Building of 70,000-brick LEGO model of Cirencester Abbey to commence next month

TO celebrate its 900th anniversary, Cirencester Abbey is to be rebuilt, brick by brick, though not of the concrete kind, but in the shape of a 70,000 piece LEGO® model.

It is just one of the many ideas that are part of the town’s Abbey 900 Festival, opened by the Bishop of Gloucester on last Wednesday (February 22) and taking place all year.

Other events include Plantagenet and Regia Anglorum re-enactments, a May Day and Fleece Fair, a medieval banquet, concerts and local school and college events. But it is the LEGO® model that is seemingly proving the most popular draw.

Donations can be made by the public for individual bricks or for set lots to put the 1:48 scale structure together.

It is intended that schools and businesses will take modules of the building as projects.

The model has taken official LEGO® modelling company, Bright Bricks, over 200 hours to build and 120 hours to complete all of the instructions.

There are 86,400 seconds in a day and if someone were to lay a brick every second then it would be possible to start the model at 6am in the morning and finish it at around 2am the next day.

The nave window is made up of over 700 bricks alone.

It has been built by David Fautley, master builder with Bright Bricks.

“If one person was to build the model all by him or herself for two hours every week, then it would take about two years to complete,” he said.

“The plan is to have the Abbey completed by the end of the festival,” said Corinne Lamus, the chair of the Abbey 900 steering group.

“We have a group of exceptional volunteers helping with this part of the project, especially Barbara and William Cooper who have co-ordinated it all to date.”

Patron of the festival, The Bishop of Gloucester, was presented with a LEGO® tree to plant in the grounds of the model at the opening ceremony.

Countess Bathurst, High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, was a guest at the opening, as was Shirley Alexander, the chair of Cirencester’s Community Development Trust Ltd, a supporter of the festival.

They saw the model in its place at the Corinium Museum, where it will reside until taken to the parish church for the build to commence on April 11.

Ms Alexander said: “It is a magnificent project and something that will involve the whole of Cirencester.

“It doesn’t matter if you are young or old you can have a brick for £1 and place it on the model then watch it grow over time.

“It is incredible to hear that if all the LEGO bricks were laid one against another then they would stretch out over 400m, which is at least one entire lap of an Olympic running track.”

Bricks can be purchased from the following Cirencester businesses:

  • The Loaded Grill (Castle Street) Prints & Threads (Ashcroft Rd)
  • Crocodile Toyshop (also selling online)
  • Boutique 3 (Blackjack St)
  • CB Slade (estate agents Castle St)
  • D and J Sports (Cricklade St)
  • Moore Allen (estate agents Castle St)
  • AGA shop (Castle St)
  • Sydney Free Saddlery (Querns Lane)
  • M.A.D.E. (Silver St)
  • Jacks Cafe (Blackjack St)
  • Cirencester Antiques Market (Market Place)
  • The Corinium Museum

For more information about Abbey 900 please visit abbey900ciren.org, email: abbey900ciren@gmail.com or telephone 01285 644244.