Grave Markers & Monuments

St. Mary's Parish, Charleston, SC

St. Mary’s Parish Church, built in 1889, is distinguished as the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the Carolinas. It served as the Mother Church for the Dioceses of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

We were contracted to perform a conditions survey of more than three-hundred grave markers and monuments located in the church’s cemetery, and to conserve seven grave markers that had been broken by a previous contractor during a restoration effort. The broken markers had been improperly repaired with a hard Portland cement patching material. Many of the various broken pieces were misaligned before reattachment and excess patching material was allowed to drip over the faces of the stones. The excess material was not removed before it cured and thus adhered to the marble substrate.

All information gathered on-site was compiled into a report that included a site plan, photographic documentation, a conditions assessment, a prioritized list according to conservation needs, recommendations for conservation, and cost estimates for the recommendations.

We initiated treatment on the broken and improperly repaired grave markers by removing the inappropriate repair material from the stone’s surface using scalpels and fine chisel, then reassembling the stone fragments in proper alignment. Any remaining cracks or losses were filled with custom-matched fine lime putty.