November 22, 2022
Last Updated on May 15, 2023
The Tudor chimney at Warden Abbey, Bedfordshire, required restoration work to repair damages as a result of normal wear over the centuries. A sum of £1,228,839 was awarded to The Landmark Trust from the Culture Recovery Fund, a portion of which was designated to restore and safeguard the Abbey’s intricate brickwork and chimney.
Warden Abbey is a Grade I listed building, established in 1135 as part of a Cisterian monastery. In 1537, under Henry VIII, Warden Abbey was dissolved and most of the buildings were demolished by 1552. The same year, a new mansion was built bearing the name Warden Abbey House, but this was mostly demolished, bar the north-east wing, in 1790.
In 1974, The Landmark Trust rescued the building from dereliction and renovated it for use as holiday accommodation. Standing alone in a grazed field on a partially unexplored archaeological site, the building makes for a peaceful holiday getaway in an area enveloped in history. Restoration to the brickwork and chimney served as the final touch needed to improve the exterior appearance of the building.
Perhaps one of the most obvious visual features when looking at the abbey from a distance is its ornate barley twist Tudor chimney, made with individual hand-crafted bricks. This is a classic Tudor chimney design, complete with the typical ‘horns’ that adorn its exterior, some of which had been damaged over the years, along with several of the structural bricks.
The bricks used in the restoration of the chimney were supplied by the Bulmer Brick and Tile Company in Suffolk, one of the last remaining handmade brick manufacturers in the country. The bricks are made with clays that are between 25 and 40 million years old, the same as what would have been used to build the abbey centuries ago. The mortars used lime as the binder, with aggregates carefully matched to the existing mortars.
The experienced craftsmen were able to complete the restoration to a high standard, returning the chimney to its former glory.
This project is just one example of how we work with clients to conduct sympathetic restoration work to historic buildings. To find out more about our historic building work, browse our portfolio.