Friday, 8 July 2022

All Saints Church in Laughton Revisited

The priest's door in the chancel
Due to its remote location and the difficulties of getting from Treeton to Laughton-en-le-Morthen by public transport, I had only visited All Saints church on a very few occasions, before I stopped briefly to look around its exterior during my walk from Throapham to Maltby.
The Norman chancel

Although its present form is essentially the result of the complete rebuilding of the church in the late C14, in the Perpendicular Gothic style, it incorporates a Norman chancel and an Anglo-Saxon north doorway – both of which contain significant amounts of a red sandstone that I have always thought was the Rotherham Red variety of the Mexborough Rock.
The Anglo-Saxon north door
Taking a closer look, although most of the dull red/purplish sandstone in the Norman chancel and the voussoirs on the arch of the Anglo-Saxon doorway look like Rotherham Red sandstone, the bright red stone used for the right hand pilaster does not.
The right hand pilaster to the Anglo-Saxon doorway

Together with the pilaster on the left hand side of the doorway, it is actually made of a long block of face bedded light brown sandstone that is more typical of the Coal Measures sandstones, with the bright red colouration restricted to a thickness of a few centimetres.
The left hand pilaster to the Anglo-Saxon doorway

When exploring the area around Ravenfield and Wickersley, some of the building stones from the Pennine Upper Coal Measures Formation that I saw were distinctly reddened and the geological memoir for the Sheffield district describes red staining in various places.
The priest's door in the chancel
Although I have only seen a few lumps of red sandstone on the surface of agricultural land, many of the old buildings that I have seen on the Wickersley Rock are built in stone that has similar colour variation to that seen at All Saints church.
The east elevation of the chancel
During subsequent visits to Wickersley to explore its vernacular architecture and undertake some research on the Wickersley Quarries, I came across an account which asserts that stone from Wickersley has been used at All Saints church – but this needs further investigation.
A detail of a restored mullion
The ashlar masonry to the church is in generally good condition but, like many churches built using limestone from the Cadeby Formation, the moulded sections to the windows have been susceptible to decay and have been mainly replaced – only for recent restoration work to show signs of weathering after a few years.
Efflorescence on a recently carved moulded section

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