The Rotunda, also known locally as Lady Busby’s Temple, had fallen into
disrepair. Several failed attempts to reinstate its semi-spherical roof
structure had come and gone, and all that remained were the six Bath
Stone pillars topped by the circular ring beam with decorative frieze.
During the 1970s a temporary scaffold with over-roof had been erected
in an attempt to slow any further deterioration.
In 2015 Corbel was appointed by the new owner of Halswell House to
bring the Rotunda back to its former glory, aided only by a few fragments
of the original roof that were found rotting away in the grounds. Using
these original curved rafters we were able to determine almost exactly
the original profile of the dome and set about constructing it in green
oak. Ventilation was added at eaves level to allow circulation through the
new structure, and a double layer of marine ply was used to form the
sarking to take the new lead covering. Segments of Code 8 sand cast
lead were then fitted to the dome with a standing seam detail interlocking
them all together.
Internally the underside of the roof structure was lathed and plastered using
traditional lime putty to complete a perfect semi-spherical inverted dome.
Even more interestingly, the Rotunda sits on top of an ice house with the
entrance being in the side of the mound it stands on. A new wrought iron
gate and railings were installed at the entrance along with a new floor
To add some 21st century technology, a circular structural glass eye was
fitted into the paving below the Rotunda that can be lit from below. This
allows the structure to truly be the eye-catcher that it was intended to be,
even during the hours of darkness.