New contractor to take over Delapre Abbey restoration in Northampton

Restoration work at Delapre Abbey
Restoration work at Delapre Abbey

A new contractor has been appointed to carry out the remaining restoration work on Northampton’s Delapre Abbey.

Robert Woodhead won the bid to take on the £6.3 million project after a tendering process which involved a shortlist of six firms.

Work on the abbey’s roof to prevent water damage and allow for the first stages of the main restoration has already been completed by Warkton, thanks to a £200,000 grant from English Heritage.

Robert Woodhead will now begin ordering materials for the first phase of the main restoration.

Archaeological work has also taken place in the Grade II listed building’s cellars and has uncovered various historical items, including a clay pipe from the late 18th or early 19th centuries, two 19th century glass pharmaceutical phials, and a shard of a 16th or 17th century earthenware platter.

The space will now be converted into a plant room to provide power for the restored building.

Funding for the restorations has been provided by The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which has pledged £3.65 million, as well as Northampton Borough Council and other sources.

The council’s cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, Tim Hadland, said: “Now that work to repair the roof is reaching a conclusion, we’ll be able to get down to the real job in-hand – bringing the abbey back into public use.

“The restoration is a long-term project and, as such, will take place in phases as funds allow. The first phase will be to restore some of the building’s most impressive spaces to their former glory.

“We are most grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund, and English Heritage, whose sizeable contributions have made this work possible.”

Simon Butler, Woodhead heritage conservation manager, said: “Delapre Abbey is a beautiful building, with an exciting history, dating back to its foundation as a Cluniac monastery in the 12th century.

“We are looking forward to working with architects, Purcell, the Friends of Delapre Abbey, and clients Northampton Borough Council to bring this important local landmark back to life.”