Mussenden Temple floor restoration
Constructed as a library and modelled from the Temple of Vesta in the Forum Romanum in Rome, the iconic monument of Mussenden Temple is part of the Downhill Demesne built in 1785 by Lord Bristol and dedicated to the memory of Bishop Lord Bristol’s cousin Frideswide Messenden.
The domed Temple was originally designed and built for the niece of the 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry - Frideswide Bruce in 1785 and forms part of Downhill Demesne. Based on the Temple of Vesta in Italy, Mussenden Temple once held the Earl Bishop's library and today the Temple is a must-see attraction on the North Coast, welcoming over 50,000 visitors every year and playing host to numerous weddings, concerts and events.
This iconic 17th-century building has stood the test of time very well over the last few centuries with annual surveys and monitoring in place to assess its precarious cliff-edge position. However at some time all historic buildings require some TLC and Mussenden Temple’s floor is now in urgent need of repair. Around half of original limestone flagstones remain, the vast majority of which are cracked, and many of the newer replacement stones are in need of cleaning and repair.
The remaining stones are replacements and appear to have been laid in two phases. Phase one which represents half of the new stone and is distinguished by unsightly circular saw marks and some of these slabs have cracked, giving this group an older appearance. Phase 2 replacements have smooth rubbed surfaces, appear newer and are grouped together at the north east of the floor.
Due to the historic value of the Temple, conservation experts Cliveden Conservation will be carrying out this intricate work for us in September/October. The new floor will cost approximately £20,000 and we have launched a fundraising campaign to help us raise some of the money required. As a conservation charity, protecting special places for ever, for everyone is at the very heart of what we do and it’s thanks to the support of our members and visitors that we are able to fund this important maintenance work.