The top of the front wall was collapsing and was taken down completely as far as the window heads. The brick piers between the windows, which were leaning badly outwards, were eased back to the vertical. A concrete ring beam was then formed to hold the shell in position, after which the top of the wall could be rebuilt and the whole wall repointed. The window frames had to be replaced, but the special draught-excluding sashes were repaired and reused. A new door was made, a copy of the original, and new shutters were made for the windows. Finally the interior was finished as simply as possible, with plain plaster walls topped by a new cornice and a slate slab floor that came from the ground floor of the Library.
In 1980 work began on the Library. The Victorian roof was dismantled and a temporary protective covering put over the building. The shell of the building was far from sound - when the render was removed, many of the bricks could simply be removed by hand and the outer brick face had not been properly tied into the inner skin. Much had to be completely rebuilt and in other places damaged or decayed bricks were cut out and new ones stitched in. The whole front was then repointed. Defective stonework was repaired where possible, or renewed using Bath stone from the Corsham Quarry. The steps at the back of the building were replaced with new ones in wood and the second of the two windows in the north wall was made into a door, to match the other one, which had been altered when the steps were built.
The roof was reconstructed to its original form, with a flat top, using mainly new timber but reusing as many of the existing slates as possible. But the glory of the new roof is the cornice. When the Victorian roof was stripped off, a few of the original modillions were found, cut back but still in good condition; much more ornate than the 19th-century ones, they had clearly belonged to a more elaborate cornice altogether. So a splendid new cornice was designed, incorporating copies of these and was beautifully made by Richard Barnett, a local carpenter and wood carver. Inside, the ground-floor arches were reopened and a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen fitted behind a new wall. Upstairs, no attempt was made to restore the main room to its original form as a library, since the details of its appearance remain unknown. It was simply restored as a fine room of early 18th-century character, with a new cornice, dado rail and window architraves. A spiral stair was built, its top forming an island bookcase. A grand fireplace surround from the contemporary dining room in the main house was put into ground floor of the Library some 40 or 50 years before and was then moved upstairs to replace the plainer original, which has been used in the Orangery, still in use today as an unheated summer bedroom.
This proved to be one of the longest-lasting restorations ever undertaken by the Landmark Trust, and to bring it to completion was a triumph for the architect and craftsmen concerned. Now it awaits you, to stay here in this remnant of the Rolles’ great wealth and prestige and to enjoy as they did the delights of Stevenstone.