Wednesday, 14 December 2016

The Interior of the Norman Chancel

A general view of the Norman chancel at All Saints church

Inside the chancel of All Saints church, the general pattern of stonework is similar to that seen in the exterior and comprises Rotherham Red sandstone at the lower levels, with irregular yellow limestone blocks above it; however, the 14th century masonry used to raise the roof – unlike the exterior – contains a high proportion of recycled blocks of Rotherham Red sandstone.

The north wall of the chancel

Although the Perpendicular Gothic style windows have obliterated some of the original Norman fabric, the former position of several windows to the south and east walls can be identified from substantial remains of their window dressings – built in grey weathering limestone - and the truncated sedila, a lancet arched niche and the piscina can still be seen.

A sedila and piscina

On the north wall, a partially infilled window provides an excellent example of the extremely thick walls that are a feature of very many Norman churches - the size and shape of its voussoirs also show that their stone masonry skills were much more advanced than those of the Anglo-Saxons.

The north window

The use of large blocks of grey weathering limestone in the chancel indicates that the builders now had access to quarries that provided much better building stone than could be found in Laughton-en-le-Morthen. Richard de Busli, the grand nephew of Roger de Buslico-founded Roche Abbey in 1147 – only 3 km away - and it is therefore highly likely that its King's Wood quarries supplied this stone.

An Ordnance Survey map of the area around Laughton-en-le-Morthen

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