A dramatically warmer and drier medieval Church

JCA Team:
Nigel Hammett RIBA SCA
Project type:
Conservation and Repairs
Location:
Oxfordshire
Project year: 2010, 2017

St Kenelm's is a Saxon church dedicated to St Kenelm the Anglo-Saxon saint, venerated throughout medieval England, and mentioned in the Canterbury Tales. The church dates from the 12th Century and can be found in Church Enstone, Oxfordshire. The current building is a collection of a number of additions with periods of building throughout the following centuries.

Like all medieval Churches, St Kenelm’s has required its fair share of repairs and conservation. The last major work was carried out by the English architect and architectural writer G E Street in the 1850s.

One of our senior accredited architects, Nigel Hammett RIBA SCA, has for many years been the appointed Church Architect. His role is to carry out the Quinquennial Inspections of the church and to organise any repairs to the fabric.

His 2010 Report revealed the extent of the rising damp which not only threaten the fabric of the building, but made for very damp and cold church services.

Drastic action was required to solve the problem once and for all. Nigel recommended lowering the ground around the church perimeter and installing a system of drains.

The result has been dramatic. The church is much drier and as the congregation will attest, much warmer.

The next programme of works is now under way and includes re-roofing the Tower, fitting a new kitchen and a toilet with disabled access through the incorporation of a new ramp and staircase. A dramatic new lighting scheme is also well under way as is the installation of new reredos in conjunction with the largely figurative artist Nick Mynheer - who’s work is almost always biblically based.