Between 1859 and 1866, John Chessell Buckler (1793–1894) was accused, as architect to Lincoln Cathedral, of overseeing a process of ‘scraping’ the exterior stonework of the building during its restoration. The controversy involved the leading architectural bodies of the time, with professional journals and both national and local newspapers reporting on it over the course of half a decade. In his defence, Buckler published an angry book that, rather than exonerating the author, offended many members of the architectural profession, particularly George Gilbert Scott and the Ecclesiological Society. The dispute took place during a conservative shift in attitude to the repair of historic buildings. This essay attempts to clarify what Buckler did, what was at stake for his detractors, and what the ‘scraping’ scandal reveals about the political atmosphere of nineteenth-century British architectural culture.