St Laurence is built from Rowington stone quite possibly quarried from a local site on the perimeter of the village. Rowington stone is a sedimentary limestone and has some distinctive qualities in terms of its slightly patchy red hue arising from what seems to be a trace content of iron however the stone is quite soft in nature and is prone to weathering and flaking.
In the early months of 2017 one of the 'kneeler' stones located on the South Eastern corner of the East Isle failed causing a substantial fall of masonry. The failure caused four large 'table' (coping) stones to fall to the ground, thankfully no one was injured as a result.
After discussions with the Conservation Architect is was agreed to replace both kneeler stones to each corner of the gable and replace the fractured fallen table stones. The grey Rowington stone is difficult to match as a result of its colour and soft texture however a suitable stone was acquired from Hillhouse Edge Quarry, Holmfirth near Huddersfield.
Two large sections of stone were used to create the replacement kneeler stones with a combined weight of some 1.1 tonnes. Master Mason Mark and Assistant Mason Rebecca worked the sections of stone with an agreed upgrade of design in order to prevent future failures. The new design incorporated a substantial heel section designed to check and hold the weighty row of table stones above it. Four large rectangular sections of 'Cove' red sandstone were sourced from the Worcester/Bromsgrove area and chamfers were put onto the stone to match the existing fallen stonework.
A Telehandler was used to lift the finished stone sections onto the scaffolding and a simple roller and lever system was used to move the masonry to where it was needed however the soft ground created an additional challenge.
The replacement kneeler stones were finally lifted into place with a block and tackle and bedded on a lime sand mortar to match existing as closely as possible. The four replacement table stones were similarly lifted into place and bedded in the same way.
The replacement table stones can be seen on the gallery photos below above the 'left hand' kneeler stone.