£36,000 Historic England grant supports repair of Grade II* listed former St Andrews Chapel in Boxley, Kent

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Historic England has awarded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) a £36,188 grant in support of the Old House Project – a conservation-led repair of the Grade II* listed former St Andrews Chapel in Boxley, Kent.

Photos available © Historic England: https://photos.app.goo.gl/g4YNc7wZwcsqHbyq7

The grant is helping to fund the design of an engineering solution to reinforce the west corner of the building, and investigation work around the reasons for structural movement which has occurred over the past 500 years.

St Andrews Chapel, near Maidstone, dates back to the late 15th century and forms part of the wider monastic landscape at Boxley Abbey. Though originally used for worship it was converted to a house early on. In its history it has housed a relic of St Andrew, was owned by Tudor poet Thomas Wyatt, and acted as a local post office between the 1930s and 1970s. It has been empty since 1970. It was built from local Kentish ragstone and extended over time to suit its many uses, including the addition of a timber-framed wing.

The building is on the Heritage at Risk Register and was purchased by the SPAB in 2018. The Old House Project is giving people the opportunity to get involved in hands-on conservation and craft skills training, following the Society’s ethos of sensitive repair.

Marion Brinton, Partnerships Team Leader at Historic England, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the SPAB with their sensitive repair of the former St Andrews Chapel building. The many layers of history are evident in every room and by properly investigating the best way to support and repair the structural issues identified, we can ensure the correct solution is found to allow this building to live on.”

Matthew Slocombe, Director of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), said: “The biggest threat to St Andrews, as a Grade II* listed building 'at risk', is the significant bulge in its west wall. This area of wall could easily have collapsed. With voluntary help SPAB has been able to introduce temporary propping, but we are enormously grateful to Historic England for their assistance in developing a permanent structural solution. Their grant and technical input has supported the preparation of a repair strategy for the wall. We hope to be in a position to implement the repair work during 2022, with the aim of conserving the wall rather than rebuilding it.”

Investigative work by a range of specialists including from Historic England, the SPAB, and Malcolm Fryer Architects is underway so that together we can understand the contributing factors for the structural movement and supports can be installed over the summer to pin the gable wall of the west wing back to the main structure of the building.

Historic England Archive photos from the 1990s have helped confirm that much of the movement is historic and has not changed significantly in recent years.

Follow the progress of the Old House Project and find out ways to get involved - https://www.spab.org.uk/old-house-project



Images are available to download from: https://photos.app.goo.gl/g4YNc7wZwcsqHbyq7


For further information please contact:

Celia Knight at Historic England on celia.knight@historicengland.org.uk / 020 7973 3255


Notes to Editors


Architect and Lead Consultant: Malcolm Fryer Architects

Consultant Conservation Structural Engineer: The Morton Partnership

Consultant Archaeologist: Keevill Heritage

Consultant Conservation Contractor and Cost Estimator: Owlsworth IJP

Geotechnical Investigations and Reporting (including sitework): SOCOTEC

Building Control Strategic Historic Building Consultancy: East Suffolk Council


Repair Grants for Heritage at Risk

Historic England gives grants for the repair and conservation of listed buildings, scheduled monuments and registered parks and gardens. This includes project development actions which enable repair or improved future management. Our Heritage at Risk programme protects and manages the historic environment. The public body works with owners, friends groups, developers and other stakeholders to find solutions for ‘at risk’ historic places and sites across England.

About Historic England

We are Historic England the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories these places tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all. We fundraise from individuals, charitable trusts and foundations and public sector bodies to enable us to deliver those aspects of our work that are not funded by our Government grant.

About the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB)

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) was founded by William Morris 145 years ago to care for and protect the UK’s architectural heritage. Since its foundation, SPAB has been committed to maintenance matters, in line with William Morris’ call to: “Stave off decay by daily care.” Today it is a dynamic organisation, and registered charity (no. 231307), taking building conservation into the future. To find out more visit www.spab.org.uk

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