University Church of St Mary the Virgin

  • University Church of St Mary the Virgin

  • University Church of St Mary the Virgin Church

  • University Church of St Mary the Virgin

  • University Church of St Mary the Virgin Church

A sensitive restoration and building refurbishment of an historically important 13th century church.


As this was a highly visited and important historical church in the centre of Oxford, a sensitive approach to this project was crucial. Initial work involved erecting a 200-foot scaffold to clean and repair the stonework up to the spire. Birdcage scaffolding was erected internally to enable cleaning and repairs to be made to the base and interior of the 13th century tower along with the Chancel, the Adam de Brome Chapel and the Nave. It was a priority that the Church was modernised with a new mechanical and electrical systems which could support the church’s special needs and demands. A platform lift and disabled access toilets were installed, the parish kitchen and Sunday school were refurbished and mains services were replaced with new heating, lighting and electrics.

Throughout the project, public safety was a huge concern for Beard and careful planning, co-operation and teamwork with the client, the design team and the many specialists involved was essential to its success.


  • Access and public safety in a live visitor environment
  • Protection of the fragile structure of the building
  • Meeting the client’s deadlines


Specially designed scaffolding required complex planning and consultation to ensure that it could be safely erected without pulling the tower down and endangering members of the public. To ensure the refurbishment was finished on time so that important public areas could be opened as early as possible, our project team hands-on managed every works detail, implemented strong technical phasing and closely co-ordinated all specialists and trades involved in the scheme.

“The beauty of the church has really been brought out.” 

Rev Canon Brian Mountford, Church of St Mary the Virgin



The University Church of St Mary the Virgin

Contract value

£3.4 million


Caroe Architecture

Quantity Surveyor

Peter North and Partners

Contract duration

56 weeks

Form of contract

JCT Standard with Quantities

Procurement Method


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