Set within Wells Cathedral in the heart of the picturesque City of Wells in Somerset, The Bishop’s Palace is a series of medieval buildings widely regarded as England’s most impressive bishop’s residence still in use.

The project comprised of a new tea room/shop and extensive refurbishment of existing buildings including the thirteenth century undercroft. As architects of such a historically important project, Caroe & Partners were meticulous in their use of authentic building techniques and traditional materials. While oak boarding and bronze finish copper were used for the walls and roof respectively, Lovell Purbeck’s Purbeck Capstone was selected for the new undercroft floor.

Knowing that Purbeck Capstone has been the first choice flooring material for ecclesiastical buildings for centuries, Caroe & Partners were confident they had specified a material which would contribute to the authenticity they wanted to achieve. As a flooring material it is extremely durable, even in heavily trafficked areas it is proven to give centuries of wear. This achieved the additional benefit of minimising the whole life cost of the floor.

The building work was carried out by C.S Williams Ltd. of Taunton, a firm with wideranging experience of conservation work. Lovell Purbeck supplied them with 180m2 of 20mm thick Purbeck Capstone in 400/500/600mm gauged widths with random lengths. Unusually, the architect chose a matt finish for the stone rather than honed, but with their fully automated tile production line, Lovell Purbeck were happy to oblige.

Jonathan Saunders, Partner at Caroe & Partners said, “After much research we found that Purbeck Capstone had the ideal balance of appearance and serviceability for the replacement floor in the Bishop’s Palace Undercoft and builds on a long tradition of its use for stone flooring in ecclesiastical buildings. Lovell Purbeck supplied stone of a high quality and the company was efficient and flexible to deal throughout the process. The finished result is widely admired by the wide range of users at the Palace.”