One of the Oldest Refectory in England Undergoes Conservation to Restore Gable Walls
Dover College is set in the grounds and ruins of the Priory of St Martin, this fascinating medieval 12th (circa 1139) Refectory was in need of restoration and repairs to the gable walls. USL were pleased to carry out these works whilst the ‘Eating Hall’ remained open for the students and staff.
The restoration project at the Refectory involved the sensitive conservation repairs and stabilisation of the East and West Gable walls (both externally and internally). On completion, both internal gable walls were re-plastered and re-decorated to restore this Scheduled Monument and a Grade II listed building, dating back to it’s original 12th century glory.
Century Strangers' Refectory is still used as an eating hall and for concerts and well may be the oldest Refectory in England still used for the purpose for which it was built.
During the conservation project, USL salvaged stone from the taking down process and reused it for replacements and repairs. The conservation elements incorporated; indent repairs, mortar repairs to stone, fracture repairs to stonework, grouting, surface treatment for preservation, repointing to flintwork and stonework (with exact matching to colour, texture and profile of existing), plasterwork to walls, ceilings and floors.
All works were carried out to match the original flintwork and Caen stonework detailing as well as the building remaining open to the school for meals and events.
Behind the gable walls revealed a Medieval wall painting of the 'Last Supper' much worn (full width of east wall). A better preserved fresco of a subject not yet identified was seen and reported underneath.