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Sculptor Tom Leaper recreates Cornish Chough well head

13 September 2016

Local sculptor Tom Leaper recently installed the finishing piece to the East Terrace well head that has undergone extensive restoration.

What might this final piece be? It is none other than a Cornish chough – standing proudly on the well head with its wings open set to rise.

The well head was originally installed as a 50th wedding anniversary gift to Francis and Gwendolyn St Levan in 1966, from the mainland tenants of St Aubyn Estates at that time.

The Cornish chough has been a part of recorded Cornish history since the 13th century, and its significance to Cornwall and the St Levan family is apparent as a chough appears on the family coat of arms – viewed in the entrance hall of the castle, and also on the crest of the St Michael’s Mount boats. Next time you travel on one of our ferry boats take a look at the crest on the boat and you will see the chough rising.

The new chough on the well head is the third incarnation since the original was installed in 1966. Tom Leaper’s 2016 chough is hot dipped galvanised and wet painted and cast bronze (the base) with a 5mm sheet bronze (chough), and should last hundreds of years – despite living in a salty environment.

Do visit the East Terrace on your visit to the garden and take a close look at the well head, and its magnificent chough standing proud and ready to rise.

Thanks to Tom Leaper for his tireless work on restoring the well head to its former glory.