A talented stonemason at York Minster took his own life, an inquest heard.
Matthew Rowe, 36, had worked at the cathedral’s stonemason’s yard for six years before his death on 9 August last year.
An inquest held in Northallerton on Friday (6 May) was told that Mr Rowe was “a highly skilled craftsman” who was “loved, cherished and adored by all his family, friends and colleagues”.
In a statement, Matthew Johnson of the York Minster police told the inquest he would see Mr Rowe a couple of times a week during patrols around the stonemason’s yard.
On 9 August at 10.15am PC Johnson was summoned to the Minster office and told there were concerns about Mr Rowe.
A fellow stonemason had a key to Mr Rowe’s home. They went to his flat, in Priory House, St Paul’s Square, Holgate, York, where PC Johnson knocked on his door.
When there was no answer, he let himself in and discovered Mr Rowe. An ambulance was called and paramedics certified the time of death as 11.15am. A note to his family was found nearby.
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Dr Vanessa Barrett, a GP at the Jorvik Gillygate Practice, said Mr Rowe had been registered as a patient with them since 2018.
In a statement she said Mr Rowe had been previously referred to primary care mental health in Hull for therapy for social phobia and anxiety.
In 2018 and 2019 he was prescribed the anti-depressant drug sertraline. In 2019 he was asked if he had suicidal thoughts and he said he didn’t.
‘All our hearts are broken’
In a statement read out at the inquest, Mr Rowe’s mother Judith described him as a very happy child who settled well in school and had a lot of friends.
She said: “He loved animals and adored our family pet dogs, but he was always very creative and artistic and was happiest when he had a project on the go such as a piece of sculpture or a painting.”
After leaving school he studied photography and worked for a local newspaper, and later became a chef. “But it wasn’t until he found stonemasonry that he really found his niche.”
He studied stonemasonry at college and then gained an apprenticeship at York Minister.
“Matthew had been at York for just over six years and become a highly skilled craftsman having a great love for all traditional crafts,” Mrs Rowe said.
“He also gained a degree in cathedral stonemasonry, something he thought he would never achieve.
“We his family was so proud of Matthew. He was loved, cherished and adored by all his family, friends and colleagues. All our hearts are broken.
“He was a very special, gentle person and a much to it son, brother, uncle, grandson and nephew who will be missed and loved forever and never forgotten.”
North Yorkshire coroner Jon Heath confirmed that the cause of Mr Rowe’s death was hanging, and his conclusion was suicide.