Nunney Church project shortlisted for award

King of Prussia Gold Medal 2017
King of Prussia Gold Medal 2017

All Saints Church Nunney is on a shortlist of 5 innovative, high quality church conservation of repair projects for the 2017 King of Prussia Gold Medal.

King of Prussia Gold Medal 2017
King of Prussia Gold Medal 2017

Run by the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association and the National Churches Trust, the award is for architects and projects that have successfully overcome a major aesthetic or technical challenge.

Five entries have been shortlisted:

  • All Saints, Nunney, Somerset – Replacement of historic waggon roof – Benjamin + Beauchamp Architects
  • St Cuthbert, Kentmere, Cumbria – Complete re-roofing – John Coward Architects
  • St Mark, Leeds, Yorkshire – Interior restoration and fabric repairs – Richard Crooks Partnership
  • St Pancras, London – Restoration of teracotta portico – Arts Lettres Techniques and Benjamin + Beauchamp Architects
  • St Peter and St Paul, Blandford Forum, Dorset – Conservation and repair of cupola – Benjamin + Beauchamp Architects

Projects are eligible if they have been completed within the last three years or after the Practical Completion stage in their development. The award is open to church buildings of all Christian denominations in the UK.

The scheme must have been funded by a grant or loan from the National Churches Trust, or would have been eligible for such a grant or load, and completed within the last three years.

When the new nave ceiling was still under construction. (photo: David Scrutton)
When the new nave ceiling was still under construction. (photo: David Scrutton)


The winning architect will receive the King of Prussia Gold Medal, the gift of King Frederick William IV of Prussia (1795 – 1861) to the Incorporated Church Building Society in 1857.

The award has been made annually since the early 1980s, when the medal was re-discovered during an office move.

The medal is held by the winning architect for one year and afterwards a silver replica is provided. The winning church or chapel will receive a £500 prize.

Nunney Church
Nunney Church had a ‘temporary’ ceiling for over 60 years.
Spoilt for choice

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said: “I’m delighted at the quality and range of the projects entered for the 2017 Church Architecture Awards which show clearly how church architecture makes a major contribution to the visual landscape of villages, towns and cities.”

“This year our shortlist includes stunning modern buildings, highly creative solutions to repair and conservation work, and projects which reinterpret and bring back to life existing churches. Our judges really are spoilt for choice and I look forward to the winners being announced on 26 October 2017.”

The architect and the scheme judged to be the winner will be announced by Prince Nicholas von Preussen at an Awards Ceremony at St Mellitus College, London SW5 on Thursday 26 October 2017.

Also at the Awards Ceremony, the winners of the Presidents’ Award for new church architecture will be announced by the Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO ARIBA.

The National Churches Trust website describes the Nunney project as follows:

All Saints, Nunney, Somerset – replacement of historic waggon roof

The church with its new nave ceiling were rededicated by the Bishop of Bath and Wells in May 2017.
The church with its new nave ceiling were rededicated by the Bishop of Bath and Wells in May 2017.
Architect – Benjamin + Beauchamp Architects
Principle Contractor and other professional team members involved:
C&L Pearce Contractors

The village of Nunney is situated at the east end of the Mendip Hills close to the town of Frome in Somerset. At the heart of the village is the Grade I Listed church which sits close by and overlooks the medieval moated castle. It is one of five churches currently within the parish of Postlebury.

The nave aisles, tower and transept are medieval with a C19 chancel and sacristy. For many visitors to the village their first was accurately summed up as ‘lovely church shame about the roof!’

The nave roof has been subject to much alterations over the centuries but by the end of the C19 the medieval roof was known to be in very poor condition. Eventually as a consequence of severe and considered at the time, irreparable decay, a decision was made in 1958 to install a replacement roof.

The new roof was a steel framed agricultural truss covered in bitumous felt and was installed as a temporary measure. In 1967 the unsightly steel frame was hidden behind a suspended ceiling, whilst in 1973 the failing bitumous felt was removed and replaced with concrete slates.

b2 architects and Mann Williams Structural Engineers developed proposals for how to reinstate the waggon roof’s shape. The barrel vault was constructed from a series of ceiling ribs built up of three layers of plywood to form continuous ribs along the length of the nave. The four new dormers bring light into the nave and reinstate the two lost dormers on the north side and the two lost clerestory windows on the south side.

A new cornice, based on the surviving sections in the west porch, was reintroduced. The nave’s stonework was lightly cleaned and the space relit to a design by Paul Covell, the lighting consultant. The works were undertaken by Lee Pearce, a local contractor over a period of nine months.

Prior to construction commencing on site, conservation work was needed to stabilise the medieval wall painting of St George situated at the west end of the nave’s north arcade. The conservation of the painting was carried out by Ruth McNeilage who successfully removed the superficial layers of dirt attached to the surface of the painting. UV glass in the new windows was a further part of the conservation strategy.


The successful completion of the Nunney Church Raise the Roof Appeal would not have been possible if the Friends of Nunney Church had waited to raise the full sum needed.

As a result, around £20,000 still needs to be raised. If you would like to make a donation to complete the project, there is a chest in the church.

Cheques should be sent to Ken Lloyd or Hilary Allom made out to ‘Postlebury PCC Friends of Nunney Church’ and there is a donate button on the appeal’s website at

You can also get updates on the Friends who like Nunney Church Raise the Roof Appeal page on Facebook.