Francis P Kelly

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Francis P Kelly
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CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
Alma materCourtauld Institute of Art
OccupationArchitectural historian

Francis P Kelly is an architectural historian and inspector for English Heritage and Historic England, working in the south west of England. He has contributed to a number of publications on medieval buildings.


Francis Kelly completed his MA in 1971 at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, with a dissertation on the Romanesque capitals of Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire.[1] He has also contributed architectural photographs to the Courtauld Institute's Conway Library archive, which is currently undergoing a digitisation project. He has maintained his links with the Courtauld, and is currently listed as a supporter on the college's website.[2]

Professional life

Kelly has worked for English Heritage and Historic England for many years as an Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas in the south west of England. One highlight of his career came in 1999 when he requested a dendrochronology test on the oak roof of St Mary's Church in the village of Kempley, Gloucestershire, believed to have been built by Hugh de Lacy, a Norman baron.[3] Tests carried out in an Oxford laboratory found the church roof to be the oldest of any building so far discovered in Britain, dating back to 1120-1150. Kelly was quoted as saying: "The vulnerability of timber roof structures, which are always prone to fire and rot, makes this survival very exciting."[4]

Another highlight came in 2013 when Kelly was required to do an emergency inspection of a Grade I listed church, St Odulph's in the village of Pillaton, Cornwall. The church had been badly damaged during a snowstorm on the night of 21 January 2013, when a thunderbolt struck the tower and heavy pieces of masonry from one of the pinnacles crashed through the tiled roof and fell into the church below.[5] Kelly was responsible over the following months for overseeing the extensive repairs needed, and the church was able to reopen in November 2013, in time for the annual Remembrance Day service.[5]

One modern-day issue with churches and chapels in the UK is that congregations have dwindled, so that some buildings stand empty and unused. Kelly has been active in this area, for example working on a project with the historian Jeremy Lake entitled 'The Big Update: Finding Uses for Cornwall’s Historic Chapels', for which they surveyed and photographed a large number of heritage buildings at risk. They produced a slide presentation showing exterior and interior views of the buildings, some of which are nationally listed,[6] and wrote an article for the March 2014 issue of The Victorian magazine.[7]

In 2016 Kelly donated his extensive collection of just under four thousand 35mm colour slides to the Historic England archive. The slides are mainly of historic buildings in south west of England, focusing particularly on Bath, Wiltshire and Somerset, with some of the images depicting restoration and conservation.[8]


Over the years Kelly has written and contributed to various publications on architectural subjects:

Medieval Art and Architecture at Exeter Cathedral: the British Archaeological Association conference transactions for the year 1985, Transactions Series, Vol. 11, British Archaeological Association, 1991.[9][10][11] This publication examines the structural archaeology of the building's fabric, as well as its enrichment and fittings, in parallel with documentary evidence, within an art-historical context.

‘The romanesque crossing capitals of Southwell Minster (together with a note on the lintel in the north transept and the tympanum at Hoveringham)’, Southwell and Nottinghamshire, 1998.[12]

John Goodall and Francis Kelly, guidebook, Muchelney Abbey, Somerset, English Heritage, 2004, 2011 (revised reprint).[13][14]

J R Harrison and F P Kelly, Chapter 11, ‘The development of the conservation programme’, in Stuart R Blaylock, Bowhill, the archaeological study of a building under repair in Exeter, Devon, 1977-95, English Heritage, 2013.[15] Kelly was the English Heritage inspector for the building.

Francis Kelly and Jeremy Lake, 'Cornwall's chapels', The Victorian, No. 45, March 2014.[7]


  1. Kelly, Francis (1971). "The romanesque capitals of Southwell Minster".
  2. "Our supporters". The Courtauld Institute of Art. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  3. "St Mary's Church, Kempley". English Heritage. Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  4. Kennedy, By Maev (1999-05-25). "Treasure House: Church has Britain's oldest roof". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Pillaton, St Odulph's – Cornwall Historic Churches Trust". Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  6. "The Big Update Finding Uses for Cornwall's Historic Chapels, Jeremy Lake and Francis Kelly, English Heritage". Retrieved 2020-07-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Cornwall". Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  8. "Francis Kelly Slide Archive (FKS01) Archive Collection | Historic England". Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  9. Kelly, Francis; British Archaeological Association, eds. (1991). Medieval art and architecture at Exeter Cathedral. Place of publication not identified: British Archaeological Association. ISBN 978-0-901286-27-7. OCLC 26765579.
  10. Kelly, Francis; British Archaeological Association (Winchmore); British Archaeological Association; Conference, eds. (1991). Medieval art and architecture at Exeter Cathedral: the British Archaeological Association conference transactions for the year 1985. London: The British Archaeological Association. ISBN 978-0-901286-27-7. OCLC 905773142.
  11. Kelly, Francis (1991). Medieval art and architecture at Exeter Cathedral. Leeds: Maney. ISBN 978-0-901286-26-0. OCLC 612099403.
  12. Kelly, Francis (1998). "The Romanesque crossing capitals of Southwell Minster: (together with a note on the lintel in the North transept and the tympanum at Hoveringham)". Southwell and Nottinghamshire / Alexander, Jennifer S. (Hrsg.).: 13–23. OCLC 887039681.
  13. Goodall, John A. A.; Kelly, Francis (2004). Muchelney Abbey: Somerset. English Heritage. ISBN 978-1-85074-874-8.
  14. "Buy Guidebook: Muchelney Abbey | English Heritage". Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  15. Blaylock, Stuart R. (2013-04-15). Bowhill: The archaeological study of a building under repair in Exeter, Devon, 1977-95. English Heritage. ISBN 978-1-84802-139-6.

External links

This article "Francis P Kelly" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical. Articles taken from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be accessed on Wikipedia's Draft Namespace.