Celebrating our Heritage Enhancing our Environment Shaping our Future

Abbey Church of St Mary & St Melor, Amesbury: Nave Roof Repair Project

All parish churches have a watch kept on them, to assess whether any parts are getting to the stage where repair works may be needed. In the case of Amesbury, any doubt regarding the nave roof was removed when a section of ceiling plaster fell to the floor, leading promptly to closure of the church. The judges could see that the resulting project had been impeccably organised and executed. It involved complete replacement of all the lead on the nave roof, and repairs to what was revealed below, with timber and plaster damaged by water penetration. Complications came from timbers being embedded in concrete at the wall heads, and by a secondary roof structure created in 1905, linked to the main one with iron. New timber was introduced where necessary, with original fabric retained as far as possible. Lath and plaster was conserved or replaced, and new ventilation introduced at the eaves and ridge. Sections of lead recording those involved in 1905 were re-used, alongside new comparable text referring to the 2020 work. Further complications came from the pandemic, and from bees living in the roof space, along with bats. There was scope for new oak carvings to be introduced, and these acknowledge both the bees, and the work of the NHS. The judges had no difficulty at all in deciding that every aspect of the whole project put it very firmly into the award category.


Architects: St Ann’s Gate Architects, Salisbury