Company supplies Blue Lias limestone for sensitive restoration of St Mary’s Church in Cardiff
THE sensitive repair of an historic and treasured local church in Cardiff has been made possible through the donation of specialist Blue Lias limestone by Tarmac.
Built in the 13th century, St Mary’s Church, Caerau, is a Grade II listed building that has suffered collapse and storm damage over recent years.
A project led by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) has seen the heritage charity working with the local community and volunteers across Wales to sensitively repair the church, in line with good conservation practice.
As part of a wider project led by Cardiff University and supported by Cadw (the historic environment service of the Welsh Government), work at St Mary’s involved undertaking research to identify materials used in the original construction.
Mortar analysis identified Blue Lias limestone as the most compatible material for repair and Tarmac were keen to step in and help out with a donation from their Aberthaw Quarry.
The work also involved reviving a small, traditional lime kiln at St Fagans National Museum of History, which had not been used for some years, to transform the limestone donated by Tarmac into hydraulic quicklime. This was mixed with local aggregates to create mortar that was used in the repair, replicating the ancient materials believed to have been used when the church was first built.
Tarmac cement plant manager Stuart Escott said: ‘It’s a privilege to have played a part in the repair of St Mary’s Church, as an ancient building that is well loved in the community. The team who have worked on this project have really gone the extra mile to ensure the repair is completed sympathetically.
‘By donating the Blue Lias limestone, Tarmac have been able to support these efforts, using local authentic materials to restore a part of our local history.’
SPAB director Matthew Slocombe added: ‘We’re extremely grateful to Tarmac who made a significant contribution to this important project.’
The donation of Blue Lias limestone for the restoration of St Mary’s Church is just one example of the wider heritage work Tarmac have carried out within their local communities, including the recent restoration of local war memorials and support for an archaeological project at Lochinver Quarry that uncovered significant Roman artefacts.