Thursday, 29 December 2016

St. Nicholas Thorne - The 14th Century

A restored window in the north aisle

According to the guide book for the church of St. Nicholas, the next phase of reconstruction took place shortly after 1326, when new windows were inserted into the cobble masonry that forms the aisles and to which the parapets were added - both of them being built in dolomitic limestone.

A plan of the church
The windows to the aisles are consistent in style, and it has been assumed that they originally contained Y-shaped tracery – as seen in the westernmost bay to the north aisle - and the surrounds to their window arches are irregular and similar to those of the clerestory.

The bonding of the cobble masonry adjacent to the lower parts of the window jambs to the clerestory, which contrasts strongly to the squared limestone walling above it, suggests that the windows here are contemporary with those of the aisles.

When surveying various mediaeval churches, I have looked for patterns in the tooled stones that provide clues to the relative dates of their various structural components – as well as examining them with a hand lens and using a steel knife, hydrochloric acid and other tools to determine their physical and chemical composition.

Such authorities as Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, English Heritage, the South Yorkshire County Council Archaeology Service and various local historians have given various interpretations of the construction history of these churches and, as a geologist, I have just been following their footsteps and trying to fill in a few gaps...

The south side of the clerestory

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