The church of St Sannan in Caerphilly has endured for almost 800 years. In its millennium-spanning life, it’s taken a tremendous beating from the elements and the failure of earlier attempts at restoration. By the time we arrived, this venerable building was in a bit of a state. Previous attempts to rectify the building’s problems has actually exacerbated the problem, although the people who attempted those repairs can’t be held entirely to account; the building itself caused significant complications to restore.
The peculiar structure of St Sannan’s caused lots of problems. The two 13th century naves are separated by a stone arcade, with the north aisle sporting a medieval oak roof whilst the south nave had high collared roofs. The sheer weight of the latter had been pressing down on the south end of the church for 10 lifetimes when we arrived on the scene and we could see immediately that this had caused our predecessors problems.
It was quickly apparent that we were going to have to be inventive and use our experience. The walls had become increasingly divergent as time went by, which meant that the timber arches had a much bigger diameter than originally. What was worse, it wasn’t a consistent variance. And even though the overall length had remained constant, the height gradually reduced from one end to the other. In addition to this construction nightmare was the fact that we had to maintain the building’s original character and correct earlier mistakes. Never willing to back down from a challenge, we got to work!
Our principle job in this business was to manufacture and install a series of primarily decorative arches in oak. Now, this isn’t an easy task to begin with, and when you’re looking at doing it in the conditions we’ve already described, it becomes very interesting indeed. It was an immense task; it took four months to source enough green oak with the correct curvature! Still, it was worth it in the end; after lots of out-the-box thinking, hard work and perseverance, our contribution not only looked great, it saved the roof!
After close consultation with the local authority conservation department A R Manley & Son Ltd were asked to manufacture the specialist joinery for the conversion of a former school into a café at a popular South Shropshire Farm Museum, the work consisted of two windows, new entrance porch and door, new bell tower and an oak fire surround.
A R Manley & Son Ltd were commissioned to manufacture and install and architect designed spiral cantilevered staircase to an award winning house on the outskirts of Shrewsbury, Shropshire. The stairs were manufactured in European Oak with metal balustrading.