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Why repair work is needed

The West Tower of St Mary's Church provides an iconic image that most Purtonians will be familiar with. This 3-storey bell tower was built in the 15th Century and has stood the test of time well over its 500 or so years. However, it is showing its age and some of the stonework needs attention both for conservation and safety reasons.

In the 2013 and 2018 Quinquennial Inspections our architect flagged up decay to the mortar on which the West tower parapet capping stones are bedded. On a more recent inspection in September 2020 he also identified a number of instances of failed pointing to the mortar joints of the parapet wall masonry, particularly at the junction with the parapet gutter. He recommended that all these mortar defects should be repaired within 12 months to prevent loosening of the masonry which could affect the overall integrity of the parapet structure.

 

Part of the parapet wall showing decayed masonry and loss of mortar on joints.

The 2018 Quinquennial Inspection also found that the upper stones on the NW pinnacle on the West tower were loose due to decayed masonry/mortar. The situation became worse in early 2020 and urgent action was taken to remove the upper stones in May 2020 so that there was no risk of any loose stones falling. The removed stones were stored for future possible reinstatement.

NW pinnacle after removal of upper stones for safety