St Mary’s Church, Mundon, stands to the south of Mundon Hall, within the confines of its formerly fully moated enclosure. The earliest parts of the church are the nave and north doorway, which date from the 14th century. It is built of stone rubble, in the most part rendered to give protection against the relentless winds that sweep across the marshes. The North porch was added in about 1600. The chancel was rebuilt in brick in the eighteenth century, no doubt due to subsidence to which the church is still prone. The true beauty of the church is that it has hardly been touched since the early nineteenth century. It is Grade I listed.
St Mary’s Church served the Mundon hall and Mundon village, but had fallen into disrepair by 1684, requiring the rebuild of the Chancel in brick. The decline of the population in surrounding areas the 19th and early 20th century resulted again in a deterioration of the church fabric, and the impact from the blast of a German air missile in the second world war added further damage. Despite some post-war repairs to the church, services were held elsewhere. St Mary’s church was made redundant in 1970 and vested into the Friends of Friendless Churches in 1975.
The Church was suffering of severe movement and was awarded a grant from Historic England’s Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage to carry out urgent structural repairs, including significant underpinning, as well as conservation work to historic wall and ceiling plaster and rare trompe l’oeil wall paintings. We are also designing a new rainwater drainage strategy for the church.
Since then, comprehensive repairs, including reglazing of the windows and underpinning of the church walls, enabled the church to be opened to the public again in 2009.
Our proposals were crafted to save the building elements from collapse and included:
- Previous cement repairs and ground movement have resulted in irreparable damage to some bricks and ongoing deterioration to others. The unsalvageable bricks were replaced with new similar brick and smaller areas repaired in lime mortar to match the brickwork.
- The ground movement had also formed cracks in the mortar joints both on the fair faces brickwork and in rendered areas. The proposals included brick stitching to the critical areas and subsequently repointing and re-rendering as other failed repairs in lime.
- Gentle removal of vegetation and biological growths
- Replacement of the fascia boards of the eaves behind the gutters on the south elevation
- Replacement of the rainwater goods with higher capacity gutters and down pipe to cope with climate change and increased rainfall
- Cleaning and upgrading of the underground drainage system
- Internal repairs to render cracks in walls and ceiling
Client: Friends of Frindless Churches
Conservation Architect and Principal Designer: Roger Mears Architects
Structural Engineer: Claudio Corallo (Clancy Consulting)
Quantity Surveyor: Sawyer & Fisher
Contractor: Bakers of Danbury
Photography: Carlotta Luke