In the first building phase the repair/conservation of the structure was carried out. Emphasis was placed on the conservation of as much of the building fabric as possible. Restoration was permitted only when necessary to preserve the composition of elements. Initial pointing of the rubble stone walls revealed depths to be re-pointed of up to 150mm on the East front tower. Repairs to the façade included much reinstatement that considered many aspects of the use of traditional lime mortars, plasters and washes. Both internally and externally, the composition of mixes and the nature of materials, drying times, works methods, finishing techniques etc. were researched and considered within the local context and after analysis of existing elements.
The repair of stone was minimised to prevent damage. Like all other aspects of the work research on the subject of stone repair and cleaning was considerable particularly on the sandstone where much information and advice was sourced in Scotland. The repair of the windows of the main church volume was done in situ using a matching timber. The timber gothic louvers of the tower and sash windows to the East façade were repaired off site in a local workshop.
Intervention of structural repairs was kept to a necessary minimum. In all cases the addition of elements was conceived to allow the building to continue to move and perform structurally within the original characteristics of a solid masonry construction of individual integrated parts of stone and mortar, plaster, timber, glass and slate. Repairs were not allowed to cause restrictions to movement that may have caused subsequent damage. Additions of structural ties to the cornice and ceiling were conceived to retain as much of the original fabric of the building that had failed over time.
Architectural intervention added contemporary layers to facilitate the new building function. The main internal element of a steel platform sits on a new floor of limestone timber and concrete. The floor contains a heating element for the building. New internal entrance doors and ramps facilitate access to the main volume of space and encompass modern lighting and escape requirements leaving the internal walls of the building free of interference.
A series of archaeological digs revealed information on the surrounding outside space and informed later intervention. Planting was based on existing samples on site and on traditional churchyard plant types. A continuing process of collecting suitable local antiquities for display in the garden has been facilitated.