Friday, 16 December 2016

All Saints Laughton - The Interior

A general view of the north arcade and north aisle at All Saints church

Once inside All Saints church in Laughton-en-le-Morthen, a quick look at the walling stone used for the aisles, the extension to the nave and the visible parts of the tower shows that Rotherham Red sandstone has been extensively used, together with roughly squared dolomitic limestone.

A general view of the south arcade and the north aisle

There has been some debate about the floor plan of the Anglo-Saxon and Norman structures that preceded the Perpendicular Gothic style church, partly based on the use of Rotherham Red sandstone for both the north doorway and the lower parts of the south elevation of the chancel.

A view of the nave from the chancel

The geological map of Laughton-en-le-Morthen shows that the nearest source of Rotherham Red sandstone is much further away than dolomitic limestone quarries that, at the time of the Norman rebuilding of All Saints church, had already supplied stone to build Roche Abbey, Conisbrough Castle and St. Helen's church in Treeton.

Dolomitic limestone used for vaulting to the tower

Given the logistics of quarrying and transporting Rotherham Red sandstone from so far away, the Norman builders wouldn't have specially brought in an inferior building stone to line the internal walls and the volume of stone - which has been recycled for this purpose - provides evidence that the original church would have been quite a substantial structure.

An angel in the south arcade

Much of the stone used in the internal walls has been obscured by the remaining thick layers of lime, but this doesn't stop the change in colour and texture between the walls and columns to the arcades – and the arches that spring off them – from being so noticeable.

Various style Norman capitals in the north arcade

The re-use of round Norman columns and capitals in the north arcade, which contrast strongly with the octagonal section 14th century columns used for the south aisle, has also raised further questions - is this yet another case for the Geological Detective?

The south door

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