Our specialist roofer Michael Watson, recently completed a variety of complex and detailed lead workings on the Grade I listed St Sampson’s church in Cricklade, Wiltshire.


Cricklade was a thriving town as far back as the Saxon era and there has been a church on this site since at least AD 890. It is dedicated to St Sampson, who was born in Wales in the late 5th century and became the first Bishop of Dol in Brittany, and is only one of five churches in England dedicated to him.

The Domesday Book of 1086 records that the church was built on land held by Westminster Abbey. This medieval building has a striking perpendicular tower with large octagonal turrets in each corner dating from the late 12th century, but with elements remaining from the original Anglo-Saxon church.

St Sampson’s lead covered nave

The stonework that has survived from the Anglo-Saxon era can be found in the south wall of the nave. The nave traditionally forms the main body of a Christian church and extends from the entrance to the transept. At St Sampson’s the nave roof is covered with sand-cast lead.

St Sampson’s was last re-roofed in the Victorian era and this essential work was required because the length of the bays had over-stressed the laps, particularly on the ridge, resulting in splits appearing in the lead. The essential refurbishment work we carried out on St Sampson’s church focused on stripping the existing lead, recasting it using our own sand-cast facility and then re-covering the nave roof using the recycled lead.

Michael used his 45 years of knowledge to boss the lead. Bossed lead is first stretched and then compressed to create the shapes required, this is a very difficult craft to master.

On the recast lead guttering, we needed to use Code 9 lead for two of the bays in the box gutter to avoid having to use a T-Pren joint (neoprene expansion strip). The pitched lead roof was formed with hollow rolls at a 30-degree pitch.  These were taken straight over the ridge, a very complex and specialist lead bossing skill mastered by Michael.

Why choose West Country Tiling

With over 30 years’ experience of working on numerous ecclesiastical projects, our Master Roofers have extensive knowledge of stripping, recasting and repurposing lead.

If you have a roofing project that requires the use of high-quality sand-cast lead please get in touch on 01373 462 224 or by emailing us on info@westcountrytiling.com.