Commissions - Forest Woodcraft, Kent Carpentry and Joinery

The Littlebourne Lantern

Recently, we were asked to take a look at a 'lantern' structure at an old manor house in Littlebourne, Kent. The lantern gets its name from its distinctive shape, and sits high on the roof of the old building, exposed to the elements.

Made entirely of green oak, the structure had fallen into disrepair after its many seasons' of service, and we were asked to give it an overhaul. Initially, the project involved replacing the Oak framing and windows without altering the lead roof, so quite a few logistical problems had to be overcome.

As the windows were the only support for the main roof, the entire structure had to be supported with scaffolding so that each of the frames could be carefully removed, before replacing them with the new oak frames - all hand carved to match the original specifications and retain the beauty of this structure.

As the Scaffolding was fully assembled, and the new Green Oak frames were ready to be installed, it became clear that there was a problem - rot had been spreading for some time throughout the roof, so raising it would be hazardous to the build, and without taking action, this would be potentially dangerous to the residents as rot makes wood crumble as it loses all its strength. It was decided that the only way to go forward and keep the structure intact and safe for generations to come, was to completely re-build the entire roof section as well. The lead had to be stripped, and the entire roof dis-assembled, then a new roof was fabricated and matched exactly to the old one - again, every measure was taken to ensure that the aesthetics of the structure remained true to the original design and materials. When the new roof was ready, the lead was carefully re-applied, and the new roof was lowered onto the fresh Green Oak frames.


The project was completed recently in early 2007, and we and the client are extremely pleased with the results. The structure retains it original aesthetic appeal and dimensions, and the materials give harmony as well as strength to the structure which will now last many years to come. Now weatherproofed and secure, the structure can again be used as the comfortable and interesting space it was originally intended to be, and the residents can relax and enjoy the views of the surrounding countryside.

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