"The high quality of the conservation work carried out by Balliol College to the 11th century St. Cross Church is outstanding ... This work has preserved the character of the church in its setting and made a significant contribution to the wider surrounds which include Holywell Manor and Holy Well Cemetery."
Oxford Preservation Trust 2011.
ST CROSS CHURCH
In 2011 Montgomery Architects were delighted to be awarded two prestigious awards; the RIBA South Conservation Award for the Historic Collections Center at St Cross Church for Balliol College, in the category of 'Re-use of a redundant building' and the Oxford Preservation Trust Plaque.
Balliol College acquired the newly redundant grade I listed Church of St Cross, Holywell, Oxford on a 999-year lease in 2009 and proposed to conserve it, and create a centre for the care, display and use of its Historic Collections. The congregation could not afford to repair and maintain the Church, which has been little used for years, and wished it to be put to a dignified secular use which can be combined with occasional access for services to be held in the Chancel.
This was an opportunity for Balliol to bring together its outstandingly rich and varied Historic Collections, which span more than eight centuries and are part of the National Heritage. The brief was to house them in a single dedicated research centre with first-class environmental conditions, and allow them to be made better known, and be accessible to students, scholars and anyone else with an interest in them. It also enabled the preservation of an ancient church which would otherwise inevitably decay further.