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The Stones of Muncaster Cathedral

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  89 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Soon after steeplejack Joe Clarke begins work on one of the spires of Muncaster's medieval cathedral, terrible things start to happen and Joe realizes that there is a malevolent force connected to the spire's gargoyle.
Paperback, 97 pages
Published April 1st 1994 by Sunburst (first published 1991)
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4.5 stars!

Originally published back in 1991, the title novella is one creepy story about a steeplejack working on the towers and steeple of Muncaster Cathedral. This edition also contains the story "Brangwyn Gardens", which is entirely new to American audiences.

Joe Clarke wondered why he had the fortune to get this good paying job, (the repairs to the cathedral). How could everyone else not be available? But as so many of us do, he set aside his questions and set to work. Get 'er done, right? A
Jonathan Janz
Jun 17, 2016 Jonathan Janz rated it it was amazing
This is why we need publishers like Valancourt Books. Without them, I never would have heard of Robert Westall, never would have read THE STONES OF MUNCASTER CATHEDRAL.

Man, am I glad I did.

I don't really do synopses in my reviews and don't have time to now. Books to write, you see.

But I will say this: If you read the title novella, you will know what it's like to be a steeplejack, to hang suspended many stories above the ground. To feel the wind buffet your body and know you're only a slight
Nancy Oakes
catching up:

I actually read this back in December during a stormy day, wrapped up in a blanket with a cup of hot, spicy chai in hand -- it was, as I mentioned somewhere, a perfectly ahhhh sort of Saturday experience. There are two eerie tales in one volume here: the title story, "The Stones of Muncaster Cathedral," and a story that has never before seen the light of day in the US, "Brangwyn Gardens." My personal favorite is the latter, but both are quite good, and I have absolutely no qualms in
Trev Twinem
Feb 08, 2016 Trev Twinem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two chilling stories of the supernatural that can be read by either teens or adults, they are both well researched, informative, fascinating and evocative.

The main titled story “The Stones of Muncaster Cathedral” is about Joe Clarke Steeplejack extraordinaire who together with his work mate Billy Simpson is prepared to scale any building to carry out all necessary repairs and maintenance. The trouble however begins when they are given a job of cleaning the South West tower at Muncaster Cathedra
Orrin Grey
Apr 22, 2010 Orrin Grey rated it really liked it
I love Robert Westall.

I don't see him talked about very much. His stories are none of them especially groundbreaking, but they embody a kind of cozy horror that I absolutely love, and their approach to the supernatural is nearly pitch perfect for my tastes. One of these days I'll write up a longer post on Westall, but for now I'll let it suffice that The Stones of Muncaster Cathedral is a damned good example of why I love him so much.

It's a quick, brief novella, written in the blue-collar voice
Dec 28, 2015 Kimberly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I remain increasingly impressed with the quality of books that Valancourt has been reissuing--many of these I'd never heard of before, but have swiftly become some of my favorite reads of this year and last!

THE STONES OF MUNCASTER CATHEDRAL, contains two stories in the style of M.R. James' supernatural tales. The title story involves a steeplejack, Joe Clarke, who is hired to fix the South-West tower at Muncaster. Although he hints at being a little trepidatious at first (the prestigious job
Jul 02, 2016 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joe Clarke and his crew were hired to repair some stonework, in the South-West tower of Muncaster Cathedral. Usually, these type of jobs go to the bigger companies. It was very strange, that no was available to do this project. It turns out that was a very good reason that the other steeplejacks turned down this job. Joe will soon learn of the evil that lurks in the tower and the victims that it has claimed over the year.

The second story, Brangwyn Gardens, take place in 1955 Harry Shaftoe, is a
Linda Lipko
Oct 13, 2015 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
A great read for the Halloween season.

Westall is amazing because no matter what the subject, ie his stories regarding WWII or, switching gears to a supernatural genre, he gently coaxes, entices and persuades the reader to join him on a journey to a landscape where his descriptions hold your interest to the very end.

Similar to some short stories found in his book In Camera and Other Stories, this small novella, read in one sitting, is darkly spooky. Westall quietly weaves a tale of a series of u
Sep 13, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, 2012
I really enjoyed the voice of the author. I felt like he was actually narrating the story to me, rather than just writing down words to be read. Does that make sense?

And I love the idea of using pure evil to enhance the appearance of pure goodness. You'll have to read it to know what I'm talking about :) I'll never look at gargoyles the same way again.

Gargoyles! Malevolent Gargoyles! ooooo wonderful. Ah but a couple of weeks ago I had read the Gargoyles of Notre Dame.
A.E. Shaw
Apr 21, 2013 A.E. Shaw rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013

I can't tell you how many times I've read this. I'll always remember the first time I read it, I was nine years old and it scared me to pieces, it really did, but I loved it. I don't generally like being scared, but Robert Westall is such a fine writer, it's a nasty pleasure with this tale. It's a short story, barely a novella, but it gets in family, history, architecture and drama in the most deft way possible. It's the kind of thing I come back to repeatedly because it's so neat and masterfull
Jun 29, 2016 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, anthology, gothic, 2016
After plodding through some of the last few Star Wars books and then tearing through the last few non-Star Wars books (five in less than two weeks), I decided I needed to start mixing things up with my Star Wars reading project. I'd forgotten what it felt like to be helpless to a story, but Cronin and King reminded me that it's pretty dang awesome. So I'm going to start flip-flopping between projects, reading one Star Wars book and then reading a random book from my backlog. At the very least, i ...more
From BBC Radio 4 Extra- 4 Extra Debut: In the cathedral spire, a malevolent gargoyle wields its evil power over the fate of steeplejack Joe Clarke. Stars Peter Meakin.
Non è un romanzo, sono due racconti. Il primo non particolarmente interessante, tanto è vero che praticamente non me lo ricordo XD, mentre invece il secondo mi aveva decisamente scioccato.
Jan 22, 2016 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome spooky stories. Reminded me of the unsettling stories you might tell at a slumber party; though these of course were more adult and complex. Really enjoyed these two stories.
Jun 12, 2012 Carolyn rated it liked it
I like reading Westall, he keeps the imagination moving.
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Valancourt Books: The Stones of Muncaster Cathedral (1991) by Robert Westall 15 14 Dec 20, 2015 04:50AM  
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Robert Westall was born in North Shields, Northumberland, England in 1929.

His first published book The Machine Gunners (1975) which won him the Carnegie Medal is set in World War Two when a group of children living on Tyneside retrieve a machine-gun from a crashed German aircraft. He won the Carnegie Medal again in 1981 for The Scarecrows, the first writer to win it twice. He won the Smarties Priz
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