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For the encouragement of craftmanship in natural stone

• Masonry Skills: Basic, Intermediate and Advanced
• Conservation and the use of Lime Mortars
• Dry Stone Walling
• Restoration Carving
• Memorial Carving
• Lettering
• Drawing

About ‘The Orton Trust’

The Orton Trust was formed in 1968 and exists to maintain and encourage the traditional stonemasonry skills used in the restoration and conservation of historic buildings.

The redundant Church of All Saints' at Orton, near Kettering in Northamptonshire has been converted into a Workshop and a Lecture Room added by the purchase and restoration of the old Church Hall nearby. The Trust is a Registered Charity and its work is supported financially by many public and private institutions, allowing fifteen weekend courses to run each year.

The course fee of £170 includes tuition, lunches, tea & coffee, but not accommodation which is available locally at reasonable cost. The Trust also provides, free of charge, the necessary materials and tools for students to use. All levels of ability and experience can be accommodated on all our courses.

All courses are CITB approved and limited to a maximum of 10 to ensure that all students receive individual attention and are held in the disused Parish Church and Village Hall at Orton, near Rothwell, Northants which have been converted to a workshop and lecture room respectively. Orton is situated just one mile to the south-west of Rothwell and has easy access from the A14 and A6 from all directions.

The Courses Manager, Peter May, is always pleased to supply more information on the courses and facilities at Orton. Contact him at 116, High Street, Broughton. Kettering. Northants. NN14 1NQ or telephone him on 07704336733 or send him an email at at any time.


Courses Manager - Peter May
116, High Street, Broughton.
Kettering. Northants. NN14 1NQ
Tel: 07704336733


The Course Tutors

The Trust's Tutors are all experts in their respective fields and include:

Director of Teamforce Restoration Ltd from Blyth in Northumberland. Brendan is an accomplished stonemason and his company have won major awards in the North East in recent years.

Worked for English Heritage for ten years and has been a William Morris Craft Fellow with SPAB. He studied at The European Centre for Architectual Heritage in Venice and now runs his own business.

Accomplished memorial carver and lettercutter who has run his own business for over 20 years. Working to commission, he has made many private and public monuments and has gained a national reputation for lettering.

From Shepley in West Yorkshire, Lydia has Been Walling since she finished High school and has travelled all over the world to build dry stone walls and worked on various gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The fee for all three day courses is £170. Different rates apply to other courses according to their nature. Fees include tuition, tools and materials, lunches, tea and coffee. Accommodation is not included but a list of local Guest Houses and Hotels is issued with joining instructions. Discounted fees are available in some cases on application to the Courses Manager.

Advance booking should be made as soon as possible with a deposit of £30 per place which is non-returnable unless cancelled places can be filled by reserves.


A course designed to help masons draw, set- out and carve traditional stone features found in ancient buildings. It includes a study of the designs prevalent at different periods, e.g. Norman, Early English, etc. Students attending on a regular basis will follow a progressive theme.
Course Tutor: Shaun Bradley
Forthcoming Courses
Date:  Friday 23 – 25 February 2018  or Friday 14 -16 September 2018
Cost £170


This course is specific to the good design and execution of memorials of all kinds. It begins with a study of existing memorials, both ancient and modern. Students are then helped to design a memorial feature, set it out on stone or slate and carve it in relief. The course is suitable for all levels of ability.
Course Tutor: Shaun Bradley
Forthcoming Courses
Date: Friday 6 – 8 April 2018 or Friday 28 – 30 September 2018
Cost £170


The theme of this weekend is learning the basics of drawing with a bias towards using your skills for working in stone. It will be useful for many applications including painting, calligraphy, clay modelling or carving on any other medium. It is suitable for absolute beginners, intermediates and those who are aware of a lack of confidence.
Course Tutor: TBC
Forthcoming Courses
Date: Saturday TBC 2018
Cost £110


Students draw and set out the Trajan alphabet prior to cutting them in slate or stone. These letters are the building blocks to design and carving all hand cut lettering. Proportion, spacing and design will be covered along with practical tool skills, materials and suppliers. The course is suitable for all abilities although, as with all our courses, regular students will continue on a progressive theme.
Course Tutor: Shaun Bradley
Forthcoming Courses
Date: Friday 20 – 22 April 2018 or Friday 31 Aug – 2 Sept 2018
Cost £170


A course for those with limited or no experience. It covers the common tools and how to use them. All levels of skill and experience can be accommodated and students are encouraged to make this and all Masonry Skills courses part of an ongoing programme of learning.
Course Tutor: Brendan Teasdale
Forthcoming Courses
Date: Friday 9 – 11 March 2018 or Friday 18 – 21 May 2018
Cost £170


A course continuing from the basic level, introducing further tools and more advanced sequences of use, although, as before all levels of experience can be accommodated.
Course Tutor: Brendan Teasdale
Forthcoming Courses
Date: Friday 16 – 18 March 2018
Cost £170


A practical course for those with a moderate level of experience to enable them to improve their skills. Working surfaces and more intricate mouldings, including circular work and tracery.
Course Tutor: Brendan Teasdale
Forthcoming Courses
Date: Friday 19 – 21 October 2018
Cost £170


This course demonstrates and teaches the skills of re-forging, hardening and tempering. Students are encouraged to bring their own tools for reworking and also advised on how to set up their own small forge.
Course Tutor: Alan Walker
Forthcoming Courses
Date: Saturday 24 -25 March 2018
Cost £110


The course teaches the basic principals of dry stone walling, which will involve taking down (stripping out) a derelict or damaged section of wall and rebuilding it to DSWA standards. You can work at your own pace and are not under pressure.
Your instructor will give safety instruction and guidance.
Course Tutor: Lydia Noble
Forthcoming Courses
Date: Saturday 16 – 17 June 2018 or Saturday 14 -15 July 2018
Cost £110


This two day course is suitable for professionals and homeowners and covers the ways in which lime mortars may be used and its advantages over cement mortars. The course will familiarise students on the materials and techniques in conserving and repairing old buildings.
Course Tutor: Brendan Teasdale
Forthcoming Courses
Date: Saturday 9 – 10 June 2018
Cost £110

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