Swineshead Church

This restoration has allowed the church to continue to be the pillar for the community of Swineshead and indeed the surrounding villages.
When the roof began to collapse following the removal of the lead covering CEL knew major timberworks had just become the primary issue of this project

Project Overview

Location: Swineshead

Architect: Anderson & Glenn Architects

Church Of St Mary, Swineshead

The original church dates back to the 13C but largely the building seen today dates to the 15C. C.E.L Ltd working on behalf of Swineshead PCC and under the instruction of Anderson & Glenn Architects were instructed to undertake restoration works to the newest part of the church, the Chancel and Vestry. Built in 1848 by Stephen Lavin it carries forward the very decorative nature of the original church. Limestone rubble and ashlar walls decorated at the roof level with tracery panels and a very unusual timber support between the rafter which have been taken from Hammer Beams supported upon carved stone corbels.

What started as a relatively simple instruction to replace the lead and slate roofs to the chancel and vestry respectively soon changed dramatically as the existing materials were removed. What happened from this point in the works became regularly known as “Most Unusual”.

The ends of the hammer beams and indeed the complete wallplate had been subject to an un recorded repair and completely encased in concrete which was said to be as hard as brass to coin a phrase. The reaction of the timber to this and the water that had ingressed upon it was simply dramatic with the wood turning to no more than dust. Emergency procedures were immediately put in place to support the structure which was perilously close to collapse.

In partnership with Anderson & Glenn Architects and The Morton Partnership structural repair was instructed including the replacement of hammer beams and the complete wall plate. Further repair and replacement was also required to the tracery panels which had deteriorated due to their connection to the hammer beams and close proximity to the stonework.

Eventually returning to the original instructed works 20 tons of sand cast lead was fixed to the roof slopes of the chancel and a new slate roof using blue slate 24 x 12 was completed.