South Transept Rose window St Magnus Cathedral Orkney

South Transept Rose window, St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney. This project won us the top Restoration Award in the Stone Federation Natural Stone Awards – 2004

THE PROJECT

It was a project that was logistically testing, but all worked out in the end. 

The project involved the renewal of the South Transept rose window and stonework repairs to the clerestory stage.  There were also minor repairs to the Sessions House masonry, including rebuilding a pinnacle.

Existing stone in the rose window was measured and templates made.  The window was set out to full size in our yard.  The joints remained the same size as original.

The project involved collecting block stone from the head of Holland in St Ola on the Island and transporting it in 24 tonne loads down to our workshops in Northampton, where the stone was sawn and worked and then returned back to Orkney for fixing.

Problems were encountered while sawing the blocks because of quarrying difficulties that caused the blocks to shatter.  The blocks were quarried some 17 years ago and had been left out in the elements on the coast, so when it was time to use the stone, faults became obvious very quickly.  We had to saw many blocks in order to get unvented stone big enough for the Y sections in the tracery.  The window is 6.5m in diameter.  In those days we only had a small ASM saw, it was before the time of our two Pedrini Cnc machines that we could programme!  So all the sawing was done on one machine!  The sawyer was busy for weeks!

The original rose window was installed in 1856.  When our scaffolding went up, inspection showed the stone was in poor condition.  The stone had been put in on the bed the wrong way.  It was also a softer stone and believed to have come from the north of Scotland and not from the Island itself.  It was believed there was an iron band around the window, but when it was taken out, nothing was found.

The project was competed in 2004 and the new window went in without any further problems.  New glazing added the finishing touches.  It was a most enjoyable project for both our workshops in Northampton and for the masons fixing on site.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT US ON T: 01327 349081 OR E: website@bodenandward.co.uk
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