at the beginning of the week and Paul would accompany and assist the fitters at the end of the week, working in the cemeteries and graveyards around the Pocklington area.
Learning From Master Stonemasons
Fred had to Joe Rotherham and how fast he was at letter carving. Fred had a quite unique style, often working
in lower case lettering as well as the more traditional upper case favoured by other Stonemasons.
A Robin Comes To Play
Paul was honoured with the task of creating Fred’s gravestone when he died, we could see it from where Paul was working today. A large black monolith, on which is inscribed a hammer, chisel and a Robin.
The Robin is significant as Fred always said that there was a Robin who sat watching him work in his York workshop – just as there was today, watching Paul.
The headstone Paul was working on today was deemed too delicate to risk moving and so he had been commissioned to undertake the delicate carving with the stone still “in-situ”. As we approached, I could see that Paul had already marked out in pencil on top of a clay wash the inscription he was about to carve. It was fascinating to watch him work and for a few fleeting minutes, I could imagine how Paul must have felt watching Joe Rotherham all those years ago. The pencil lines crisscrossed the top of the headstone, creating a crossword type of layout and each individual letter had been carefully drawn in the individual squares.
A Moving Memorial – Honouring The Australians