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Case Study
Hamsey Church

The beautiful and historic Grade I Listed St. Peter’s Church, Hamsey near Lewes was suffering from the effects of 1000 years of worship and wear and tear.

After successful fundraising for roof repairs we were tasked with renewing the roof.

The works consisted of the renewal of tiles and stonework on the roof slopes of the Nave, provision of new guttering to the north roof slopes of the Nave and Chancel and the overhaul and redecoration of the other rainwater goods. New Aldershaw tiles were used on the north Nave and roof slope and salvaged old peg tiles and salvaged Horsham stone was used on the south Nave roof slope. The Horsham stone was sized and recorded in situ with a plan to enable the stone to be relayed in the exact position.

Aim of the Project

The aim of the project was to carry out the reroofing of the Nave and Chancel as sympathetically as possible, with no noticeable difference in the roof appearance following the roofing works.

Difficulties to Overcome

Following a bat survey carried out it was confirmed that long-eared bats were roosting in the church. As a result of this all works had to be carried out within a certain time period (mid-March to mid-May).
The church was situated in an isolated location surrounded by farm land with access to the church through the neighbouring farm.
There was no electricity or water on site, so generators and water had to be taken to site to enable works to be carried out.
On stripping the roof to the Nave there was found to be a large area of rotten timber and truss slipping off the walls plates, all of which had to be replaced prior to the roof being reinstated. These had to be renewed with all new oak and specially fabricated steel brackets. Even with these additional works we managed to complete the project within the specified timeframe.

In July 2018 the Hamsey reroofing project won two Sussex Heritage Trust awards: in the Building Craft category and also in the Ecclesiastical category.

The judges made the following comments:

Building Craft:

“Well-executed roof restoration done to high standard with imaginative re-use of clay tiles and Horsham slates which will improve sustainability, combined with sensitive and effective treatment of critical works to establish the structural integrity of the building. Well done!”

Ecclesiastical:

“A thoroughly considered approach to the project, demonstrating detailed knowledge of materials, new and reused. A collaborative approach with architect and client which successfully tackled issues that arose. Finished job enhanced an already beautiful building.”

The work was carried out in the Spring of 2017.

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