Somerset

Bath Abbey ledger stones rescued from collapsing floor

Stone Image copyright Bath Abbey
Image caption Some of the stones date back to the 17th Century

Stone slabs dating back to the 17th Century are being rescued from the crumbling floor of Bath Abbey.

Nearly 900 inscribed ledger stones are being lifted and restored to preserve the abbey's history.

Some will be replicated by the University of West of England (UWE) using the process of photogrammetry.

It involves taking multiple photos and converting them into 3D models using computer software, high-density foam, MDF, plaster and cement.

More than 400,000 visitors a year walk over the stones, which mark a place of burial within the abbey. They include those for author William Beckford and mason Samuel Rogers, who carved the Crimean War Memorial.

David Littlefield, from UWE, said the project will help record the abbey's history in great detail.

"It is a physical record of Bath's social history, as well as a changing surface which records its continued use and the central role the abbey plays in Bath's cultural and spiritual life.

"We hope that their work will help in the deeper understanding of this building, and heritage spaces more widely," he said.

The work to repair the floor will be done alongside installing eco-friendly heating using Bath's hot springs.

At the end of July some of the replicas will be on display on information boards around the abbey charting the latest part of the restoration.

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