Side Gates to the Rood Screen at St John’s Bath

Side Gates  in situ at St Johns in Bath

Two years ago the main Rood Screen at St John the Evangelist in Bath was fully restored and re-gilded. Since then we have been asked to quote for the restoration of the side screens and happily we have been commissioned to do the undertake the work to these beautifully made traditional iron folding gates. We are excited to have the opportunity to work on such a stunning piece of local heritage ironwork.

The job involves the removal and restoration of these panels that sit either side of the main alter in St Johns. They were originally made in 1905 and each gate has slightly different designs and motifs. There is some bomb damage with a scattering of shrapnel pock marks from when the neighbouring presbytery was badly damaged by a bomb which fell in 1942.

The gates are covered in an old shellac lacquer which will be removed as will any corrosion as part of the renovation. The one or two missing parts will be hand forged and replaced and it will be repainted in a matt black paint with gilded highlights to reflect similar gilding on the renovated rood screen.

Bath Abbey Lectern repair

Not a big project, but great to have the chance to work inside Bath’s beautiful Abbey repairing the foot of their historic lectern – here are some pics of Luke fitting new heavy-duty casters to the base. The inscription on the lectern reads…“Presented to the Bath Abbey Church on its restoration by Ann G Bligh as a memorial to her late beloved husband Richard Bligh who died Aug 19, 1869”


Restoration of gate, panels and overthrow at St Mary Tory, Bradford on Avon

This historic gate, overthrow and side panels belong to the St Mary Tory chapel in Bradford on Avon and date back to the early 1800’s. This painstaking and detailed work was carried out by Ironart’s restoration specialist Martin Smith alongside Nadfas conservation intern Cecilie Robinson.

Earlier this week we finished reinstalling the gates which look wonderful next to all the refurbished stonework. These pictures tell the story of the whole project from start to finish.

Contemporary forgework – The Poppy Panel, Clevedon

An album of images showing a lovely forged ‘Poppy Panel’ made earlier this year by the Ironart team.  This short section of decorative balustrading was inspired by Ironart’s impressive Meadow Gate project. It was designed to provide a division of space and focal point in a private courtyard garden in Clevedon (between Bristol and Weston Super Mare.)

This panel incorporates forged poppies, scrollwork, grasses, leaves and decorative fauna and was really fun to make. For more info on the Meadow gate which was the starting point for this design, follow this link. To talk to us about commissioning contemporary forged ironwork for your own home or garden please call Andy on 01225 311 273

Weathervane restoration, St Mary’s Mudford

We undertook the restoration of a cockerel weathervane at St Mary the Virgin Church in Mudford earlier this year for Sally Strachey Conservation. 

Ironart’s Martin Smith, and NHIG blacksmith Paul Ashmore, are pictured removing the cockerel from the church tower earlier in 2013. Paul was on a placement with Ironart through the NHIG (National Heritage Ironwork Group) and worked on this project alongside Martin (also pictured here)


Restoration of a weathervane – Holy Trinity Church, Cleeve

We’re currently working alongside Strachey Conservation to restore the weathervane from the spire of Holy Trinity Church in Cleeve, near Bristol. Our brief is to remove and completely restore the weather vane, which looks as if it has had extensive repairs with a variety of materials over it’s lifetime.  Martin went on site with James from Strachey where they were met with the difficult task of removing it. The weathervane had been fixed very steadfastly into the top of a beam 4ft below the roof, with a 40ft drop below to the belfry!

Ironart’s restoration plans for the weathervane include removing any corrosion, joining the two halves together with a threaded bar. Martin will remodel the missing cardinal point from scratch using original puddled wrought iron sheet before rivetting it back on. The whole weathervane will be painted to minimise future rusting and the cardinal points will be finished in gold leaf. We’ll post some pics of the finished weathervane here on the blog once it’s done.

Restoration of a church weathervane, Holy Trinity Church, Cleeve

The weathervane at the Holy Trinity Church, Cleeve

Restoration of a church weathervane, Holy Trinity Church, Cleeve

The view from the belfry


Weathervane restoration - Ironart of Bath

The Holy Trinity Church, Cleeve


Railing repairs at the ancient Saxon Church in Bradford on Avon

We’ve just finished restoring the gates and railings at the  Saxon Church in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire.  This little church is of national importance as one of the most complete Saxon buildings still in existence.  The stonework was decaying beneath the railings which had been individually leaded in. The pictures show ‘before’ and ‘after’ images of the railings in situ at the church.

For all wrought iron ecclesiastical restoration and repairs, please pick up the phone or send us an email to discuss your project.


St George’s Dragon gets a makeover

We have just finished restoring a highly unusual gilt weathervane. St George’s is the parish church of Easton in Gordano, in the deanery of Portishead. At the top of the church spire overlooking the Severn Bridge sits a majestic gilt dragon with a bright red mouth. Andy and the team here at Ironart were briefed to remove, refurbish and refit the dragon weathervane, with repairs also to the spire and the supply of new ‘Cardinal points’ (that’s the North, South, East and West letters below the weathervane).

The team here at Ironart were also asked to ensure the dragon was fixed securely in place with a locking  mechanism to stop him being lifted off in the strong sea winds that buffet the church spire throughout the year.

We entrusted Frome-based expert gilder Krysta Brooks with the task of restoring the characterful dragon to his former glory – and she did a truly wonderful job as the pictures attest. (Krysta also restores giltwood furniture, frames and antiques and can be contacted on 01373 461413).

NHIG Award for Blacksmithing Conservation

Ironart’s Jason Balchin recently started his metalwork restoration course at the National School of Blacksmithing in Hereford –  the NHIG Award for Blacksmithing Conservation. The vision behind the programme is to bring together the skills of excellent blacksmithing practice and professional conservation practice to provide unique and specialist training.  Andy was really keen to send a member of the Ironart team on the NHIG course to develop our expertise in this field. Examples of course modules will be:

  • History of Ironwork: Style, makers and heritage representative organisations.
  • Conservation Principles and Practise: Philosophy and ethics, approach and procedure
  • Environmental Issues: Working on Heritage sites, protection of work and environment

NHIG Award for Blacksmithing Conservation

Jason Balchin - drifting out a punched hole

The course commenced in May 2011 and runs alongside the full time course. Jason will attend a series of five ‘release’ weeks throughout the year. So far he has completed two weeks out of the five. Jason’s latest assignment was to choose an historic piece of ironwork, photograph and document it, develop technical drawings to replicate the piece. Jason chose the screen to the Lady Chapel in St Stephen’s Church in Manvers Street, Bath. Last week saw him making tongs, hardening and tempering medium carbon steel chisels and punches, firewelding and chainmaking. He trained for three days under Paul Allen FWCB. In this picture he is drifting out a punched hole in the horizontal rail from a railing sample to make it bigger.

Jason commenced work here at Ironart in September 2008, and holds a  B-Tech First Diploma in Art & Design from Somerset College of Art & Design. Prior to that he achieved a National B-Tech in Restoration and Blacksmithing from Herefordshire College. Jason is a skilled blacksmith who produces accurate and accomplished metalwork, we wish him every success with his course and look forward to sharing his newfound knowledge and skills.