ANYONE who has ever wanted to own a bit of a medieval cathedral is being given the opportunity to bid for stones from one of the North-East's most iconic buildings.

History lovers have the chance to buy some of the stones from Durham Cathedral, which were removed during the recent £1.9m restoration of its tower.

A selection of about 60 stones will be sold in a first-of-its-kind auction next month, with proceeds going towards the future maintenance of the cathedral.

Gaye Kirby, the cathedral's head of development and strategy, said: “Durham Cathedral has a long history of adorning the skyline of our historic city and the stone auction provides people with an opportunity to literally own a piece of that history.

"All proceeds will go toward supporting our Foundation 2020 endowment campaign and so will forever support the cathedral’s ongoing repair work”.

The auction is set to take place on Saturday, October 19 and will be handled by Anderson and Garland.

Reserve prices for the stones, which come in a variety of sizes, some dating from 1861, have not yet been revealed.

Made of Prudham sandstone, they were taken from the top of the cathedral's central tower during a three-year renovation project.

They will be available to view from October 14 to 19, at The College, at the back of the cathedral, while the auction takes place between 1pm and 3pm in the Chapter House. There will also be opportunities to bid online.

Anderson and Garland will be producing a catalogue profiling the type, shape, size and provenance of the stones.

Julian Thomson, chairman and managing director at the auction house, said: “The fact that Durham Cathedral continues to win awards and attract thousands of people each year as one of the UK’s favourite destinations, is testament to the special place it holds in people’s hearts.

“As such, we are expecting lots of interest both nationally and internationally, from people wanting to get their hands on a piece of this historic stone. It’s certainly the first auction of its kind that we've ever been involved in.

"It has been utterly fascinating to learn more about this wonderful, globally renowned, place of worship and the heritage of its stonemasonry throughout the process.”

Foundation 2020 is the cathedral's campaign to build a £10m endowment fund to cover the cost of ongoing repairs to the nearly 1,000-year-old building.