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Alexander, Jenny (2013)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Languages: English
Types: Part of book or chapter of book
Subjects: NA, DA
The priory church of Hexham which survives from the late 12th to early 13th century is an ambitious building of some size that derives its architectural design from\ud buildings in the north of England and Scotland. The choir and transepts were planned together but there is evidence in the fabric that a change was introduced during the building of the north transept, and it is suggested that this was due to the replacement of the master mason. The construction sequence can be understood from a detailed examination of the fabric, and from a survey of its masons’ marks.
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    • 18. P. Draper, The Formation of English Gothic: Architecture and Identity (London 2007).
    • 19. L. Hoey, 'Pier Design in Early Gothic Architecture in East-Central Scotland, c. 1170-1250', in Medieval Art and Architecture in the Diocese of St Andrews, ed. J. Higgitt, BAA Trans., xiv (Leeds 1994), 85.
    • 20. Hoey, 'Pier Design (as n. 19), 95 n. 14.
    • 21. The apse was in the fourth bay from the east, Hodges, Guide (1913) (as n. 9), 32-34. The lack of alignment between the piers and responds at the west end of the aisles, most noticeable on the north, can be attributed to the construction of the aisle walls before the apse had been removed.
    • 22. Construction of the north side seems to have been more piecemeal, with little consistency between the masonry of the spandrels.
    • 23. Masons' marks are usually associated with piecework, since masons on regular wages had less need to record their output for a pay-master. See J. S. Alexander, 'Masons' Marks and the Working Practices of Medieval Stonemasons', in Who Built Beverley Minster?, ed. P. Barnwell and A. Pacey (Reading 2008), 21-40. Of the eleven masons who worked on the piers, only two are not found elsewhere in the building. Repairs to the piers may have distorted the evidence, but it is clear that one was on site for some time as his work can be seen on seven piers, whereas the other only worked on one and may therefore have only worked for one season.
    • 24. R. Fawcett, Scottish Medieval Churches (Stroud 2002), 330. Fawcett has reconstructed the unaisled presbytery at Jedburgh with a similar elevation to Coldingham, although without the upper shafts: R. Fawcett, Scottish Abbeys and Priories (London 1994), 50.
    • 25. R. Fawcett, 'Arbroath Abbey: A Note on its Architecture and Early Conservation History', in The Declaration of Arbroath: History, Significance, Setting, ed. G. Barrow (Edinburgh 2003), 50-85. William the Lion, founder of Arbroath, was also a patron of Hexham: Priory of Hexham (as n. 2), xv.
    • 26. Fawcett, Abbeys and Priories (as n. 24), 44.
    • 27. It is most obvious above the north-east crossing pier, the equivalent area above the south-east pier has been disturbed by the later cutting in of a corner shaft.
    • 28. The interior is less consistent on the south and the string-courses beneath the windows are at different heights in the choir and transept aisles.
    • 29. The spandrel piercings have been reproduced in the replaced sub-arches on the north.
    • 30. Lanercost's south transept also has a triforium window in the same position and the clerestory window is similarly offset to avoid structural problems.
    • 31. Visible in Grimm's drawing from his Northumberland Sketchbook: see London, British Library, MS Additional 15543, fol. 39 (reproduced as pl. 13 of Hodges, 'Conventual Buildings' (as n. 9)).
    • 32. In most facades with two levels of lancets, the windows do not line up since the upper windows are often of a different width than the lower ones, and Whitby's use of the shafts on the inner wall accentuates the fact that the lancets there are aligned.
    • 33. The respond has a simpler design than the arcade piers, although its base was intended for one that matched. It is possible that it may be a later replacement since it is not coursed in to the masonry around it, but the south aisle also has a different respond to its arcade piers. The arch into the nave aisle has the same design as the transept arcade piers for the north jamb and a different one to the south.
    • 34. A lack of suitable foundations caused the pier to sink towards the north and twist its side of the arch, presumably as the weight of the arch settled on it, and some voussoirs slipped. The arch did not fail, however, and the coursing of the spandrel blocks reveals little distortion, although problems are visible in the aisle vault, and the stair behind the respond has been filled in. The arch is asymmetric, as is the arch at the other end of the arcade which was built with the crossing pier to which it is attached, although that one is lower, which suggests that their geometry had been calculated before that of the main arcade arches.
    • 35. These arches are replacements, but earlier ones are shown in 18th-century drawings, for example, Grimm's Northumberland Sketchbook, BL, MS Additional 15543, fol. 18. A second set of bases, with an annulet on a narrow course has partly been modified to support the taller arch on the right hand side of the arcade. The original design continues that of the transept aisle exterior where there is an arcade of arches on detached shafts surrounding the windows.
    • 36. It is distinctly different to the treatment of the clerestory in the south transept where the string-course remains at the same height and the transition to a taller proportion for the terminal wall is effected by lengthening the shafts in the adjacent bays.
    • 37. The choir clerestory has no marks and must have been built under a different payment scheme that did not require the masons to mark their stone.
    • 38. One mason, who marked seventy-two stones, only has one sited in the north, with sixty-seven in the south and four in the crossing; another has twenty-six blocks in the south transept and only two in the north; a third mason's work consists of twelve marks in the south and a single one in the north.
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