Conservation repair and church lighting upgrade work shortlisted for Regional Award
— 19 Mar 2018
Jonathan Rhind Architects’ extensive repair project to protect one of Devon’s best surviving Grade I listed Norman towers has been shortlisted in the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards 2018.
St Petroc’s Church in South Brent is one of 14 South West regional finalists in the Building Conservation category of the prestigious annual awards scheme. It is one of two Jonathan Rhind Architects’ projects to be shortlisted in this year’s competition: the firm’s restoration work at Ilfracombe’s 115-year-old St Peter’s Church also made the cut.
Repairs to minimise water penetration into the 900-year-old tower of St Petroc’s Church, situated on an exposed southern fringe of Dartmoor, involved a combination of external lime mortar pointing and lime grouting into the centre of the tower walls.
Last autumn, photos documenting the process were requested by the National Geographic Channel for use in a documentary about the restoration of the edicule that covers the alleged tomb of Jesus that sits inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which used the same injection technique. The documentary is due to be aired later this year.
The St Petroc’s tower repairs started on site in November 2016 and involved addressing damage caused by water penetration which had affected upper floor structures and boarding, internal finishes, electrics and use of the choir vestry at the base of the tower.
Repair work also involved carefully dismantling and rebuilding the merlons and embrasures (crenellations) at the top of the tower to install a slate waterproof course, and the replacement of internal rotten wooden joists. Voids inside the tower walls were filled by lime grouting, and joints between the stones repointed in a traditional lime mortar.
The £325,000 project was made possible thanks to a grant of nearly £200,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund South West as well as significant grants from a number of other organisations including the Devon Historic and National Churches Trusts, South Brent Community Energy Society and fundraising by the church community.
The money also went towards installing a completely new system of LED lighting, which will save energy and reduce running costs, and enhance the community use of the building.