Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Cobbles & Boulders

A general view of the south elevation of the church of St. Nicholas

The de Warenne family owned quarries in the Don Gorge - 20 km upstream of Thorne - and the dolomitic limestone here has been used for finely tooled arcades, arches and doorways in several churches in the area, which date back to at least 1175.

The south aisle and clerestory

It is therefore surprising to discover that the walls of the church of St. Nicholas, which have been assigned a date of c.1200, essentially comprise an irregularly coursed jumble of stones that have been quarried from the Quaternary glacial deposits upon which Thorne is set.

A general view of the north aisle and clerestory

A quick examination of the external walls of the aisles and clerestory shows that the bulk of the stones are large cobbles of Carboniferous sandstone and Permian dolomitic limestone, whose textures vary from flat and very angular to sub-rounded and, according to the British Geological Survey, it is highly probable that these were deposited very near to the front of a melting glacier that flowed from the north-west.

A detail of rubble walling in the south aisle

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