A MAJOR conservation project has just been completed on one of Herefordshire’s most picturesque and historic buildings.

The 14th century moated house of Lower Brockhampton, on the Brockhampton Estate, just outside Bromyard, has spent the past two months under wraps as repairs took place due to water ingress during heavy downpours.

Visitor services manager for the National Trust property Susan Brace explained: “Every time we had heavy rain, water was coming through and running down the inside of the walls. We’ve just got two more coats of lime-wash to go and we’re done. The scaffolding came down about two-weeks ago and it’s starting to look like its old self.”

Local firm Hill Valley Restoration - specialists in these types of projects - were called in at the end of April to ensure the work was completed using authentic period techniques and materials.

Luckily, the medieval house’s location in the rolling, green hills of Herefordshire served it well. Giant oaks were cut down for the timber frame and clay and sticks were gathered from the nearby countryside for the wattle and daub panels.

The work itself proved the perfect opportunity for visitors to find out more about construction techniques used when the house was built back in 1380.

“It stayed open so people could see how, for instance, wattle and daub was made and the real bare bones of the building,” said Mrs Brace. “You could see from the outside what was going on. We constructed viewing panels on the inside of the rooms and did a display as well.

“Most people did not feel they were missing out but were incredibly supportive. We were able to say to our visitors ‘This is where your money goes - to keep this ancient house sanding for hopefully another 700 years’.”

Rachael Johnstone, senior building surveyor for the project, said: “This has been a great example of conservation repair work that is ‘going local’. We have used a skilled local craftsman and materials sourced from the estate.”

The house was originally built for John Domulton, a descendent of the Brockhampton family - who had lived on the site from at least the 12th century.

The last major restoration project took place in 1871 but further repairs to the walls of the building also took place in 1947 and some repairs to the front in the 1990s.

Mrs Brace said she hoped the next project to get underway at Brockhampton would give the house some real warmth.

“It’s nothing definite yet but we’re very much hoping to get the fires lit in the Great Hall by Christmas,” she said. “There’s a great big fireplace there and we’re looking at getting the go-ahead and the funding.”

The estate is a popular destination throughout the year and regularly holds special events including Tudor-themed family weekends, complete with appearances by Henry VIII, and bat-walks, in which visitors can get up close and personal with the estate’s nocturnal inhabitants.

The restoration was funded completely by the National Trust through membership fees and other sources of income.

For more information on opening times and admission prices visit nationaltrust.org.uk/brockhampton or call 01885 488099.