Great St. Mary’s

The University Church, Cambridge


The work to Great St Marys in the centre of Cambridge, represents a small part of the conservation work undertaken by the practice on Grade 1 buildings, including churches and important secular buildings.

Great St. Mary’s Church dates from the late 15thc.  The carved roof structure of the north and south aisles, that can be seen within the church, was over roofed in the late C19 and the leadwork was last renewed in the 1960s.  Unfortunately, the bay sizes were over large which had resulted in numerous splits, water ingress and staining to the plasterwork, particularly noticeable on the south side where the surface temperature of the leadwork fluctuates more dramatically.

The PCC were keen to incorporate photovoltaic panels for ideological as well as economic reasons, which have now been installed.  The roof is screened by crenelated parapet walls concealing the panels from ground level.  The necessity for the re-roofing work provided a unique opportunity to integrate the panels with the leadwork.  The roof void was insulated sheep’s wool.  Lead downpipes and stone work carving were carefully repaired and re done where missing. Work commenced in January 2018, when the sand cast lead was removed and recast before returning to be re-laid.  The re-roofing work was completed in time for a national bell ringing competition at the end of June.

Architect: Cowper Griffith