Finchingfield Guildhall awarded £10,000 in July 2010 towards archaeological excavations prior to the restoration project of the 15th century building.
By 2010 Finchingfield Guildhall was unusable, dangerous and on the At Risk Register. A major programme of repairs, refurbishment and restoration was planned; added impetus was given by the increasing rate of deterioration.
Work began on this fifteenth century, timber frame, Grade I listed building in December 2011. By early 2012 stripping out was well under way, removing cement render, concrete floors, old wiring and obsolete fittings. Historic materials were treated carefully, re-using and conserving wherever possible. Extensive original daub was discovered on the ground floor. Analysis of this, original lime plaster and paint allowed products to be created from the formulae revealed.
Throughout the build, the architect and contractor have striven for authenticity. Window designs are based on historic evidence of mullion holes, heads, cills and shutters.
A glass walkway is a new addition to an historic building, facilitating its modern, community use. Ground works for the structure revealed archaeological remains. A generous grant from Essex Heritage Trust paid for archaeological excavations and recording conducted by Mark Atkinson and his team, from Essex County Council Field Archaeology Unit.
After 18 months of work, Finchingfield Guildhall is transformed from a dilapidated, dangerous and dank building into a stunning community venue with library, museum and multi-purpose Guild Room. The volunteers of the Guildhall Trust and project team have been privileged to work with Kay Pilsbury Thomas Architects, Fairhurst Ward Abbotts conservation specialists and Press and Starkey surveyors. They are grateful to the Essex Heritage Trust, English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and all other generous donors.
More information, including hire of the Guild Room and Library opening hours, can be found at the website at http://www.finchingfieldguildhall.org.uk. Group visits are welcome – please contact the e-mail address above.