The overall condition of the boundary walls is so poor that they are listed on the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’ Register. They were being damaged by ivy, elder and other plants, which had rooted in the mortar, leading to a risk of falling masonry. Vegetation has now been cleared, which has allowed the condition of the walls to be determined, and to allow the fabric repairs to take place. Undertaking the required repairs and maintenance of the boundary and internal walls is a fundamental part of the conservation project.
So far, a range of surveys has been carried out (topography, ecology, arboreal, etc); vegetation cleared; and now the specialized task of repairing and restoring the walls, together with the replacement of doors and their frames is being carried out.
Where little work is required, then little work will be done. Significant conservation is required on sections in poor condition. This will involve the careful removal of stones and mortar (from the top down), clearing out roots and growth, and then rebuilding the historic fabric. This work presents an interesting opportunity to examine the stones used. It is possible, albeit unlikely, that carved abbey stone was used to build these walls but with the carved face turned inwards.
This work must be undertaken under the guidance of Historic England, using approved materials and appropriate methods and is to be overseen by a conservation architect.
As the site is a scheduled ancient monument, permission for this work has been sought from Historic England. The perimeter walls are shown in red and the internal walls in blue on the plan below.
An excavated area in the corner of the churchyard was left open following previous archaeology; this area had become overgrown. It has been cleared of vegetation so that it can be photographed in detail and then filled.
In order to facilitate fabric repairs and removal of rubbish, and to bring equipment and other items on to site, a new gateway in the southern boundary wall is to be created and a track laid across the land to the south to link with the existing access onto Abbey Road. This is being done with the approval of Historic England and other relevant bodies.