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A day on site - Helmsley Castle

Earlier this week, we visited site to review works as part of a current project to complete masonry repairs and re-roof the west range of Helmsley Castle for English Heritage. We have been involved at the Castle for the past 2 years, initially completing a condition survey and then being commissioned to develop much needed repair proposals.

The Castle is a large medieval fortress and mansion in the town of Helmsley, Yorkshire. Today its well-preserved ruins provide a fascinating look into Britain’s Civil War past, with the towering architecture of the Middle Ages a picturesque backdrop. It is a rare example of a twelfth century castle with substantial remains still standing, including two encircling steeply sided deep moats. It is Grade I listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Whilst the repair works in themselves require a skilled and considered conservation approach, access was a key aspect that is sometimes underestimated in the delivery of repairs in a conservation setting. With the double moat that encircles Helmsley Castle this was something that we worked closely with the client prior to the appointment of a Contractor. Early stage involvement with a specialist scaffold designer was required to design a fully roofed enclosure, and also to establish how this could be installed. The final design avoided access into the inner range (and associated risk of damage on narrow access points and bridges) by the creation of a bridging structure across the double moat, and a full height scaffold to the west elevation. Internal scaffolding and in-situ protections were also required to provide protection to collections and historic interiors that includes a lime ash floor and decorative plasterwork ceilings.

The roof has recently been stripped of its tile and stone slate roof coverings to allow repairs to the timber structure, and we are currently reviewing masonry repairs to the exposed west elevation. Works are anticipated to be complete in Spring 2023.

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