Dating from 1448, the Chantry, in Walkergate, is Alnwick’s oldest domestic building and also the first school in the town, founded in the sixteenth century. Later it was divided into houses but fell into ruin in the nineteenth century. It was in danger of collapse by the mid 1990s and on the Buildings at Risk register when we were approached to report on it.
Having carried out historic research to establish its heritage value, we gained grant support from English Heritage and led the conservation project, which included removing rampant vegetation and stabilising the ruin, parts of which had to be rebuilt. The whole monument was repointed using lime based mortars and the project included historical research, archaeological excavation as well as mortar analysis (clay mortar was discovered in the gable walls). A presentation board and attractive new gate were also designed (below). Visitors walking the town trail can now enjoy views of the historic interior, with its cross passage and wild flowers.