Preserving the past.

Sally Strachey Historic Conservation is a company well accustomed to spending time in and around churches.

Newley stablisied and equipped with underfloor heating – the new pew-free nave at Bath Abbey looks huge!

After all the repair and conservation work they have been doing at Bath Abbey – months spent working on hundreds of stone memorial slabs – the task facing them next week – at St Mary’s in Upper Swainswick – won’t be anything like as arduous.

However, it’s going to be a delicate operation and – as one of the stone tombs involved is on the verge of collapse – a very delicate one too.

From Monday, conservators from the company will be looking at repairing and restoring two Grade 11 listed chest tombs which date from the early 18th century.

They are grand, finely carved tombs and represent good examples of the styles of monumental architecture of the time.

One of them still has enough legible writing to show it marks the final resting place of Catherine Hayes. The other – though highly decorated – has no name remaining.

The work is being paid for by The Pilgrim Trust and Churchcare.

St Mary’s is a Grade 2* listed building with parts dating to the 12th century.

It is known as the final resting place of John Wood the Elder and other members of his family which may include his son – John Wood the Younger.

The Woods gave Bath such lasting Georgian showpieces as the Royal Crescent, the Circus and Queen Square.

It’s hoped the restoration of the ledger stones marking their graves will be carried out later this year.