Terne coated Stainless Steel Cupola
On Saffron Walden Castle
We were contacted by the specialist restoration and heritage builders commissioned to restore the keep of this Norman castle, to provide a Terne Coated Stainless Steel Cupola to cover the keep. The castle was constructed between 1141 and 1143, but suffered at the hands of Henry II who ordered the castle to be partly demolished in 1157. It’s likely the keep was still under construction at that time Henry II sent his army to demolish it and thus there may never have been a roof on the keep.
Some earlier restoration work had been carried out, hence the brickwork you can see here, but during this period of restoration, after we created this cupola (capping), the brickwork was recovered with the flint work to match the rest of the castle.
The architects specified they wish to have the cupola created in Terne Coated Stainless Steel, often referred to has TCS and asked for it to be created in the traditional batten capping style. The cupola was to ensure that the restorations works carried out beneath were never again open to the elements and thus further erosion.
The relatively modern Stainless Steel material may seem like a odd choice when restoring a castle built in the 1100’s, but Terne Coat Stainless Steel will eventually weather down and patina to a colour similar to lead.
Obviously the keep roof is not easily accessible without putting up scaffold and thus the Stainless Steel Cupola, which is likely to require no maintenance at all for several lifetimes, was a sensible choice.
Terne Coated Stainless Steel is now regularly used in the restoration of ecclesiastical and heritage works such as cathedrals, churches, castles and stately homes, where it blends in with its lead like appearance.
In addition stainless steel is very light, is virtually indestructible, difficult to remove, has a very low scrap value and thus deters theft.
The base timber framework, leadwork and flint work surround on the keep were all carried out by other craftsmen, whom we worked beside whilst constructing the stainless steel cupola.