Nigel Copsey
Stonemason and Building Conservator



Starting out as a dry-stone waller in Cornwall, Nigel trained after 1989 as stonemason and carver at Weymouth College, working largely thereafter in the conservation industry across the south and south-west of England, and regularly after 1999 in Vermont, USA, as well as in Granada, Andalusia. Nigel was consultant stonemason for the Irish Hunger Memorial project in Battery Park City, New York, 2001. Since 2001, Nigel has worked extensively as consultant and practitioner in the field of building conservation and repair in North Yorkshire upon a wide range of vernacular and high status buildings, as building conservation consultant for the Fitzwilliam Estate in Malton, designing, specifying and executing major repair projects to a wide range of historic buildings within the town, as well as researching, designing and specifying a number of building repair and conservation projects on behalf of Natural England, most recently at Scampston Hall. Nigel has contributed to several volumes of the recently published Historic England Practical Conservation series. A committed SPAB-member Nigel is also a Professionally Accredited Conservator-Restorer and determined advocate for the thoroughgoing use of traditional materials in the care and repair of old buildings and a leading advocate for the routine use of hot mixed lime and traditional earth-lime mortars for most applications, working extensively with Historic England and international partners in the delivery of practical training and education in the informed use of traditional quicklime mortars for the like for like and compatible repair of historic buildings. A Research Associate of the Dept of Archaeology, York University, Nigel regularly delivers hot mixed earth and lime mortars and traditional skills training and leads the Practical Skills module for the MA Conservation Studies. He is currently writing a book on the historic and practical modern use of hot mixed lime and earth-lime mortars and has just completed a Literature Review of old texts on lime mortars for Historic Environment Scotland, in between working on site. Nigel has a BA (Hons) Political Science from the University of York and a PGDip in Building Conservation from Bournemouth University. 


Selected publications

Copsey N; Gourley B; Allen R (2010). Mud Mortars in Masonry Construction. 2nd Historic Mortars Conference. Prague. Rilem.

Copsey N; Gourley B (2013) Hot Mixed Lime Mortars. 3rd Historic Mortars Conference. Glasgow.

Copsey N & Gourley B (2015) Hot mixed lime mortars. Journal of the Building Limes Forum.

Copsey N (2015) Ocultos a Plena Vista: Morteros de Cal Mezclados en Caliente/Hiding in Plain Sight: Hot Mixed Lime Mortars. Loggia #28. Valencia Polytechnic University.

Copsey N (2017) Hot Limewashes and Sheltercoats. Building Conservation Directory. Cathedral Communications.

Copsey N (2018) Historic Texts relating to Hot Mixed and other Traditional Lime Mortars in Europe Technical Paper 25. Edinburgh. Historic Scotland. (Due in May 2018).

Morton T, Copsey N, Little R (2017) Earth Mortars. BCD Special Report on Historic Churches 23rd Edition. Cathedral Communications.



Contact details

Nigel Copsey
Research Associate
Department of Archaeology
University of York
King's Manor
Exhibition Square