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Caversham Court Gardens

There are many stones in these gardens which may have come from the Abbey. Some are in the walls and ornamental features. However there is also a large group of stones amongst which I have selected a couple of special interest.

First of all here are some photos of a few of the more interesting specimens.

The following group of stones comes from an old photograph showing some that were found before the Second World War and have since vanished.

You may able able to help.

If you recognise any of these please get on touch with us here or write to the Friends of Caversham Court. The Museum has no record of them and so would be most interested to find out more. Looking at the photograph it is easy to see that they contain some most interesting specimens.


Taynton type oolitic limestone

Description: This single block of carved limestone has mouldings typical of the 12 and 13th centuries, as depicted in Villard de Honnecourt’s 13th century work.

Function: It is a mullion stone from a window into which was inserted a leaded glass window, most probably stained glass.

Dimensions: depth 23cms, width 12cms narrowing to 9.5 cms at the runnels

The following is a page from de Honnecourt's book. It shows the templates to be used by masons. Among these can be identified mullions similar to one found at Caversham Court

It has two runnels which were most probably designed to retain leaded window fittings. These can be readily seen in the first photograph.

The mullions are the two central uprights

The mullions are the two central pillars

Windows of this design appear very late in Romanesque era, during the transition between the Romanesque and Gothic periods. They are associated with the pointed windows of the first, second and third pointed periods. (In England; the Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular).

The rounded mouldings are indicative of an earlier style, still reflecting the Romanesque period. Lorenz Lechner, writing in 1516, describes how the size of a mullion was based on a calculation of its proportion to the thickness of the walls into which the window was placed. There were two types of mullion, the old and the young, the former being the larger. If this is true then, following his calculations, it is possible to work out the thickness of the original walls


Type of stone: Taynton


This single block of carved limestone is similar to the ‘whistle’ stones found at Hyde, so called because they look like whistles. Some such stones have perfectly rounds shafts, others are elliptical. The tie in section, or tongue, in this case is carved at a right angle to the shaft.

The stone has red colouring which appears to be remnants of paint. If so it a rare example of original paint on Reading Abbey stone.


Height 15cms, across at base 12 cms, depth to tongue from base 7 cms

Function: It is likely that this was part of a column shaft as shown below. The tongue, or projecting part of the stone, would have served to tie the shaft into the body of the wall and would not have been visible. In fact the purpose of the design may have been to give the impression that this elegant shaft work was not attached. The column would thus appear to be free standing in front of two walls that were joined at an internal right angle. (See diagram)

The tongue tied into the wall as shown in these diagrams


Several other stones in the group which we are in the process of analysing. These will appear on the website in due course


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