In November 2021, the West Country Tiling team started work on the Isle of White’s Quarr Abbey reroof.

This distinctive place of worship was designed by Dom Bellot, a renowned monk-architect, and construction was completed in 1912. At that time the abbey cost £10,600 to build, in today’s money that is approximately £1.3 million.

The reroof project

The roof on the church at Quarr Abbey is an interesting construction, with no trusses or purlins to ruin the visual impact of the roof, but with very large section rafters instead. Between these rafters are traditional Hercules boards made from straw and plaster, dating back to the original construction in the early 1900’s. With distemper applied over the boards, these make up the visible internal ceiling of the abbey’s chapels. Some repair was carried out on the Hercules boards using Plaster of Paris, an unusual job for our master craftsmen.

There was also extensive timber work carried out to repair water damage. In buildings of this age, it is not unusual for water to seep through the porous brickwork and cause rot in the timber roof supports. 

Where there were flat lead roofs, we stripped off the lead, shipped it back to our HQ in Somerset and re-cast it in our sand-cast lead production facility, prior to being re-laid.

The abbey’s cast iron downpipes were replaced, and extensive restoration and decoration work was carried out on the many windows.  

Although there is no denying that Quarr Abbey is a magnificent piece of architecture, sadly the construction itself was all show and not very practical or efficient. Making this a very challenging re-roofing project.

Why choose West Country Tiling

Our master roofers have vast experience of working on historical roof restorations, if you need our experienced team to restore your roof, please get in touch on 01373 462 224 or by emailing us on