Tea at St Romald December 2014

1st December 2014

Work is complete at the Grade I church of St Romald at Romaldkirk, Co Durham. Beaumont Brown Architects were asked to design facilities that would help the church’s mission, outreach and improve the visitor experience.

A servery and wc was seen as the best way to provide much needed facilities. The project had been in gestation for many years and as a result of generous donations and grant assistance the project has now been realised.

There were technical and approval hurdles to leap. The scheme was reviewed by the Diocesan Advisory Committee, English Heritage, The Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) and The Ancient Monuments Society who all encouraged the development of our proposals. There was high anxiety in achieving a drainage connection- but we managed it and the system is piped into the mains rather than a septic tank.

Our archaeologist guided us through the churchyard and little was disturbed.

The walls and floors are suspended over the tower floor to avoid any penetrations into it and this makes the project reversible.

The screen is constructed in plain oak panels and oak vertical boards. These are between and set back from, a projecting oak frame that continues above the ceiling to form a gallery which could have decorative metalwork within it in the future. There is a panel above the double servery hatch doors that can be a space for an inscription, tapestry, benefactor etc. We aimed for the rhythm of the joinery bays to reflect the 3 bay west window and that the construction detail is understated to not compete with the special character of the church interior.

St Romald’s has Saxon origins, was rebuilt in the Norman period, its chancel was further rebuilt in the C14th and it has a C15th tower. It has north and south aisles that lead to transepts. Choir (C20th) and vicar vestries (C16th) to the north.


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