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Through the Roof Project - Future pROOFing Coughton

Pitched scaffolding for roof sheeting at Coughton Court, Warwickshire
Pitched scaffolding for roof sheeting at Coughton Court | © National Trust/Bill Alloway

From September 2023 Coughton Court is going 'Through the Roof' with a £3.3m conservation project to preserve, repair and improve our building’s façade and roof.

Through the Roof – What is it?

As part of the National trust’s commitment to conservation, we are undertaking a significant £3.3 million restoration roof project right here at Coughton Court. This multiple year project will begin this September and run until 2025 seeing key sections of the roof restored, and essential repairs as well as improvements also taking place across the fabric of the property.

This is the biggest conservation investment by the National trust at Coughton Court with the project being funded by the charity’s members, supporters and donors with grant funding donated by The Wolfson Foundation.

Not only is the project allowing essential work to take place but will also be providing a new unique experience for our visitors during the summer of 2024. Visitors will have the ability to witness first-hand the roof work taking place with scaffolding tours. This is an experience that will be not only allow our visitors to see the behind scenes action but will also provide spectacular views across the surrounding area.

Through the Roof - Why is restoring the roof so important?

During 2016 a Quinquennial Inspection of Coughton Court took place with the report highlighting serious concerns regarding the fabric of the building. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic the project to rectify these issues was delayed. In 2022 a further feasibility study took place reporting considerable damage to the roof across the entire property. As this now provided an unavoidable risk to the historic collection being damaged and years of deterioration.

Through the Roof will restore Coughton’s roof through external and internal repairs including repairs to internal guttering, stone and window work to prevent flooding within the building. All the repairs and conservation will ensure that the property continues to stand for years to come and allow future generations to enjoy.

Did you know?

At Coughton most of the drainage systems are internal meaning that when they overflow due to heavy rain, they run down the inside walls.

‘We are excited to be working on the “Through the Roof” project at Coughton Court which will help safeguard Coughton and its highly significant collection. Any major project will impact how the site is presented; this however will be a rare opportunity to see a more behind the scene’s look at Coughton. We are working hard to create new experiences for visitors whilst the site is undergoing this work. Conservation is a key value in the work that we do, and these works are important to ensure we secure Coughton’s legacy for generations to come.’

A quote by Gurminder KenthNational Trust/North Warwickshire General Manager

Through the Roof - Who is restoring the roof?

The work is being completed by specialist group of contractors who will be re-using historical materials wherever possible. Some of our specialists include conservation stonemasons, glaziers and lead work specialists. All working to restore the façade and roof to its former glory.

We also have a dedicated team of volunteers and staff members ensuring the smooth running of both the house and grounds throughout the project. Thanks to this dedicated team the house and grounds will remain accessible to everyone during open seasons for the visitors to enjoy.

Through the Roof – The Tabula Eliensis

Made in 1596 in secret by an unknown artist during the reign of Elizabeth I the Tabular Eliensis has a rich and controversial history. The purpose of the tabular was to be a protest piece to be displayed during Catholic mass and transported from house to house. Then, discovered in 1900 by Sir William Throckmorton in the roof space the Tabular has been at Coughton Court for hundreds of years with it now residing in the tower for our visitors to see.

As part of the Through the Roof project the Tabular is being moved out of its current location in the Tower so that the essential roof work can take place. During this time the Tabular will be going to specialists for conservation and repairs with it being returned to Coughton Court after the completion of the project for our visitors to enjoy.

Did you know?

Thomas Throckmorton is in the fifth panel of Tabular, giving it historical value to Coughton Court and Throckmorton family.

Through the Roof - The Bats

As part of the Through the Roof project, not only are we conserving the collection and the property, but also the bat roosts that have called Coughton Court home for generations. The project will provide a more suitable environment for the future by reducing water ingress via repairing damage to the roof, and using bat-safe materials to ensure all our resident species can thrive for generations to come.

Did you Know?

Coughton Court is home to four separate bat species occupying various roosts around the property.

Through the roof in the media

The Through the Roof: FuturepROOFing Coughton Court project has featured in the climate adaption report that the National Trust has put together highlighting how more frequent heavier rain plus the natural wear and tear of an historic building has contributed to the need for a project such as this to take. As part of this the Coughton Court project team have been featured on various new outlets from the BBC breakfast programme to the Channel 5 news.

The BBC article can be found here.

Latest updates

August 23

Conserving the collection

Before work could begin to the outside of the building the Collections and House Team here at Coughton had to make sure the collection within was safe. During the summer of 2023, paintings were removed and placed in specialist racking or re-hung in different parts of the house, tapestries were rolled and stored, and other items were placed safely away ready for the project to begin.  

Office space now Storage space at Coughton Court, Warwickshire
Office space is now storage space during the roof project | © National Trust/Bill Alloway
The sixteenth-century Gate Tower on the West Front at Coughton Court, with a row of pyramid-shaped topiary hedges and a lawn at the front


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