After nearly three months of hard, painstaking work, Chris James and Dale Allen have completed the rebuild of a major section of the Courtyard wall, under the watchful eye of Alan Smith, our Clerk of Works. This section had been leaning badly since it had been hit by a falling tree after a great wind storm in January 1976 and it had also been attacked by ivy from the back. 

Chris & Dale dismantled it yard by yard, marking all the stones so that they could be replaced in their former positions. The middle of the wall consisted of a rubble infill, giving no structural support, so our architect, Ian Stainburn, recommended using small sheets of stainless steel expanded metal laid on each course to make it more solid. We have removed the ivy from the back of the wall and plan to spray it annually in future to stop it renewing its attack. We also replaced some of the worn-out coping stones with new ones cut in the same quarry in the Forest of Dean as the originals.

It all looks very smart, and we must now plan to complete the next section before it gets any worse. Mending a wall is not the most rewarding way to spend money, but it is better to do it before the wall collapses…    J H-B