Wessex Archaeology has a continued interest in the exploration and development of opportunities for heritage recording and preservation provided by three-dimensional modelling techniques. As part of this interest, a photogrammetric survey of St. Leonard’s Church, Sutton Veny was undertaken by members of our Built Heritage and Geomatics teams.

St. Leonard’s Church is a partial ruin located in the village of Sutton Veny, near Warminster in south-west Wiltshire. The Grade II listed building dates to the 12th century, although it underwent revisions in the 13th and 16th centuries. The chancel, previously used as a mortuary chapel, is the only intact part of the building left, with the nave, transepts and crossing now partially ruinous following the abandonment of the church in the 1860s. The remaining walls and arches survive to a good height in many areas, with many interesting architectural details still visible. 

The church is currently in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. The Trust is a national charity operating the third largest heritage estate in charitable ownership in the UK. It ensures that the churches under its care are conserved and regenerated, allowing them to be enjoyed as ‘cultural, social, tourism and educational resources’.

The photogrammetric technique used at St. Leonard’s Church involved the taking of over 900 photographs, from a variety of viewpoints, during the course of one day. The Geomatics and Graphics teams then used computer software to combine these images into a fully animated three-dimensional model from which scaled, orthographic plans and elevations can be generated, and which can be examined and manipulated in Sketchfab for wider dissemination and appreciation. 

The results are a detailed, accurate, three-dimensional model of the church, which provides an in-depth record of its structure along with the potential for further study. In addition to providing a valuable record, the survey may contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of the building, for example by monitoring its fabric and helping to inform repair schedules.


By Emma Clark and Bob Davis