St Peters East Drayton, Lincolnshire, grade I - nave Roof Assessment and Repairs
This parish church dates back to the 12 century with alterations over the centuries and a major restoration in 1857 by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. It boasts a 'very complete medieval interior'. Despite past intervention (1873 and more latterly in 1982), the lead covered ornate shallow pitched nave roof was in very poor condition. Death Watch Beetle had been present over many decades.
Despite past intervention (1873 and more latterly in 1982), the lead covered ornate shallow pitched nave roof was in very poor condition. Death Watch Beetle had been present over many decades.
The engineering challenges
Despite severe losses to structural capacity of many members, the challenge was to retain as much original fabric as possible. This of course should always be the case with a listed building, but in this instance the driving force was to retain the highly ornate carving to the underside of the main structural members.
From my assessment I found a number of unsympathetic and in some cases flawed past repairs, which I needed to 'undo' as part of the proposed repair work.
Capstone specified and interpreted a highly specialist micro bore survey to determine the extent/depth of beetle decay into the timbers and prepared repair options.
The craftsmen contractor were very keen, and had a good track record, of undertaking tight fitting timber to timber splice repairs. Hence I was able to discuss repair options in detail with them, on the roof, before then fully designing the repairs and drawing them up for construction.
One of the badly decayed main beams coincided with the east gable of the nave. Here I saw an opportunity to 'rearrange the structural hierarchy': I detailed a solution whereby the ridge beam was extended passed the main roof beam, onto the masonry. I introduced a hanger from the ridge beam to the main roof beam. This in effect halved the span of the main beam, meaning it could now 'cope' with its decay without the need for the fuller strengthening intervention it would have needed otherwise.
The end result is a renewed lease of life to the roof structure, which was previously dangerous. In this instance a key ingredient was the contractor's enthusiasm and skill, making this final inspection a real joy.
Client - The Church
Funder - English Heritage HLF