The Conservation Ethos Used

We have had quite a while to develop our personal conservation philosophies.

The basic philosophy used has been that of minimum intervention. To keep as much of the original fabric as possible. This has been more easy to achieve with the carpentry than the stonework albeit time consuming.

Any carved stone which has lost its surface detail but is sound we have kept. Some replacement to the glass line of the window but no further back have been completed. Many plastic repairs of stone dust mixed with hydraulic lime. Certain stones which have been wholly replaced were unsound to the core and for the ongoing maintenance of the building. I have taken the view that if a stone is likely to continue to disintegrate and was a standard component replacement was the viable option.

Sadly only areas of plaster remained and some subsequently were found to have painting on. Some of this plaster looks as if it should be removed and simply replaced but we have made the effort to keep it and consolidate it.

However our overall outlook on the conservation of the building is as follows:

The historic fabric should be repaired rather than replaced. This is far more time consuming and requires a greater degree of skill than simple replacement. Also the appropriate use of correct materials is essential

It is very important to inspect what you have on a regular basis as it is easy to overlook important discoveries and destroy them inadvertently.


All of the hardcore generated from the building work has gone into other local projects rather than landfill. All of the cardboard from packing materials has been recycled as with metals too. All of the waste wood from the project has been cut up on site and used as heating material. There has been a limited amount of un recyclable waste which has been such a small quantity it has been able to fit into our household wheelie bin each week. We have not had a single rubbish skip during the project and most recycled materials have traveled no more than a couple of miles to be re-used.

Some traditional features whilst looking very nice do not function as they should for more modern habitation standards. We had to reinstate all our iron casement windows so we choose to install casements with a modern profile and seal which will keep driving rain and the wind out. The traditional flat iron casements would have let the weather in. I firmly believe that you have to bring the building into a comfortable useable condition which will again help the survival of the building into the future.

There have been many advances in heating and electrical systems. We fully intend to bring the building right up to date with these. For instance the installation of a ground source heat pump coupled with under floor heating will mean that for every kilowatt of energy put into the system between 3 to 4 will be output. Coupled with a green source of electricity we will create a carbon neutral house. So a green system will be cheap to run and environmentally friendly again helping ensure the future viability of the building

So in essence anything that can be done to ensure that the building is economic to run by removing high maintenance issues and making the building cheap and comfortable to live in will help its survival

Before we moved in we held an open day, Local man Kevin McCloud opened the building for us. We had around 400 people visit with around 260 paying for guided tours. We raised £1800 for St Margaret's Hospice. The level of local interest has been extremely high and we feel very flattered.

Considering this is our private dwelling moving forward with local involvement has certain limitations but is not stopping us. We have visits arranged for The Somerset Building Preservation Trust, The Wells Natural History Group and The Somerset Branch of SPAB.

The house will be offered as an educational resource and has already proved as such through a link with the postgraduate degree programme in the Conservation of Historic Buildings at the University of Bath, whose Director of Studies has expressed interest in further contact in future.

We also have plans to start an traditional craft skills training centre here, so watch for progress on this matter.

In General we wish to involve the community in the building sharing its history with them and help people understand conservation, regeneration and energy/ green issues which can be incorporated too.