Church lighting, lighting a Grade I listed church

This church lighting project is a great case study.  It demonstrates how developments in lighting technology offer new solutions to traditional problems.

St Mary The Virgin, Goldsborough is a beautiful Grade I listed church in the Knaresborough Benifice.  It’s a wonderful old building with many significant features.  It also presents the normal challenges of working on sensitive and significant buildings. Brilliant Lighting was commissioned to design the lighting in 2014.

The Brief

There were multiple elements to the brief.  The old church lighting was difficult to maintain; hard to reach halogen fittings needed continual lamp replacements.   The existing lighting was functional but basic.  It didn’t do a lot to highlight very special features of the church like the beautifully detailed old crusader tombs or the wonderful beamed roof.

Wonderfully ornate tomb in Goldsborough Church

The church also wanted to improve the lighting for all the uses the building is put to.  St Mary The Virgin is a popular wedding venue; it’s next door to Goldsborough Hall.  As well as weddings the church wanted better, more flexible lighting for services, concerts and meetings.

High output LED fittings meet the need for reduced maintenance.  The high quality fittings used throughout should last for many years even if used for a few hours each day.   Which means the church wardens no longer have to make forays into the roof space with replacement lamps.

More challenging was fundamentally changing the character of the lighting while minimising the impact on the fabric of the building. The old church lighting was dominated by large halogen fittings in the roofspace.  We wanted to introduce a more layered design with lighting for key features.  We had to minimise additional cabling and the scheme uses entirely surface mounted fittings.

Before and After

Before and after comparison of the lighting in Goldsborough Church

Using lighting control to manage LED

LED is best controlled with a lighting control system.  The DALI dimming protocol can simplify the cabling architecture of a lighting design while maintaining flexibility.  Here those three elements slot together beautifully.  The lighting design uses LED throughout.  The lighting is controlled by a Lutron HomeWorks QS lighting control system using Lutron’s DALI modules.  HomeWorks QS and DALI together give us smooth LED dimming and as we will see, also gives us flexible lighting for different occasions in the church.

Custom finishes for surface mounted fittings

The surface mounted fittings at roof level are reasonably discreet.  It’s more difficult to conceal fittings in full view but our range of options for mounting locations for the arches were limited.

Surface mounted Air spotlight lighting arch behind the pulpit in Goldsborough church

We colour matched the finishes of the surface mounted fittings.  We matched  plaster and stone on site against RAL swatch cards on site and specified finishes for each fitting.  The result is high output fittings that are incredibly recessive in-situ as can be seen in this shot of the fitting behind the pulpit.  The tombs are lit with discreet, hidden LED fittings.

Case Study Photos

The Goldsborough Church Lighting Case Study is now online on this site.

External links

Many thanks to the church wardens and everyone associated with St Mary The Virgin, Goldsborough.  Thanks also to Stephen Calvert at Pearce Bottomley and the electrical team at Dave Barclay Electrical.  Finally, thank you to Charlotte for the super photography.

St Mary The Virgin, Goldsborough
Pearce Bottomley Architects
Charlotte Gale Photography
Goldsborough Hall


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