Cowan Architects begin restoration works on Christ Church, Fairwarp – the only church on the Ashdown Forest

Cowan Architects has been successfully involved in restoration work on parts of Christ Church, Fairwarp, notable as the only church on the Ashdown Forest, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The church is a beautiful Grade II listed building built from local Wealden Sandstone and Jonathan Cerowski of Cowan Architects was appointed as the church’s Inspecting Architect in 2018. Since then, permission has been gained for works to repair the outside of the building and the replacement of the aging heating and electrical systems.

A new heating and electrical system has been designed and is currently being installed before the winter months. It complements the interior of the church without damaging the historic built fabric and incorporates an area to the rear of the church for a potential tea point and meeting area. It also includes low surface temperature perimeter radiators below the pews to prevent the congregation, particularly children, burning themselves. The radiators that are visible above pews are ‘flat panel’ and, coloured to match the walls on which they sit in order to minimise the visual impact of the heating system, whilst maximising the usability of the building.

The exterior masonry of the church is suffering from worn and lost pointing. Cowan’s Conservation and Heritage team has worked with a local mason to develop a suitable lime mortar mix (preparing samples of the mortar on a pier of the walls surrounding the church) ahead of repointing the entire exterior of the building. Having now received approval from Chichester Diocesan Advisory Committee, these works will begin in Spring 2020 when the weather is more favourable for working with lime mortar.