The nave roof has been subject to much alterations over the centuries but by the end of the C19 the medieval roof was known to be in very poor condition. Eventually as a consequence of severe and considered at the time, irreparable decay, a decision was made in 1958 to install a replacement roof. The new roof was a steel framed agricultural truss covered in bitumous felt and was installed as a temporary measure. Internally in 1967 the unsightly steel frame was hidden behind a suspended ceiling whilst in 1973 the failing bitumous felt was removed and replaced with concrete slates.
The first phase of the project was to undertake an archaeological study of the roof. This report documented the fabric repairs during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s but also contained earlier photographs and drawings of the original waggon roof with four inset dormers creating a light filled space within the nave. Following this desktop study, b2 architects and Mann Williams developed proposals for how to reinstate the waggon roof as originally intended. It was considered essential that any new work should be of the highest quality of design and reflects the significance of the place. Working in conjunction with the structural engineer the design focused on the constructional detailing of the roof timbers and the dormers.
The final proposal for the reconstruction of the roof allowed the existing roof structure to be retained in place including the concrete roof tiles and rafters. The lower sections of the agricultural trusses were cut out while remaining sections were adapted and incorporated into a new steel structure. The barrel vault was then constructed from a series of ceiling ribs built up of three layers of 150x18mm plywood to form continuous ribs of 425mm centres along the length of the nave. A metal lathe was used to form the background for a three coat lime plaster render to be applied to the ceiling which was then finished with five coats of limewash.
The project won the Building Conservation Award at the 2018 RICS South West Awards and was Highly Commended at the 2017 EASA/King of Prussia Gold Medal Awards ceremony.