The Abbey Church of St Mary & St Melor, Amesbury Conservation Repair of 15th Century Nave Roof

The Nave roof, with its distinctive 15th Century oak trusses and carved details was at risk of structural collapse by October 2019. As Inspecting Architect, St Ann’s Gate led a comprehensive repair project, including complex carpentry repairs, traditional sand cast lead, conservation and replacement of lath and plaster ceilings, new oak carvings and masonry repairs.

Location Amesbury, Wiltshire
Completed November 2020
Project Type Conservation & Repair
Category Grade I Listed Church

The judges noted the complex nature and urgent timescale to rescue the roof. The final result looks stunning, and is clearly fit for the next century and beyond.

National Churches Trust
King of Prussia Gold Medal 2022

The judges were impressed by Emma's attention to detail and technical input. They also liked the references to bees and the NHS in the new timber carvings, bringing a contemporary note to the project.

National Churches Trust
King of Prussia Gold Medal 2022

In the case of Amesbury, the judges could see that the resulting project had been impeccably organised and executed.

Salisbury Civic Society
Conservation Awards Scheme 2022

The judges had no difficulty at all in deciding that every aspect of the whole project put it very firmly into the award category.

Salisbury Civic Society
Conservation Awards Scheme 2022

As part of the restoration, Emma designed some additional paterae [carved oak bosses] that decorate the interior of the wall plate.  These replaced missing bosses, and were inspirational – including a rainbow and NHS logo, to commemorate the Covid-19 season; and a bee, to recall the swarm of bees that were disturbed during the roof works.  These and others will be a contemporary contribution to the history of the roof in this ancient parish church. 

Ven. Alan Jeans
Archdeacon of Sarum
1 2 3 4 5
1 of 8
Project Summary

The conservation principles applied to this project included preserving as much historic fabric as possible and following the principles applied by Detmar Blow, a significant architect of the Arts and Crafts movement who was the last to have repaired this roof. The project included conservation and repairs across a wide range of specialisms and whilst most remains hidden from view; there are new oak carvings throughout the interior that commemorate these works and add another layer to this building’s historic narrative. Each new carving was carefully designed by the architect to depict stories of the church, the wider community and in the case of the NHS rainbow; the challenges of this project.

Start a Project
Next up

Boxgrove Priory