Skip to content

Restoring Staunton Harold Church

A view of Staunton Harold Church in Leicestershire with the tower covered in scaffolding while conservation work is undertaken
Restoring Staunton Harold Church | © National Trust/Susan Guy

Over time, Staunton Harold Church had deteriorated and needed vital repairs. Discover more about the work done so far to ensure the church stands for many more years to come.

A rare building

Staunton Harold Church, or the Chapel of the Holy Trinity, is a Gothic style church, built in 1653 on the instructions of Sir Robert Shirley. A rare building from the Commonwealth period, it’s one of the least modernised churches of its time and seen today, is as it would have been in Sir Robert’s day.

Starting with the stone

By 2014, the external stonework needed essential mortar repairs to prevent water damage to the building.

The stonework was repointed 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 these repairs were carefully timed to ensure the best result.

Fixing the damage

Several areas of stonework were badly eroded and needed replacing, so scaffolding was used 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.

A vie of the stonework at Staunton Harold Church from inside the tower scaffold, with stone window arches under conservation work
Stonework conservation at Staunton Harold Church | © National Trust/Susan Guy

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, with Holywell Glass completing work on the East window.

To protect the crown or plated glass, which is of historical importance to the church, many of the windows were covered with temporary boards during the conservation work.

Bells and whistles (and roofs)

Moving upwards, the bell chamber inside the tower underwent restoration work to strengthen the bell supports.

We built a temporary structure on the roof 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 its fascinating story for generations to come.

Thank you

With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.

A close-up image of the entrance to Staunton Harold Church in Leicestershire, with an inscription dedicated to Sir Robert Shirley visible above the entrance

Staunton Harold Church's collections

Explore the objects and works of art we care for at Staunton Harold Church on the National Trust Collections website.

You might also be interested in

The exterior of Staunton Harold Church, Leicestershire

The Chapel of the Holy Trinity at Staunton Harold 

Discover the fascinating history of the Chapel of the Holy Trinity at Staunton Harold and how building the Chapel cost Sir Robert Shirley his life.

A group of hikers climb a path through woodland towards the camera

For everyone, for ever: our strategy to 2025 

Read about our strategy 'For everyone, for ever' here at the National Trust, which will take the organisation through to 2025.

Ranger in National Trust fleece inspecting white blossom on tree in orchard

Our cause 

We believe that nature, beauty and history are for everyone. That’s why we’re supporting wildlife, protecting historic sites and more. Find out about our work.