St James' Church - Assorted Stones

The grounds belonging to St James' church are situated over the north transept of the Abbey. The flint core of the pillars is partly standing. There is photograph, dating either to the end of the 19th or start of the 20th century, which shows much more was still standing at that time. Much of this has fallen down since then and at the base of the flint core stack there is a pile of flint rubble. Some of this most probably belonged to the pillar but more was brought in when the wall dividing the Forbury Gardens from the pathway alongside St James' fell down some years ago.

I examined this area over a period of a few years and I am highlighting some of the finds I made.

Location:

Pillar core today

Pillar core in St James' garden today

St James' garden about 100 years ago

Early photo of St James' garden

Stone 1 Voussoir

The design is typical of 12th century Romanesque sculpture. The fact that it appears to be tapered suggests that it was a voussoir.

The dimensions are: top 15 cms, length 28 cms, base 12 cms

Voussoir

Other examples are to be found at Bromyard (Herefordshire) and Tickencote (Rutland).

Function:

Probably a voussoir with roll mouldings. It would have served as one of the stones in an archway as shown in this photograph of the south doorway into Bockleton church, Worcestershire. The Norman style of arch was typically rounded and the joint-lines between the stones radiated from the arch’s centre.

Other examples of this design used as a voussoir

Stone 2 Engaged pillar

Engaged Column

Taynton type stone.

Dimnesions: 30-32 cms across, 28cms at it greatest depth and 19cms from the back to the incised chevrons

This appears to be part of an engaged pillar but with distinctive side chevrons. On the base and top, (these are interchangeable as it is not possible to determine which is top or bottom), there are both deep chisel marks and cross scratchings. These may be for keying purposes whereby one stone was attached with mortar to the next stone.

For a more detailed account of the stones in and around St James see

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WImkCPQhlaT3t8kyuXhD12CCTSpnUOG0/view?usp=sharing

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