Shropshire Conservation Team Undertake Major Restoration Work in Transylvania
A team of local building restoration craftsmen from Shropshire and Herefordshire are currently helping to conserve the traditional Saxon heritage of central Transylvania, as part of an EU funded South Shropshire District Council lifelong learning project. Craftsmen Ken Milloy from Ludlow and Phil Steventon from Brimfield have teamed up with John Lansdell from Longnor and Treasures of Ludlow carpenters Andy Greatwich and Greig Smith to restore an ancient church and farm buildings near the village of Viscri set in the foothills of the Carpathian mountains.
The conservation specialists all using hand tools and locally available materials have split into three teams. The first group are raising an old timber barn that has sunk into a marsh at the edge of the village and then setting about its restoration. The second group are helping conserve the fortifications of a medieval church at Bunest. SSDC Building Inspector John Marston a former local stone mason has brought those skills back to the fore at this site to rebuild a collapsed defensive tower. The third element of the project is the undertaking of an archaeological dig below the town walls of the citadel at Sighiosara, which is led by Bill Klemperer of English Heritage and Clee Hill archaeologist Glynn Barratt. The skills demonstrated are helping to teach both local village builders and carpentry students from Hereford College of Technology Lewis Mather, Jaron Macaulay and Joe Richards, fundamental principles in the art of building conservation.
The project is led by Colin Richards conservation officer at South Shropshire Council and is linked to the restoration of Ludlow’s town walls where the major grant giving bodies English Heritage and the Heritage lottery fund require education and skills training to be integral to any award of grant.
It is intended that such partnership projects which involve key craftsmen in the community and governmental organisations can provide the basis to hand on precious skills to young people at home and abroad and in so doing they in turn can help maintain the unique heritage of the Welsh Marches.
To further this work and develop other links to community life through the Ludlow based Skillbuilders organisation , local Ludlow town councillor and furniture maker Graeme Perks is overseeing and helping construct a new bench for the magnificent church in Viscri village. The above represents a summary of the first weeks work, more will follow on the team’s return to the UK.