Saturday, 21 January 2017

Wakefield Cathedral - Memorials

Volcanic green slate

Looking at the fabric and principal structural elements of the exterior of Wakefield Cathedral, the main interest to the geologist is the variation in colour and texture of the various Carboniferous sandstones used in different phases of building and essential restoration and – in the interior – there are many opportunities to observe the physical characteristics of the sandstones that were chosen by the mediaeval builders.

White marble

Although my continuing investigation of the mediaeval churches in and around South Yorkshire was essentially planned as a way to revive dormant professional skills that have previously proved very useful to architects, archaeologists and specialist contractors involved in their conservation, all of the church interiors that I have seen to date contain magnificent examples of art and craftsmanship that are worth seeing just for pleasure.


Obviously, as a geologist, I am always interested to know which stone comes from where – in the British Islands, mainland Europe or from much further afield - and when walking around this cathedral, examples of volcanic green slate, black slate, Carboniferous limestone and alabaster from England can be seen, along with various marbles and serpentinite from Italy.


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