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St. Mary's Berkeley

ST. MARYĺS BERKELEY, Gloucestershire,

This remarkable mediŠval church has extensive wall decorations. However their condition has been a cause for concern for some time since they are extremely dirty and are being damaged by damp penetration both from the wall-top gutters and through the walls themselves. To add to this, the structure of the clerestory was identified as potentially unstable due to lack of restraint at wall head level.


An extensive programme of conservation and repair, being grant aided by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund, is now underway.

The work follows the good conservation principles of minimum intervention in existing fabric but where new structure is required this is honestly expressed.

So far repairs have been completed to the nave including the strengthening of the clerestory walls using stainless steel tie wires and eaves beams to transfer lateral loading on to the wall. A new lead roof with insulation, including a distinctive new lead crest based on elements of the internal decoration which disguises the ridge ventilation and enlivens the skyline. The north and south aisle roofs have been repaired and releaded and wall head gutters relined.

The repairs to the nave and aisles roofs have eliminated much of the water penetration from the wall head, however water penetration through the wall was still a problem. The local stone is very porous and it is clear from the detailing that this has previously been rendered, some of which was still remaining on the south clerestory. Both clerestory walls and part of the west wall have now been re-rendered in a self -finished mix based on local colouring.

With the walls now drying out, the final phase will follow to conserve the internationally important wall paintings.


St Mary's Picture Gallery

The West front elevation

The nave roof externally

The nave roof

Conservation in action

Steel brackets

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