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The Angel of Rydal Hall

Rydal Hall is an historic house set in the heart of the Lake District with thirty bedrooms, most of which are en suite. The estate includes the recently restored Thomas Mawson garden which is open every day, over 30 acres of woodland with a beck and waterfalls, a good footpath to Ambleside and Grasmere and walks out on the fells.

A resident international ecumenical Christian community cares for guests, and offers contemplative healing prayer. Rydal Hall is the centre for the Diocese of Carlisle's gatherings and retreats.

A perfect place for an angel, you would think, especially Raphael, the angel of healing and good meetings. Shawn Williamson is sculpting the angel in the garden.

We've written about Williamson's work with boys - probationers, young offenders, the long-term unemployed, school pupils with learning issues and low and high achievers. He has taught them the practical and spiritual work of carving in stone.

The discipline and craft of their study went beyond the creation of a sale object or finding a career. Stone carving challenged, grounded, and healed young people because in a world of material wealth but few values, stone carving gave them values, tradition and purpose.

Williamson, who was recently invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and who is well known for his sculptures of animals, hopes to work with young people soon again. In the meantime he is working to complete the angel, to be dedicated to the sculptor Josefina de Vasconcellos, who was his mentor.

cr_williamson_angel_rydal.jpg

The angel should be finished in time for the feast of All Angels - Raphael, Gabriel and Michael - on September 29. Those who visit Rydal Hall may encounter a healing vision.

Comments (4)

PETER GREENHILL:

I HAD THE PLEASURE OF WORKING WITH SHAWN WILLIAMSON ALTHOUGH NOT AS A CRAFTSMAN OR A YOUNGSTER!! WITH SHAWN`S DRIVE AND ENTHUSIASM WE WERE ABLE TO GET A SITE FOR AN ADVENTUROUS STATUE OF A HERDWICK RAM TO BE LOCATED AT THE ENTRANCE TO COCKERMOUTH LIVESTOCK MART OF WHICH I AM CHAIRMAN.

SHAWN ORGANISED THE YOUNGSTERS AND A NUMBER OF THEM SAW THE PROJECT THROUGH TO THE END AND MET HRH THE PRINCE OF WALES WHEN HE CAME TO UNVEIL THE STATUE

IT WAS AND REMAINS A POWERFUL SYMBOL FOR FARMING IN CUMBRIA AND ACTS AS A BEACON NOT ONLY FOR OUR MART SITE BUT FOR THE ROAD TO COCKERMOUTH.

WE ARE VERY PROUD OF IT AND OUR ASSOCIATION WITH SHAWN WILLIAMSON

Marcia A. Stephens:

I live in Duluth, Minnesota U.S.A and met Shawn in the year 2000 while visiting England and Scotland with a large group of Sinclair Clan Members.

Shawn has always has a special place in my heart because of his deep caring for others. His dedication to his convictions shows throughout his many different sculptures.

I am especially thrilled to the see "the angel" at Rydal Hall and wish I could be there for the unveiling. Shawn, always keep to ones true self, that is where the light will shine.

Marcia Stephens

Block Stone Ltd is a quarrying company and firstly came to know Shawn as a supplier. Together we have worked on many exciting projects including the International Stonetec 07 exhibition in Nuremberg, where to the delights of onlookers Shawn worked live on an Angel Relief on our stand.

Needless to say that the show was a complete success for our company, this was largely due to Shawn’s tireless efforts to attract visitors on our stand. The Angel relief made from our Anacster Weatherbed limestone is an uncanny match to the Saxon angel unearthed at Litchfield Cathedral and dating back some 1000 years. It is hoped that in the near future Shawn’s angel will be displayed in the Cathedral's visitor centre.

There are many things we could say about Shawn who in our estimation truly ranks high in Brits at their Best. He is passionate and dedicated about his work and involving young people in the art of stone craft. Shawn is a multitalented and charismatic man, who apart from having vast knowledge of stone also writes great books; “Mauler” and “Red Squirrel” being very good examples. To a great friend and his wife: Well done Shawn and Morgan!

Geri Westby:

I visited Rydall Hall for the first time on Sat 20th Sept 2008 with a group of friends. I was fortunate enough to meet Santa & Shawn Williams and view the angel. What a wonderful experience and fascinating conversation with Santa and Shawn. I have since looked up Josafina and was so pleased that her work is included in Liverpool Cathedral, which I fully intend to go and see. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Santa & Shawn for sharing the time to talk to us.

Geri Westby

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