Client: The Church of St Mary the Virgin
Completed: June 2014
Category: Places of Worship
Contract Duration: Weeks
Architect: Caroe Architects
What we did...
  • Conservation & Restoration
  • Stone Masonry
  • Stone Cleaning
  • Custom Metalwork
  • Drainage & Groundwork

USL were pleased to work on the conservation repairs at The Church of St Mary the Virgin in Clophill, Bedfordshire; a Grade II* and also as a scheduled monument. The church foundation is believed to date from the 10th century and it was probably re-built around 1350.  In the 1840s a new church was built in the centre of the village to accommodate a growing population and the old church was abandoned.

In the mid-20th century the lead was stolen from the roof and the church subsequently fell into ruin. Over the years it became a focal point for vandalism, fly-tipping, anti-social behaviour and graffiti resulting in the church remaining closed to the public and in disrepair.

Working in conjunction, Historic England and Clophill Heritage secured grants to aid in the stabilisation of the ruins, the conservation of the spiral stair and the installation of the viewing platform to revitalise the church.

The extensive conservation works included;

  • Cleaning existing graffiti & careful removal of all vegetation and plant growth.
  • Stone conservation and repairs throughout.
  • Rebuilding and stabilising of existing stone walls (inspections, rubble stone walling, joint reinforcement, indent repairs and repointing).
  • Repairs to windows including replacing later render with limestone dressings.
  • Rebuilding buttresses.
  • Dismantled existing roof covering and structure to the stairs.
  • New coping to church tower (replacing missing sandstone parapet coping stones).
  • New galvanised steel viewing platform and alterations to staircase.
  • New door opening to accommodate new spiral staircase.
  • Drainage and groundwork to external perimeter of church.
  • USL partnered with R & G Cooper to fabricate the custom designed viewing platform.
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Working in conjunction, Historic England and Clophill Heritage secured grants to aid in the stabilisation of the ruins, the conservation of the spiral stair and the installation of the viewing platform.

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