Specialists were called in to Orkney’s historic cathedral on the eve of one of the island’s biggest festivals.
Despite masonry falling inside St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, organisers insisted yesterday “the show will go on”.
The sandstone work fell from the stonework of the East Window in Rognvald’s Chapel on Thursday morning sparking safety fears for the 12th century building.
It is understood that a surveyor was brought in as a precaution and assessed that it posed no danger to the public.
But the incident came as the St Magnus International Festival – one of Orkney’s biggest – was about to open in the cathedral.
A spokeswoman for the organisers said: “Everything is in hand and there is a rehearsal going on inside the cathedral as we speak.
“We have no concerns and nobody has spoken to us warning us about anything. The show will go on – there was never a problem as far as we knew everything is alright.
“We have a week of wonderful performances to look forward to and we love being in St Magnus Cathedral which is a very, very special place.”
The festival hosts a broad swathe of classical music, theatre, dance, authors, bands and visual artists much of it in the cathedral.
A spokeswoman for Orkney Islands Council also moved to calm fears about the incident on Thursday morning with the masonry.
She said: “Pieces of masonry were found in a part of the cathedral known as St Rognvald’s Chapel on Thursday morning – we believe that these have come from the tracery of the East Window. There was no further damage to the fabric of the building other than a small chip to a lectern.
“As a matter of priority we carried out a close inspection of the affected area – there is no further loose material, we don’t believe at this point in time that there is any danger and therefore won’t be cordoning it off.”
Despite there being no immediate danger the cause is being investigated with the council suspecting “recent changes in temperature” may be to blame.
The spokeswoman said: “St Magnus Cathedral is a very old sandstone building and we carry out regular inspections on some of the more high risk areas with a full inspection of the entire building every five years, where every aspect of the stonework is looked at. Unfortunately with a building of that age changes can happen very suddenly and these incidents do happen from time to time.”