Claypaint complements medieval timber building

Peeling back the layers of hundreds of years of alterations revealed a striking medieval hall at the heart of the Master’s House in Ledbury, Herefordshire.


The Grade II* listed building features a beautiful timber frame dating back to 1487, which was central to the architects’ brief to interpret and retain the integrity of the property. Originally the home of the Masters of St Katherine’s Hospital estate, the building had been altered many times over the centuries. Most recently, it was a doctor’s surgery but it had lain empty for several years and was designated a ‘Building at Risk’.

Owner Herefordshire Council developed a unique restoration project valued at over £4m, which engaged the local community. The aim was to restore the Master’s House to create a new, accessible home for its customer service centre and library. The challenge was to incorporate sympathetically the varied elements from across the centuries into a building for the 21st Century.

The medieval hall remains inside a brick envelope, built mostly during 18th and 19th century alterations. Once inside, the extraordinary timber frame can be seen in all its glory.

Conservation Architect Gary Butler, of Butler Hegarty Architects, said:

“Many original wattle and daub panels have been retained; some required repair or replacement. In the main hall, the panels were left as unpainted, self-coloured clay daub walls.

“All other internal retained walls from later centuries and the lath and plaster ceilings were finished with lime plaster and painted with Earthborn Claypaint. Clay is moisture permeable and we wanted to be sure that all materials used were fully compatible with the clay, lime plaster and other historic building materials.

Fifteen Claypaint and Eggshell colours were selected to create a range of effects in different parts of the Master’s House. Site Manager Ed Mandrell of main contractor Speller Metcalfe, said: “The Earthborn palette includes many shades which suit the vernacular feel of the Master’s House. The decorators were happy with the paints’ ease of use and finished effect.”

For further information visit

Butler Hegarty Architects
The Master’s House Project
Speller Metcalfe

Our stockist Cluster’s Emporium supplied paint for this project

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