St Mary Church on the outskirts of Lancashire dates back to 1157AD, with its South Aisle added in the 14th century.
We won the tender for works identified during the Conservation Architect’s Quinquennial inspection. These consisted of:
- Internal lime patch re-plastering of the main Church walls.
- External lime repointing of the Stone built Porch.
1. Internal Lime Plastering
The internal lime plastering works were to two high level areas of the original main church. The interior walls of the Church had been plastered and whitened, likely around the 16th century Reformation lead by King Henry VIII.
The original lime plaster had failed in two areas. The loose had been removed by others and left exposed for a period of monitoring. As there was no evidence of water ingress, we gained permission from the Conservation Architect to replaster, agreeing a three coat hot (quick) lime mix. The base and float coat included grit sand and animal hair for binding, with the finish coat only including fine sand.
We sheeted the floors and pews with protective coverings and carefully erected an internal access tower. The preparation included rebuilding a section of loose stonework – which we believe to have been the original cause of the plasterwork failing.
Each coat of lime plaster was left a number of days prior to the next coat, during which we focused on the external works. Once completed, we limewashed the new works to blend with the whitened walls of the Church.
2. External Porch Lime Repointing
The Quinquennial inspection also identified early delamination damage to the historic stonework of the South Aisle Porch. This was caused by non-porous cementitious mortar forcing moisture to evaporate through the stone face.
External works were carried out while the internal lime plaster coats were left to cure.
We carefully removed the existing mortar from the wide joints, and flushed out any debris. We deep filled and packed with a hot (quick) lime mix featuring grit sand for aggregate content. The same mix was used for the finish face pointing.
We sheeted over the porch with hessian and covers to keep the lime moist and protected, until it was ready to be brushed back and exposed. Upon brushing back, we endeavour to leave no brush marks and expose the aggregate in the mortar.
We scheduled around a funeral and a mass, which are some of the functions that we respectfully anticipate when working on Churches.
Everyone involved with the Church were extremely kind and appreciative throughout the project. The volunteers’ passion and dedication to run and upkeep the property was clear to us each day.
The Church fundraises to pay for any works that become required, regularly opening at weekends to take donations for cakes and drinks.