The JESSOP Consultancy

Lichfield + Sheffield + Oxford
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Staunton Harold Church,

Ashby-De-La-Zouch, Leicestershire

Grade I Listed Building (NHLE: 1074386)

Historic Building Recording for Restoration and Refurbishment

OASIS: thejesso1-199 117

During repairs to the leaded roof above the north aisle at Staunton Harold Church the unexpected discovery of carved moulding on the underside of the rafters resulted in a rapid archaeological survey of the exposed historic fabric on behalf of National Trust.

Staunton Harold Church was built as a family chapel by Sir Robert Shirley between 1653 and 1665. The interior is relatively intact retaining original pews, paneling and an organ from the 17th century. Perhaps the most striking feature of the church is the painted ceilings, which depict the creation story from the book of Genesis, entitled 'from chaos to order'. The painting of the nave ceiling was completed in 1655, with the aisles and chancel painted by 1662.

The repairs to the roof of the north aisle involved the replacement of the lead sheeting and selective timber repairs. The discovered that the underside of the rafters, central ribs and principal beams were deeply carved with moulded decoration was unexpected, however have ben preserved in-situ. The condition of the carving was such that it was still crisp and had never been painted, or treated, apparently part of the original design from 1653-55. However, by 1662 a decision was made to board over the ceiling to extend the painted design above the Nave on to the ceilings of the aisles.

Scope of work: archive research, measured survey, architectural photography, photogrammetry