St Odulph’s Church, Pillaton, Cornwall

After devastating lightning strike damage to St Odulph’s Church in Pillaton, Cornwall, in January 2013 Le Page Architects were commissioned to undertake a systematic stabilisation and restoration of the historic medieval Grade I listed building.  Simon Crosbie led a team of engineers, stonemasons and contractors on a nine-month project to repair and reconstruct the internal and external fabric of the building.

The extensive nine-month restoration project encompassed work on the stonework, roof trusses, leadwork, window heads, plasterwork and interior fabric of the church, all of which had been severely damaged by the debris. The north-east tower pinnacle was completely destroyed.  The pinnacle stone pieces were painstakingly gathered and reassembled in the stonemason’s yard as a 3D jigsaw, in order to enable a dry-built assessment of the required restoration and remedial works.

Once on site the stonemasons sympathetically replaced missing or stones too damaged to reuse with Cornish granite all lifted up to the tower via a specialist scaffolding and hoist which ensured the church was weather protected for the duration of the contract.

Careful intervention and connection of the new and medieval timbers were detailed so that not only was the mediaeval structure retained wherever possible, it also ensures a timeline if future generations re-expose the barrelled roof.

The lead roof was severely damaged by the falling granite and so whilst retaining the bells in place both the oak roof and leadwork over it was all carefully repaired.

The medieval curved ceiling has been re-plastered using traditional methods and materials matching that which was lost. This included taking moulds of the bosses and recasting them to exact replacements.

Internally Victorian pews and tiled floor were damaged by falling granite and these have been repaired but with a commemorative floor plaque set into the floor rather than new tiles.