Holy Trinity Church

Won in a competitive tender issued by Beaumont Brown Architects, the re-roofing of Holy Trinity Church presented several challenges which needed to be overcome.  The church had suffered from water ingress through the lead-lined parapet valley gutters for many years, and this had led to significant damage to the main trusses which supported the roof structure.

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In order to replace the damaged truss-ends, the roof coverings, lead lined gutters and sarking timber needed to be removed. However, taking this course of action would have resulted in the church not having any form of weather protection during the course of the works. As such, it was necessary to provide a tented structure over the whole of the building; no small feat given the scale and size of this beautiful Victorian structure.


Our partnering scaffolding contractor, McClurg Scaffolding, spent the first three weeks of the contract period erecting a scaffold and covering it with reinforced waterproof sheets, thus allowing the work to carry on undisturbed until the building was weather tight.


While this was under way, preparation work was being conducted off-site. 36 tonnes of randomly sized Burlington Slates were delivered to Barclay Roofing’s premises for sizing, holing and sorting for thickness by our expert team of slating operatives. This process alone took eight operatives almost four weeks to complete.

As soon as the protective ‘tent’ was constructed, all of the roof coverings were removed, lowered to ground level and manually carried out of the church grounds. As this was happening, a separate scaffold was being erected inside the church to allow access to the damaged trusses, whist also enabling access for the subsequent re-decoration.

Before the damaged truss ends were removed from their fixing positions in the external masonry walls, heavy duty steel props were used to support the roof structure. The rotten timber was then exposed and removed, before new pitch pine of matching size was cut and joined to the sound timber of the existing rafters using stainless steel rods and a resin compound supplied by Rotafix Ltd.


As soon as the roof structure was stabilized and the props removed, work to re-form the parapet valley gutters was ready to start. The reason the gutters had leaked was the failure of sufficient provision for expansion of the existing lead linings. Architect David Beaumont had incorporated a new design, making the valley gutters wider with more allowance for expansion, and our site based carpenters, fresh from the internal works, commenced in reforming the sub-structure for the support of the new code 7 lead linings.

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Over 12 tonnes of Code 7 lead was lifted, cut, bossed and welded to form the new weatherproof lining sumps. Whilst our team of lead workers was progressing this element of work, underlay and battens were being laid onto the roof slopes, and our multi-talented foreman, Bryce Coleman, was replacing eroded sandstone and re-pointing the inside of the parapet. Rigid insulation was then cut and fitted between the existing rafters to provide a much needed thermal upgrade.

After four weeks of lead work, the roof was deemed sufficiently weather-tight to allow the tent to be removed. At this point the waterproof coverings and their supporting steel rafters were removed. It was important to do this aspect of work before any slates were laid, as the foot traffic necessary to carry out the task would have seriously damaged the new roof.

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At last the good humour of Archdeacon Nick Barker and his enthusiastic team was being rewarded; they were finally able to see the result of years of fundraising come to fruition. Another three weeks of work by our team of eight slating operatives, including lead flashings to the gable walls and ridge, and the roof was complete. Supervised with great dedication by Bryce, internal decoration and cleaning were carried before the scaffold, which had been occupying the church since the start of the contract, was removed.One of the most rewarding jobs we have ever undertaken was complete, and the church now has a magnificent looking new roof which, due to the quality of the materials and workmanship, will last long into the future.


Thanks must go to Archdeacon Barker and the church committee, as well as Architect David Beaumont for the good humoured acceptance and guidance during our occupation. Thanks, too, must go to our suppliers Burlington Slate and SIG; our partnering subcontractors McClurg Scaffold; SE Decorators; and most of all to our teams of carpenters, lead workers and slaters under the fantastic leadership of Bryce Coleman, who on many occasions went well above the call of duty to ensure the end product was as good as everyone hoped it would be.