Church’s Past Read in Lead

Sheffield roofing specialist, Martin-Brooks, has added its name to a roll call of craftsmen who have helped preserve an historic North Yorkshire church.

Whilst reconstructing the tower roof at grade I listed, All Saints Church in the village of Bolton Percy, near York, the firm discovered the names of previous workmen engraved into the lead.

As part of the renovation, these areas of the roof were saved by Martin-Brooks and welded back into the new Code 8 lead covering in exactly the same place. A new stainless-steel shoe and lead slate were also incorporated for a flagpole.

Lady Cross stone
In addition to work on the tower, Martin-Brooks was asked to reroof the main nave and aisle at All Saints by PPIY Architects in York. Reclaimed stone slates were used on the south elevations and new Lady Cross stone was laid to the north side.

Very few heritage projects use new stone slates because of their rare availability. Lady Cross stone originates in Northumberland, at one of the last remaining hand worked quarries in Britain and is ideal for roofing. It is soft enough to work with when first excavated and hardens when exposed to air, making it very durable.

Dale Wright, Martin-Brooks’ contracts director, said: “All Saints church is a beautiful example of ecclesiastical architecture and it is a pleasure to work on a building with such a long and rich history.

“Discovering the names of craftsmen who had been there before us really put our work into context and underlined how important it is that we respect and care for these valuable community assets.”

All Saints was consecrated in 1424, although there has been a church on the site in Bolton Percy since mediaeval times. Martin-Brooks was commissioned as part of a wider restoration project, financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund and a number of other funding bodies and overseen by the architects.

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