From medieval priest doors to a modern means of access

Bilco UK has supplied an innovative replacement roof hatch for a medieval church in Norfolk. St. Mary’s is one of the 653 churches within the Diocese of Norwich. It is an interesting and unique site with three medieval churches sitting within one churchyard.

St. Michael’s was refurbished in 2011 and is used as a community hall and for worship. All Saints was devastated in the Great Fire of Reepham in 1543 and only the ruins remain. St. Mary’s is a Grade 1 listed building situated within Reepham’s Conservation Area. Listed for its rich history and architecture features the flushwork flint and stone parish church is thought to date back to the 13th and 14th century.

The Heritage Lottery Fund and the local community funded essential repairs to St. Mary’s church tower and roof in 2016. The project was challenging from both a physical and historic context.

When it came to providing a means of safe access to the roof area, a product was required that was both technically and architecturally suitable. Medieval Masonry Ltd, ( ) a specialist contractor in restoration and conservation of historic buildings with over 50 years of experience in the industry, installed Bilco UK’s S-50VMTB VersaMount® Replacement Roof Hatch. The innovative S-50VMTB VersaMount®

was specified

by the architect as it meets the technical specification needed for products in this type of refurbishment project.

Architecturally, the product enables the replacement of a roof hatch onto the existing curb without the need for re-roofing. This is both economically savvy and sustainable. The low-profile VersaMount®

curb features a built-in

flange and apron and innovative anchor clip system to ensure a fast, secure and weathertight installation.

When access hatches are installed in elevated, historic fabric, such as church towers and spires, they are exposed to all weather conditions,

particularly driving rain. Ensuring an access solution that will provide a durable weathertight system is imperative if water ingress is to be avoided.

The VersaMount®

is ideal for Listed Buildings and other Designated Heritage Assets. Such sites have unique characters and when restoration and conservation is needed they require carefully considered quality design solutions.

The ergonomic design of the VersaMount® allows for ease of use. The hatch has

been engineered with compression spring operators to provide a smooth, easy, one-hand operation, regardless of size. An automatic hold-open arm with grip handle release ensures safe egress.

The Church of the Nativity of St. Mary’s is just one example of Bilco UK’s experience in working with specialist conservation contractors and architects on ecclesiastical architecture projects and nationally protected historic buildings. From medieval churches to Scottish castles, Bilco UK’s range of roof access hatches fulfil the requirement for innovative, safe, access solutions in historic sites across the country.

If you have an ecclesiastical project, or one that is classified as a Designated Heritage Asset, and you require an appropriate access solution call 01284 701696 to discover how we can help. For further information on the range of access products available from Bilco please visit For more information on Medieval Masonry visit


TEL: 01284 701696 53


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