Insert faces here: a 160-year-old placeholder made of stone

There’s something tantalising about unfinished buildings.

This one’s not on the scale of Nostell Priory’s west front pediment but was a delight to happen across on a Northumbrian spring day.

The small stone gargoyles on the north wall of St Michael and all Angels Church, Howick, were all carved by Maria, 3rd Countess Grey (daughter-in-law of the 2nd Earl, the one with the Reform Act and the tea)…

But she never got round to the south side so the blocks jut out, waiting for another gifted amateur with chisel in hand…

… a reminder to everyone who makes grand plans that things may not work out as first intended.

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