Conservation experts complete project at medieval church

Conservation experts have completed a project to carefully clean medieval stonework on the entrance of St Peter’s Church in Marlborough.

The historic church started life in the mid 15th Century and has been closed for religious services since 1974.

Since 1978 it has been managed by a charitable Trust, which operates thanks to the support of its members, volunteers, local residents and tourists plus early funding from government grants.

The latest project has seen Stonehealth deploying its cutting edge cleaning machinery that they manufacture to give the entrance to the church a much-needed facelift.

Whilst Stonehealth – based in Cam, near Dursley in Gloucestershire – is not a contractor it has wanted to help the trust to maintain their iconic building.

They have used the new Doff III machine with high pressure steam, superheated to 150 degrees C, to remove moss and algae from the stonework.

Meanwhile their Torc machine was used on heavy carbon deposits, combining low air pressure, water and a fine granulate, to create a gentle swirling vortex to clean the delicate masonry.

“As custodians of this magnificent building we have a duty to protect its structural integrity for the benefit of future generations,” said Nicki Evans, Trustee and Secretary at St Peter’s and Paul’s Marlborough Trust.

“This work is an example of how the Trust cares for this special building and recognises its responsibility to the community.

“We are grateful to Stonehealth for the quality of their work and are delighted with the results, and we are sure the community groups which use the church will be, too.”

A church has existed on the site of St Peter’s for almost a thousand years, originally finished by 1100 to serve the needs of the community living outside the nearby Norman Castle.

Perhaps its most significant moment came in 1498 when it was the site of the ordination of Thomas Wolsey, later Cardinal, Archbishop of York and Chancellor of the Kingdom, who became the most senior state figure during the reign of King Henry VIII.

Brian Crowe, Executive Chairman and Founder of Stonehealth, said: “We are delighted to have been entrusted with the important work of helping St Peter’s and Paul’s Marlborough Trust look after this fine old building.

“We care deeply about the preservation of our nation’s heritage and it’s great to see this church continuing to be used as a focal point of the community in Marlborough.

“To maintain their longevity it’s vital to keep them clean. Algae, for example, traps water which can then cause the stone to deteriorate, so it’s important to remove it properly.

“However the challenge comes in removing this matter without damaging the sensitive stonework underneath. That requires expertise and the right equipment. Our machines are highly effective but the technology they use is also extremely gentle. So they’re perfect for churches and other buildings of antiquity, as we hope our work on this project shows.”

Stonehealth has recently launched the Doff III, the third iteration of its iconic superheated steam cleaning machine favoured by architects, specifiers and cleaning industry professionals in the UK and worldwide.