St Magnus Episcopal Church
D.I.T.T. Construction, Shetland
D.I.T.T. Construction, Shetland
In July 2009 we removed 10 windows for conservation from this lovely Arts & Crafts Church in Lerwick, Shetland. The building was completely restored from the roof down. Project managed by D.I.T.T. Construction, and funded by Historic Scotland, the Lottery Heritage Fund, the National Churches Trust and the Congregation itself.
The interior of the church was also restored back to it's mid 19th century decoration. St Magnus is the only Episcopal Church in the Shetland Islands.
Two large Rose windows, in the West and East elevations had to be removed, partly for stained glass conservation, and partly for stone restoration. The twelve madallions and six fillets also had to be removed.
The West Rose (by Burlisson & Grylls) was made in two halves, and inserted from the inside. It was held in place by the ferramenta and rock-hard mortar. There was no glazing check. The existing external protective glazing was unattractive, but very practical for the harsh northern climate.
Sometimes the spaces within the scaffolding were very cramped, and difficult to work in to remove the old mortar.
After removal, all the windows were securely boarded up by DITT Construction from Shetland, with thanks.
It is not our usual practice to re-lead, but in this instance the lead was so poor and the windows so exposed, that we had no other option. PPE is necessary to prevent contamination from old lead.
Despite it's size, the Crucifixion Rose window did not require a full re-lead, but only conservation where necessary, including using coloured silicon resin to repair Chirst's chest and hands.
Not all of the windows needed to be transported to our Glasgow studios. A temporary "studio" was set up within the church itself for the more straight forward repairs.
Over one hundred small quarries were painted and stained to enlarge two smaller panels which had been removed from the tower to be re-sited in the Lady Chapel. The quarry design was copied from other, existing windows within the church.
These "smaller panels" contained two tiny kite shaped panels by Sir Ninian Comper, which had previously been enlarged by Geoffrey Robinson of Bristol in the 1970's. Prior to then they had been installed elsewhere in a Convent in Lerwick.
The finished window (before installation) shows the history of the object as a window within a window within a window.
The West Rose was re-installed in December 2009. The heavy iron ferramenta was in good condition and retained, however, the smaller saddlebars were badly corroded and were replaced with phosphor-bronze.
After much discussion between the architect, the clients, the main contractor and ourselves, it was agreed to re-install the "original" 20th century glazing as it was evidentially robust, able to withstand the climate and effectivel protect the stained glass.
The East Rose was conserved by Rab and re-installed in March 2010. It had a curious vertical installation, as originally designed by Burlison and Grylls.
The stonework was cut into an "L" shaped groove, which greatly eased the fitting of the windows from the inside.
We became very slick at mortaring the windows - Linda made up the mortar mix, Rab applied the mortar to the stonework, and Linda cleaned up the stonework afterwards.
The stone was analysed by Stewart Stirling (BSc DipBldgCons PhD MRICS ACIArb), from NGR Architects in Edinburgh. From his analysis, an exact, site-specific lime mortar match was prepared for us by Masons Mortar in Leith.
Bruce Clubb, from The Shetland Ameneties Trust, had to re-make some of the stonework in the church. As we were installing the East Rose, Bruce was building up the small Burlison & Grylls window in the chancel.
It's not an ideal way to install windows, but as soon as the inner frame was built, we had to install and mortar the window. Shetland is a 12 hour ferry journey from the Scottish mainland, and we had to catch the next ferry off the island, or else be stuck for a further four days due to ferry cancellations and bad weather. Bruce made a great job of the stonework.
The two little Comper windows from the Tower were installed in the Lady Chapel, and the congregation loves them there.
During the morning service, the West Rose reflects and moves along the North wall.