Working Party: Day 3

Blustery weather greeted visitors to Sullington Manor Farm this morning for the Working Party Public Open Day but that didn’t deter them from getting stuck into our hands-on displays.

Open Day demos

Visitors trying their hand at peg making

John and Henry Russell led a series of demos with their team that showcased traditional building techniques such as wattle and daub, timber hewing and peg making. Local blacksmith, Martin Fox demonstrated his craft to a rapt audience and Matt Ash talked the crowd through a Victorian window repair.

Working Party demos

Demos at the Working Party Open Day

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Henry Russell giving a timber hewing demonstration

There was a packed programme of talks and walks with Dave Green for the Sussex Moth Group kicking off the day with a fascinating lecture on the moths he had captured around Sullington the previous evening. Gail Kittle, owner of Sullington Manor, led tours around the farmstead throughout the day.

A highlight of the day was Geoff Gale abseiling down the exterior of the Saxon church, St Mary’s. He spent the day removing unsympathetic cement mortar that was causing damp issues inside the building.

Geoff Gale abseiling down the Saxon tower of St Mary's

Geoff Gale abseiling down the Saxon tower of St Mary’s

Inside the church, SPAB Guardian Rachel Morley spent the day applying a Victorian milk wash, which is a mix of limewash and milk, inside the church.

Work continued on in the cart shed, the lesser barn, the granary and the tithe barn. Most of the cement has been removed from the exterior of the tithe barn and volunteers have carried out beautiful tile repairs.

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Tile repairs on the tithe barn

For more photos around the site, please visit our Facebook page. The SPAB will be blogging from the Working Party site all week. Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss an update.

Hands-on History at the Working Party

Sullington Manor Farm

Historic Sullington Manor Farm near Storrington in West Sussex is the destination for our Working Party. Each year the SPAB decamps from its London HQ to put its advice and expertise into practice at a building in need. Conservation experts and volunteer heritage enthusiasts from all walks of life will descend on site for one week (Monday 6 July – Friday 10 July) to carry out vital maintenance and repair work on this important medieval survivor. We will be blogging everyday of the Working Party, subscribe for updates so you can keep up with the news on site.

Sullington Manor Farm is an ancient hillside farm settlement clustered around a Saxon church on the South Downs. The farmstead is a rare example of a once-frequent settlement model along the spring line on the north slope of the South Downs.  ‘Sullington’ is a Saxon word meaning ‘muddy place’ and the church, which forms part of the complex of buildings, has Saxon origins.

RE Nov 2014 Sullington tithe barn

The SPAB team will be carrying out low-level repairs on several buildings during the week, including cart sheds, barns, a granary and a church. There will be a free public open day on Wednesday 8 July, 10am-5pm. It will be a chance to see conservation in action, tour the ancient site and have a go at hands-on activities. There will be a day-long programme of talks and walks about old buildings, old farms, bats and butterflies and about historic Sullington. You can have a go at brick making, peg making and much more.