Conservation and restoration at Staunton Harold Church
Staunton Harold Church, or the Chapel of the Holy Trinity, is a fine example of a Gothic style church, built in 1653 on the instructions of Sir Robert Shirley. A rare building from the Commonwealth period, it is one of the least modernised churches of its time and what you see today is much as it would have been in Sir Robert’s day.
Over the years, parts of the building deteriorated and were in need of vital repairs. The National Trust has embarked on a project to restore the church and rescue it from further decline. Read about the work we’ve done so far to ensure this unique church stays standing for many more years to come.
Starting with the stone
By 2014, the external stonework needed essential mortar repairs to prevent water damage to the building. We repointed the stonework using lime and earth based pigments, in-keeping with the original mortar used in the construction of the building. The mortar needed to be dried slowly and protected from frost, so we timed these repairs carefully to ensure the best result.
Several areas of stonework were badly eroded and needed replacing altogether, so we built a scaffold in order to fully restore these areas of stonework. This also allowed us to replace some of the lead in the string course – the horizontal bands you can see between stones.
More recently, the church walls have undergone repairs, which you can see as you wander the churchyard.
Keeping the windows clean
Many of the church’s windows needed work to restore or replace elements of the decorative mouldings and sills. The slot windows in the tower were also re-leaded, due to their poor condition, and this year, Holywell Glass completed work on the East window.
To protect the crown or plated glass, which is of historical importance to the church, we covered many of the windows with temporary boards during this vital conservation work.
Bells and whistles (and roofs)
Moving upwards, the bell chamber inside the tower has undergone restoration work to strengthen the bell supports.
Out on the roof, we built a temporary structure to enclose the area while we repaired and replaced much of the lead roofing. Without this restoration, the painted ceiling inside the church could have suffered water damage.
Preserving a moment in time
As one of the few churches built between the outbreak of the English Civil War and the Restoration Period, Staunton Harold Church has a unique story of faith in the face of oppression. By completing this essential conservation work, we can continue to tell this fascinating story for generations to come.