West wall restoration


West wall restoration


After the Catholic Apostolic Church moved out, the building deteriorated until there was water running down the walls. In the 1990s The Friends organisation and the Mansfield Traquair Trust were set up to seek the rescue and restoration of the building and murals.

From 2000 to 2002 the building was restored and renovated changing its use to the active place it is today.

From 2003 to 2005 the murals were restored. Phoebe Anna Traquair’s mural technique was ingenious and would have withstood the ravages of time, had not the church fallen into disrepair allowing water and damp to get into the building and start to destroy the paintings.

Waterborne salts, sometimes running over the painted surface, caused areas of plaster and paint to fall off the walls. Efforts at limiting the loss of the decoration were made over the years, and large vulnerable areas were protected with ‘facing tissue’ applied with gelatine solution.

When the construction restoration contract was completed, the building was allowed to dry out slowly to avoid further loss of adhesion of plaster and paint and to allow much of the salts to come to the surface before restoration began.

Funding also had to be found to pay for the restoration. A generous private donor allowed the conservators to proceed with restoration of the discrete area of the south aisle. This area, which contained painting on wood and on plaster, was used as an experimental area to confirm the techniques which would be used overall.

Thanks to the generous funding provided by Historic Scotland, a complete conservation of the murals was begun in 2003 by a team of two conservators and three interns or trainees. The work took two and a half years to complete and provided an excellent training experience.

The conservation involved the following procedures:

  • Securing all loose and weak plaster
  • Securing all loose and weak paint
  • Cleaning the paintings
  • Dealing with cracks and plaster losses
  • Recreating missing areas of the decoration and the raised work
  • Re-varnishing

The project required specialised structural scaffolds to access the west wall and chancel arch. The restoration work in the nave and chancel was carried out in a working building and was often stopped for events.

Restoration Funding

The Trust acknowledges the steadfast support of its principal funders, the National Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland.

The Trustees of the Mansfield Traquair Trust would also like to thank warmly the following for their generous donations:

  • Architectural Heritage Fund
  • The Cattanach Trust
  • The Dunard Fund
  • The Eda, Lady Jardine Charitable Trust
  • The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
  • The Ernest Cook Trust
  • The Garfield Weston Foundation
  • The Getty Foundation
  • The Gordon Fraser Trust
  • The Idlewild Trust
  • The Inches Carr Trust
  • The Headley Trust
  • The Lloyds TSB Foundation
  • The Nancie Massey Charitable Trust
  • The Pilgrim Trust
  • The Radcliffe Trust
  • The Robertson Trust
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Scottish & Newcastle
  • Scottish Widows Plc
  • Standard Life

Other charitable trusts and foundations who wish to remain anonymous and many individual donors.