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Repair of the Cockerel Weather Vane on St Mary's Church, Pilton, in 1990

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This short article tells the story of the golden cockerel on the top of St Mary's Church, Pilton, and its repair after it fell from the tower in January 1990. It is reported as having been installed on the NE turret of the tower in 1845 and then taken down for examination in 1912.

There are no further reports of the cockerel until the top piece of masonry on which it was fixed was dislodged by the severe gales of January 1990 and fell to the ground. The three hundredweight (about 150kg) piece created a big crater and in the process the copper cockerel was badly damaged.

The repair of the cockerel was undertaken by artist/craftsman and agricultural engineer Neil Hawkins who provided us with the photographs in the article. After repairing and reshaping the copper cockerel, it was taken to Exeter to be coated in gold leaf. The piece of masonry on which the weather vane sits was lifted into position by a helicopter from RMB Chivenor on 22nd October 1990 and the cockerel was refixed, so reinstating it as one of the iconic images of Pilton.

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