Our latest conservation work: Low Ham

18 Jun 2020

In our latest blog series we will be highlighting our current conservation projects. We hope you will enjoy this glimpse of the important work that goes on behind the scenes at the CCT but did you know that you could win the opportunity to experience this first-hand? We are currently running a text raffle to give the lucky winner the opportunity to explore one of our churches with our Conservation Projects Manager. Simply text CCTJUNE to 70331, to purchase a ticket for £3.

Whether you explore conservation work taking place at a recent vesting, visit one of our large regeneration projects or discover hundreds of years of history at one of our Anglo-Saxon churches it is guaranteed to be a fascinating day.

The Church in the Field, Low Ham

Low Ham Church, known locally as the Church in the Field, is the last visible remnant of over 400 years of history at Low Ham and has outlasted mansions and survived a civil war. 

Built as a mortuary chapel for Edward Hext, MP Taunton (d.1624), and restored by his grandson George Stawell after Civil War damage, it was vested to the CCT in 2017.

This building is a rare example of medieval Gothic style yet built in the 17th century, a time when few churches were being built. Inside are contents of national significance with fine original furnishings, pews, stained glass and important monuments to the Hext and Stawell families. These remarkably survived the Civil War, on the losing side, when many other churches were stripped and destroyed.

 

The chancel screen, images, texts and monuments all testify to the ‘Catholicity’ and loyalty of the family to the Stuart Crown.

Since the church came into our care we’ve spent £325,000 on urgent conservation and repairs to secure its future.

South aisle before and after lime plastering

 

These works include:

  • Extensive roofing works to make it wind and water tight
  • Detailed stained glass repairs
  • Complete drainage overhaul
  • Scaffolding the nave and chancel inside to be able to repair the walls, ceilings and windows
  • Scaffolding outside to reach the roofs, tower stone work and tower roof
  • Plastering and redecoration
A defective battlement being dismantled and after repair with a lightning conductor fitted. 

 

We next plan to undertake conservation work on the 17th century Royal Coat of Arms and the 17th century timber Chancel Screen. The Royal Coat of Arms has been heavily and inappropriately repainted, hiding its polychromy and gilding and the Chancel Screen has also been covered in dark Victorian varnish, hiding the original colour scheme and gilding.

© Humphries & Jones Conservation Royal coat of arms and chancel screen

 

You can read more about Low Ham here, and learn more about how to enter our text raffle here. By entering you will not only be in with a chance to win an exclusive tour of one of our churches, but you also help make our work possible. All proceeds will go towards maintaining and conserving more of our churches for years to come.

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