Saturday, 21 March 2020

St. Peter & St. Paul in Mansfield - Part 1

A general view of the south elevation

Finally arriving at the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, after a good look at the geology and historic buildings of Mansfield, I started my investigation at the tower and made my way around the church in a clockwise direction. 

A view of the tower from Church Side

Standing on the opposite side of Church Side it is quite easy to see that there is a distinct break in the style of masonry, between the second and third stages of the tower and the much later spire, which Pevsner dates to 1669. 

Variation in the masonry of the tower

The lowest two stages, with its round arched windows that are obviously Norman, are built in coursed rubble masonry with large quoins; however, the C14 upper stage, with Decorated Gothic windows, has alternating courses of normally bedded and face bedded stones, with no quoins. 

The west elevation

Although pale yellow dolomitic sandstone is used throughout the tower, with occasional reddened stones in the Norman masonry, those of the upper stage appear to be much softer and more susceptible to weathering, particularly seen in the delamination of face bedded blocks. 

The west window of the north aisle

Moving round to the north aisle, the 3-light west window has a four centred arch and Perpendicular Gothic tracery and, examining the surrounding masonry very closely, clearly defined dressings to both sides of the current window indicate an earlier opening that has been infilled. 

The lancet window in the north aisle

The masonry continues with the same pattern in the walling of the west end of the north aisle, where there is a C13 lancet window, but the adjacent porch was rebuilt as part of a major restoration in 1870-71. 

A general view of the north elevation

The rest of the north aisle has C13 walling as seen to the west of the porch, although the stonework beneath the window sills is modern and retains sharp profiles and unweathered surfaces. The windows are both in the geometric Decorated Gothic style, with the 2-light right window being original and the left 3-light window restored. 

Geometric Decorated Gothic windows in the north aisle

Continuing to the north chapel, there are several clues to its later C15 date. The buttress masks a joint where larger blocks of ashlar have not been bonded with the earlier roughly squared and coursed masonry, the various mouldings are discontinuous and the stone itself has a distinct yellow tinge. 

The north chapel

The windows to the chapel are square headed, with tracery that is very similar in design to the west end of the north aisle. A quick inspection of its east end reveals another four centre arched window, although the tracery is obscured by acrylic sheeting, and there is no bonding of the masonry with the chancel.

The east end of the north chapel

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