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HLF grant-aided church reroofing project marches forward

— 13 Jul 2020


St Margaret’s Church wrapped in scaffolding to protect the stripped and exposed roof structure from the elements during work


Historical scantle slate from previous roofing found on wall tops


Carpentry repairs in progress


Laying of new sarking board ceiling finish


Illustrations produced by Petroc College foundation degree students

St Margarets church restoration scaffold

Earlier in the year, there was a sigh of relief when work finally got underway on the main roof of St Margaret’s Church, Northam in March, having overcome difficulties in obtaining suitable slate, and the challenge of erecting scaffolding in two early Spring storms.

When the site was forced to close due to Covid19 the team were not deterred, and with experience of previous project adversity, quickly planned the measures necessary to safely reopen the site as soon as possible. With appropriate social distancing and hygiene procedures in place the site reopened and work is now progressing.

The roof stripping was undertaken earlier this month with extreme care; under strict social distancing and with an ecological watching brief in place to ensure no bats were found.  With the slate removed, South West Archaeology took the rare opportunity to examine the exposed roof structure and wall tops and several scantle slates were found under the lead valley indicating the original or earlier roofing material.

Offsite, Director Martin Sturley-Hayes, project Architect, and Architectural Technologist Rick Gilroy, technical lead are currently administering the building contract, and reviewing the repair specification for the internal finishes, including Earthborn eco paints instead of modern acrylics/oils to assist breathability and minimise surface condensation issues on the new boarded ceiling finish. Making good use of the phone, text messages and emails the team have been able to liaise almost as easily as in the office.

During the works, the PCC are running several heritage engagement activities including Petroc College Heritage and History illustration modules and sponsor a slate scheme. Sadly the planned school visits to see repairs being carried out is on hold for the foreseeable. To find out more please get in touch.

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