Tower repairsDuring 2011, major repairs to the masonry of the church tower were undertaken. The stone facings and decorative mouldings had become badly weathered. Additionally many of the wrought iron cramps used in the original construction were beginning to corrode, causing sections of the masonry to spall. Debris was falling to the ground and on to the roof of the nave.
Following a detailed survey, a specification for the restoration was drawn up by Nick Joyce of Nick Joyce Architects LLP, and a contract for the work was awarded to David Sleight Conservation.
Work started in March 2011 and consisted of:
- removal of corroded cramps and decayed stone;
- carving and fitting new decorative tracery and
- mortar repairs to patches of weathered ashlar;
- carving and fitting of new tower pinnacles to
replace the original ones removed in 1924;
- refurbishment of the tower rainwater goods;
- reglazing of the west window.
The clock face was repainted and the hands and numerals gilded in the autumn of 2014.
The tower was encased in over 60 tonnes of scaffolding, all of which had to be barrowed in by hand from the main road because large trucks could not get through the lychgate at the entrance to the churchyard.
Wherever possible, the old and fractured tracery and decorative mouldings were carefully pieced together using stainless steel pins and resin glues. Where new stone was needed, this was sourced from Hollington Quarries, as it was the closest match available to the Grinshill stone used in the original building of the tower.
Repairs to smaller areas of damage were made using lime mortars. Copper armatures (pins) were fixed into the base stonework to act as a key for the mortar, which was applied in several thin layers. The top layers were pigmented to match the surrounding stone as closely as possible.