Saturday, 19 October 2019

All Saints Church Youlgrave - Memorials

A detail of the effigy of Thomas Cokayne

During my investigation of mediaeval churches, in South Yorkshire and the surrounding counties, although I have principally concentrated on the fabric and the building stones that have been used in their construction – to further my interests in standing buildings archaeology - I like to see their various memorials. 

War memorials in the nave

As a geologist, the Neoclassical wall memorials made from white and black marbles generally don’t interest me and I much prefer the wild colours and textures that can been found in alabaster, which was once extensively mined in Derbyshire and worked in Nottinghamshire

Monuments to church vergers

All Saints church in Youlgrave has several fine examples of alabaster, with the most recent examples being found in the simple plaques in the south aisle, which commemorate church vergers and the more elaborate memorials to WW1 and WW2, which can be found in the north wall of the extended nave. 

The memorial to Roger Looe and his family

In the north aisle, the Jacobean wall memorial to Roger Rooe of Alport, who died in 1613, shows him and his wife on their knees facing each other across a prayer desk, with their eight children in a line below. The tradition of the time was to paint the alabaster but, here, the colours on the various figures have largely disappeared. 

The reredos in the north aisle

At the east end of the nave, there is an altar whose reredos commemorates Robert Gilbert and his wife Joan, who died in 1492. The central figure of a Virgin and Child is flanked by Robert to the left, with his seven sons and Joan, to the right, with her ten daughters. 

The tomb of Thomas Cokayne

Moving into the chancel, the chest tomb depicts Thomas Cokayne in the full armour of the period, who died in a fight with Thomas Burdett in 1488 after a quarrel over a marriage settlement. It is unusual in that the effigy is much smaller than those typically seen, which is apparently because he died before his father. 

The effigy of Sir John Rossington

The oldest memorial in All Saints church, also in the chancel, dates to the C14 and is thought to depict Sir John Rossington, who is holding a heart in his hands, has his legs crossed and his feet resting on a dog; however, on this occasion, the stone is not alabaster but Permian dolomitic limestone, which I have often seen in South Yorkshire and the surrounding counties.

A detail of the effigy of Sir John Rossington

Sunday, 13 October 2019

All Saints Church Youlgrave - The Interior

A detail of a capital in the north arcade

The exterior of All Saints church in Youlgrave has many points of interest for the standing buildings archaeologist and architectural historian but, as a geologist, I particularly liked the mix of Carboniferous Limestone and Millstone Grit in the north aisle – not least because I think that I could use this a stopping point on a Sheffield U3A Geology Group field trip. 

The south door

Entering the porch, the sturdy looking pointed arch to the south doorway has quite crude mouldings and chamfers, which are an indication of a change from late Norman to the Early English Gothic architectural style, and this transition can also be seen in the arcades. 

A general view of the south arcade

The south arcade has stout circular columns, with octagonal section scalloped capitals, from which spring round arches and are typical of the late Norman period – dated c.1150 to 1170 by the church guide book. 

A view west along the nave

The north arcade, however, is significantly different. Although also round, the columns are slimmer than those in the south arcade, the capitals are square with more elaborate decoration – including volutes, foliage and heads – and the arches above are slightly pointed. 

Distortion of the arch and column in the north arcade

Looking more closely at the north arcade, and at other masonry in the church, it can also be seen that there has been some structural movement over the years. Although not as obvious as that seen at Selby Abbey, the arch to the westernmost bay is distorted and there is a distinct lean of the column towards the east; however, unlike at Selby Abbey, All Saints church is built on solid limestone and the settlement is probably due to an old lead mine that runs under the church. 

Sculpted figures in the nave 

Looking at the masonry in the nave, very large, well squared blocks of gritstone rise above the arcades to form the clerestory and this can also been seen in the walls that stretch westwards to the tower – with the north wall incorporating a 12th century sculpture and another C17 sculpture, found in the graveyard, being attached to the wall. 

The font

The very unusual C12 font, and a piscina that has been relocated to the north aisle, provide further points of interest to the general tourist but I was particularly interested in the various monuments and memorials that can be found in All Saints church.

A piscina

Monday, 7 October 2019

All Saints Church in Youlgrave - Part 2

A grotesque headstop to the east window

Continuing with the exploration of the exterior of All Saints church at the chancel, there is again evidence of various phases of building. The original chancel, thought to be built in the C14, is composed of predominantly square shaped blocks as seen between the north aisle and tower. 

The north elevation of the chancel

The masonry is roughly tooled, with the weathering often highlighting the cross-bedding in the gritstone, and it contrasts strongly with the larger elongated Perpendicular Gothic date masonry used in the tower and clerestory

The east window of the chancel
Above the level of the windows, the masonry changes to large, precisely squared blocks that were added during the raising of the roof during the 1869-1871 restoration by Norman Shaw.

The south elevation of the chancel

During this phase of building, the Perpendicular Gothic windows that were added in the C15 – both arched and square headed - were renewed in the same style and the original parapets were retained but, quite strangely, the lowest parts of some windows have been blocked up. 

The south aisle with Y-tracery to the arched windows

The south aisle, with Early English style Y-tracery in its windows, is dated to c.1330 by Pevsner, although the profiles look far too sharp to be original, and looking at the east end closely, a blocked smaller square headed Perpendicular Gothic window can be seen. 

Approximate position of the blocked window to the south aisle

The porch projects from the west end of the south aisle and, being essentially butted against it with a straight joint, is a later addition with no obvious changes within the style of the masonry – including colour and block shape and size – and as stated in the official guide book, seems consistent with other C15 elements of the church. 

The porch

Using my eyes and having, by now, not inconsiderable experience of examining the standings buildings archaeology of approximately fifty mediaeval churches, I noted very many details that help with the dating of different parts of the fabric of All Saints church. 

The south elevation of the aisleless nave between the porch and tower

The church guide is unusual in that it dedicates a large section to this subject and, having not noticed certain points of interest despite my trained observational skills, I look forward to having another look at is exterior in the near future.

The C18 external staircase to the tower

Quickly wandering around the churchyard, as usual for an old church, there were many decoratively tooled headstones but the old village cross was the most interesting feature. Moved from Fountain Square in the C19, on its steps there is an old upturned font with a sundial, dated 1752, placed on top of it.

The sundial in the churchyard

Sunday, 6 October 2019

All Saints Church in Youlgrave - Part 1

A general view of All Saints church from the south-east

Approaching All Saints church from the south-west along Church Street, having briefly explored some of the vernacular architecture of Youlgrave, the tall tower is a very impressive sight, with its stepped angle buttresses, battlements and crocketed pinnacles standing out from the austere secular buildings beneath it. 

A view of All Saints church from Church Street

These features, together with numerous gargoyles and the tracery to its large west window, are considered to be typical of the C15 Perpendicular Gothic style and, as with most of the churches that I have visited so far, late mediaeval embellishment is seen in the rest of the exterior. 

A general view of the north side of All Saints church

Walking clockwise from the tower, there is a very distinct change in the style of the masonry from large, elongated ashlar blocks to the irregular square blocks that make up the stretch of windowless wall between the tower and the north aisle. Looking at the windows, those of the clerestory are much later in style than the windows in the rest of the church and are believed to be late C15 in age.

The north elevation of the west end of the nave

Furthermore, although the clerestory maintains the same pattern of masonry as the tower, there are also subtle changes in the colour of the individual blocks of gritstone that probably reflect a different quarry source. 

The west window of the north aisle

Moving on to the north aisle, the flat headed window of its west elevation are in a Perpendicular Gothic style, although its sharp profiles show that these have been renewed during the 1869-71 work by Norman Shaw, which has been considered as a very sensitive Victorian restoration

A general view of the masonry to the north aisle

On the north elevation, however, there is a considerable amount of Norman coursed rubble masonry left in situ, with the lower parts of much of the wall being entirely Carboniferous limestone, although the western section adjacent to the blocked round arched doorway has a mixture of gritstone and limestone rising from the foundations.

A recycled window head in the north aisle

The post-Norman walling has evidently been partially rebuilt using recycled limestone blocks, as well as a round window head that was carved from a single block of gritstone, and a close inspection of the limestone blocks reveal that much of it is packed full of fossil brachiopod shells. 

Fossil brachiopod shells

The style of masonry is similar to that seen between the north aisle and the tower, with only the castellated parapet being composed of large, well squared blocks, although the renewed square headed windows may originally have been inserted at the same time.

The east end of the north aisle

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Vernacular Architecture in Youlgrave

A detail of the Old Bull's Head Hotel

After a long day out to Tideswell and Hope, to see their respective mediaeval churches, I set off to the Peak District National Park again a few days later, to look at All Saints church in the village of Youlgrave, which is just over 4 km to the south of Bakewell

The Carboniferous geology around Youlgrave

With this being quite remote and served by an irregular bus service, which runs no more than once every two hours, this involved a bit of planning and to make the most of my time, I also decided to investigate the hamlet of Alport, at the confluence of the River Lathkill and River Bradford, where there is a good exposure of Quaternary tufa

The Old Hall

Arriving at Main Street on the Hulleys 172 bus from Bakewell, the early C17 Old Hall provides a good introduction to the building materials found throughout the village, with Eyam limestone used with gritstone for the walls, Ashover Grit from nearby Stanton and Birchover for the dressings and flaggy Millstone Grit for the stone roofing tiles. 

The conduit head

Continuing east along Main Street, the old Co-operative building, dated 1887, is constructed in rock faced gritstone with a Welsh slate roof and, opposite this in the centre of the road, the conduit head is built in Millstone Grit ashlar – again probably from the Stanton/Birchover area, which with Darley Dale has long since been a major supplier of top quality building stone. 

Old Hall Farmhouse

Diverting up Moor Lane to briefly look at the early C17 Old Hall Farmhouse, with distinctive mullioned windows like the Old Hall, I carried on up Church Street, which apart from the Bull’s Head Hotel is mostly lined with simple two storied terraced cottages that use either limestone or gritstone as the walling stone. 

Vernacular architecture in Youlgrave

Further up Church Street towards All Saints church, various Grade II Listed buildings include Turret House, Auburn House, dated 1734, and All Saints School and School House. The latter, dated 1888, has limestone walls and gritstone dressings with a banded blue fish-scale and red plain tile roof. 

All Saints School and School House

On the outskirts of the village, there is an interesting Arts and Crafts style lodge and stable block to Raenstor Close, built in 1911, with a garden wall to the gated principal house carved with a relief of Orpheus and reliefs of various animals.

Raenstor Close Lodge and Garden Wall

Friday, 4 October 2019

St. Peter's Church in Hope - The Interior

A detail of the alabaster reredos in St. Peter's church

When investigating various mediaeval churches in and around South Yorkshire, most of those that I have visited are generally open to the general public, but very often I have had to time my visits to coincide with Coffee Mornings, Heritage Open Days and other events when the church is opened at a time that does not coincide with a formal service. 

A view east along the nave

On a couple of occasions, I have had to ask for a church to be especially opened for me and the keyholder either got on with some work in the church, as at Laughton-en-le-Morthen, or went back home, as at Adwick-le-Street – leaving me to wander around the interior at leisure and take photographs of the features that interested me. 

A view west along the nave

At St. Peter’s church, in Hope, however, the churchwarden proceeded to give me a very informative guided tour of the church which, although much appreciated, didn’t give me much time to investigate details that would be of interest to readers of this Language of Stone Blog and I only made a very quick photographic record to which I would refer to at a later date. 

A detail of masonry above the chancel arch following C15 rebuilding

Looking down the nave, the arcades are identical, with octagonal columns and capitals that are probably dated to the early C14 – Decorated Gothic style - in keeping with the age of the tower according to Pevsner and Historic England

The old roofline above the tower arch

Although the position of the lighting in the nave made it very difficult to photograph the details of the masonry above the arcades, the old roofline above the tower arch and the distinct change in the pattern of stonework above the chancel arch provides evidence of the addition of the clerestory in the C15 – together with the other parts of the church that, on the exterior at least, are in the typical Perpendicular Gothic style. 

The font and grave slabs in the north aisle

Quickly wandering around the rest of the church, the C12 lead lined font and various grave slabs caught my eye in the north aisle but I haven’t yet managed to find any information about these. 

Piscinas in St.Peter's church

In the chancel, the c.1300 sedilia and piscina have been retained but, with the walls entirely plastered and the floor relaid with encaustic tiles, there is not much of archaeological interest here and, in the south aisle, another trefoiled piscina is just used for storage. 

A view west to the tower showing the encaustic tiles

The sanctuary, however, is interesting for its varied stones. There is alabaster in the ornate reredos, dated 1910, Carboniferous limestone in the floor and another variety of limestone - which an educated guess is Caen stone - used for the highly ornate niches and related details, and with Italian white marble used for the statuary.

Details of the sanctuary