Restoration of Stoup

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Restoration of the; Alms Box Stoup 2015.


The stoup is turned oak, probably of 18th century origin but possibly a little later.  The quality of the turning inside, beneath the lead cup, and the painted oak effect for surface decoration would both point to the latter.  The original purpose would be to contain holy water for visitors to the church to use to cross themselves as they entered the building.

At some point in its history the stoup has undergone a conversion to a collections box with the addition of a metal hinge to the lid, a coin slot cut into the lid and a lockable metal hasp.  The addition of the hinge has led to the total disintegration of a section of original timber and to other area of excessive wear but it has also served to ensure the original lid has remained in place.  A section of the circular base has also been removed to allow the stoup to stand closer to the wall.  The rest of the structure is very stable but the surface is extremely dirty and suffers many scratches and abrasions.


In terms of treatment, the minimum the stoup needs is a full surface clean and consolidation, followed by a reversible surface treatment to protect it from the environment and accidental knocks and scrapes (it would also go some way toward disguising the current knocks and scrapes).  The lost timber from beneath the hinge be replaced and coloured to match the rest to prevent the current damage from spreading.


Such basic treatment will preserve the character and significant history of the stoup and would leave the alterations in place, allowing future observers to recognise the changes it has been through.  It would also be quite safe to remain in its current location post treatment as the lid would still be held by hinge and lock (the stoup itself is currently held firm to the wall with a bespoke iron strap).


It would be possible to go further and remove the non-original fittings and restore the surface to a much tidier presentation but such an approach would partly destroy the history and context of the subsequent alterations.

 Mike Howden, BSc (Hons) ACR  Collective Trade Mark of PACR Accredited Conservator-Restorer


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Last updated : 14th May 2022.