Experts faced yet another restoration challenge when they removed two 15th century doors, both weighing a ton, for repairs and storm proofing at Oxburgh Hall last Thursday.
The 12ft Medieval oak doors to the courtyard and bridge, which were part of the original building, had to be repaired after they were damaged in the stormy weather during November.
House manager, Liz Cooper, said: “Over 500-years-old, the doors were a feat of craftsmanship when they were built and it is impressive for them to have lasted this long while in use every day.
“We are one of the few houses left of this age that still have their doors in use each day. They are very popular with visitors, especially with the students.”
She added: “We are all about preserving the house. We accept that everything deteriorates and that we cannot stop this process, but we are doing all we can to preserve items and slow this process down.”
The team used a specialised crane to remove the doors before beginning repair work to the hinges and pins, both of which had become weakened and damaged over time by the weather.
House steward, Jo Howard, said: “When we had all the windy weather, the doors had not been pinned back properly because the pins were also damaged and one of the doors flew back and became wedged. The hinges became stuck and we couldn’t even move it.
“The doors were take off and then realigned and re-hung to allow them to continue to be closed each day - this is no easy task when they each weigh a ton.”
The work was completed by a team of conservation experts including Rupert Harris, National Trust adviser for metalwork, and David Bartrum, National Trust adviser for woodwork.
Mrs Cooper said; “Our experts had a good look at the doors while they were down to assess the damage and what else needs to be done. One of the doors had dropped and was beginning to damage the stones below it while sitting in water which was starting to rot the wood.
“The doors will be taken down again once we know how much work needs to be done on them and how much the restoration of the doors will cost, but in the meantime they are back in use.”