NJ Architects receives industry recognition for St Lawrence Church project

When it comes to historic buildings, St Lawrence Church in Ipswich holds a whole hand of trump cards.

Not only does it boast a fine 15th century tower and original flint work, its five bells were cast in the 1440s and are the oldest circle of five bells that are still rung in the world.

These bells are known as the Wolsey bells, named after Cardinal Wolsey who would have heard these same bell when he lived in the town.

We recently had the great pleasure of working on this beautiful building – and received industry recognition as a result.

The owners

St Lawrence on Dial Lane is owned by Ipswich Historic Churches Trust, a charitable organization set up in 1979 to protect five redundant churches in the town centre of Ipswich.

The trust ensures the preservation and maintenance of St Lawrence, St Peter, St Clement, St Stephen and St Nicholas.

All five of these churches are Grade II* listed and considered to have special architectural and historic interest to the public.
Today the trust lets out St Lawrence to the social enterprise, Realise Futures.

The project

With the support of a £65,000 community grant from Viridor, a recycling and waste treatment company, Ipswich Historic Churches Trust have invested £100,000 into the renovation of St Lawrence Church.

The conservation work undertaken over 6 months, included essential repairs and renewals to brickwork, stonework and buttresses, helping to secure the buildings future for generations to come.

NJ Architects were asked to oversee the conservation repairs the south elevation of the Grade II* listed medieval church, the decay to parts of the building had reached a critical point with some elements of restoration work considered long overdue.

The aim of the project was to stabilise and restore, preventing further loss to the historic fabric of this high profile landmark.

Our proposals included external masonry repairs to the south side of the building and included the replacement of heavily decayed stonework beneath the windows.

In addition, we needed to restore the missing decorative stone quatrefoils band and knapped flintwork panels.

The work

With contractor FA Valiant & Son Ltd, we replaced the more exposed elements of the stonework with buff clipsham stone and the remaining elements – including the quatrefoil panels and mullions to the flint panels, in Caen stone.

The mortars were lime based and the flintwork was replaced in knapped flushwork panels to match the existing fascia.

Praise for our work

NJ Architects were highly commended for work on St Lawrence Church at the SJCC awards this year.

The repairs to the flint work and stone mullions particularly caught the judges’ eye and we are very proud that the important legacy of flint construction was protected by our work here.

Our accolade came under the RIBA Craftsmanship Awards for the category of Individual Trades.

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