Yet More Stone (Part 49)

Martin & Mandy

St Bartholomew's appetite for stone appears never ending, and its ability to find further problems that need resolving looks like it goes on for ever too. We've had one delivery from the quarry in Yorkshire of flag stones which was consumed within about a week or so in completing about 70% of the basement and Nave floor. I grant you we have a really nice York stone floor and it did give me a chance to work out just how much York stone was required to finish it off.

Published VersionBefore we laid the York stone I ran up the under floor heating just to make sure everything was working fine. This required some specialist and pricey equipment to make sure it was working. Thankfully I happen to know a bloke called Dave who is into African safari's and takes photo's rather well. To deal with lions at midnight he just happens to have a rather expensive infra red camera. So, having run up the heating system I borrow Dave's camera and start taking pictures of the floor, quite clearly the heating is working! No lions though... In fact if I turn on just one zone out of the nineteen or twenty there will finally be it takes the edge off the chill in the building after a day or two. I grant you the heat eventually escapes out of the last remaining gaps, but it definitely works. If only the journal was in colour - the picture from the camera has black through to orange - black is cold and orange is hot - but even with the colour missing you get the idea and you can see the hot pipe work under the floor.

Published VersionA spot of calculating and I work out we need another lorry load of York stone, we also need to resolve the two steps taking you from the porch to the Nave floor, we decide that whilst all the floor is riven York stone the way to do the steps is with two large machined York stone steps. Steve makes up one of these as a template and we tinker around with how it fits into the space. We need two steps, one with a 2.5m radius curve on it and the other with a 2.2m radius, a call to Steve (there are far too many Steves on this job!) at the quarry and we get one of his machines on the case making our two steps.

Published VersionIn a normal room you have skirting board to neaten the join between wall and floor, which we will need to do in the Nave, but I can't really use regular pine skirting boards! The plan is to take 500mm wide York stone and cut it in half to produce a 250mm high upstand to go round the main body of the Nave. More calculations and that's yet more stone. Lastly the basement floor has metal floor boxes for the electrics to hide in, they are sunk into the floor and hide all sorts of sins but they have the disadvantage of being designed for a really thick tile to go in the lid, another conversation with Steve at the quarry and he puts some riven York stone on another one of his saws and cuts 5 of the six edges leaving a riven face on the top edge and a piece of stone that will fit in the floor box lids - truly a meeting of old and new technology.

Published VersionYears ago there was a priest door on the north side of the Nave wall and when we sorted the outside of the building most of the wall behind the door was pretty much shot. So much so that I've got a photo of a stone mason sitting in the hole in the wall he is fixing. The inside of the doorway was covered in Victorian horse hair based plaster - really nasty stuff - and I've been dreading removing it for ages. Last time we took this stuff off the building was on the door way at the base of the tower and we found a 4 foot piece of rotten oak underneath it, so I have not been looking forward seeing what we are going to find here...

The stone masons set to work and remove all the plasterwork, in actual fact 75% of it falls off and they carefully remove the rest. Most of the door way is fine but the right hand side needs something dramatic to fix it, the wood in the picture is there to hold the blocks up! Some thinking and a conversation with Sarah, the conservation officer, and we decide to replace a couple of the stones and have another crack at the rest of the doorway. The trick here is to keep the age of the door frame and its character but stop it collapsing onto the floor as a pile of rubble.

The basement door frame on the other hand is finished, this is 100% new and curves in two directions and has taxed and rewarded Simon and his stonemasons in equal measure. It looks fabulous and now Matt Rome is panicking because he has to build a door to go in the frame and that obviously bends in two directions as well. He is a man whom worry has taken its toll, however Mandy & I know that the end result will be stunning so we just have to wait. I've bought Matt a pile of wood and in time we know that a beautiful door will arrive.

For more history and information related to St Bartholomew's visit or follow us on Twitter @layston_herts

Published Version