St John's College

Beacon Planning instructed to secure listed building consent for replacement statues.


Beacon Planning were instructed to provide heritage advice and to coordinate an application for listed building consent to replace the two statues of yales located on early C18 Grade I listed piers that frame Kitchen Bridge, also Grade I listed.

The gate piers and yales were carved by Francis Woodward and completed by 1712. Research in Cambridge University Library identified that the yale is a mythical beast, the word being derived from the Hebrew 'yael' meaning an ibex. The first armorial use of the yale in England was for the Earldom of Kendal in 1414. When Sir John Beaufort took the Earldom of Kendal in 1443, he retained the yale as one of his armorial supporters. His daughter, Lady Margaret Beaufort, adapted the design and had two yales supporters with her father's eagle to become her crest. The yale, in honour of the College's Foundress, is today found in fourteen different locations around St John's.

The yales were in a considerable state of erosion, including areas of complete loss, surface delamination and blistering to the stonework. They had also become unsafe and were a concern to public health and safety.

A wax mould of the yales was made which revealed traces of other features largely lost due to erosion and loss, including horns, evidence of a beard, a mane, a carved eagle on the shield and 'green man-like' face between the volutes and a tail.

In consultation with the City Council and Historic England, an application for listed building consent was made seeking consent for replacement yale statues which restored these statutes to their earlier form, with the originals retained within the College for the archival record.

The new yales have pride of place guarding Kitchen Bridge, and are a magnificent new addition to the College.


Listed building consent was granted in April 2015.

The new yales were installed in November 2015 and February 2016 respectively and was the inaugural winner of the craftsmanship award at the Cambridge Design and Construction Awards 2017.

ClientSt John's College
AppointedJanuary 2015
Services providedApplication  
BP teamJon Burgess   Jenni Mason  
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