Be Your Own Sleuth!

In the article about Clerestory Windows, we touched on the debate about when they were created.

Now that we are (virtually, at least) outside, we can see some more evidence.  The “inside” guide blithely spoke of how the windows were originally pointed at the top.  That may be true – but only the four western windows:

The four eastern ones make the statement into a lie.  They are uncompromisingly square:

These eastern windows were clearly made and designed for the lower eaves of the south aisle and we see them in an original, unaltered design

… and now look at the clerestory windows above.  This one, from the east, shares just the same detail in the tops of the mullions as the (square) windows below.  The glass looks similar too.  They match!
My vote here is that these windows were made at the same time as the south aisle windows below.  All of this section was built in one period in the 16th century.

So far, so good – but further west, the clerestory windows are different.

Though they share a lot of features with their eastern cousins, they are much more ornate and sport a fine drip moulding around the top.  Are they contemporary?
Frankly, I haven’t a clue!  Can you make up you own mind?

The roof line

Here, perhaps, is a conundrum with a more satisfactory solution.  Look up at the east side of the tower where you can see the inverted “V” shape of a previous roof line.

It is clear that a previous, much steeper roof once existed.  That is shown by the blue line, though we have no evidence whether the roof angle was a straight line or whether it curved, rather as the north side does now (shown by the brown shading).

At some stage (probably to increase the height available for the clerestory windows) the roof pitch was decreased to the current angle (red line).  By lowering the roof ridge, the walls could be built higher – while, at the same time, preserving the two small windows in the tower.

It seems, therefore, that this alteration in the roof shape is a very likely part of the insertion of the clerestory windows.

What do you think?

A musing

What follows is purely my musing.  It is plain conjecture and has absolutely no foundation whatever in scholarly research.
It may well be pure hogwash…

But I wonder…  I wonder if, in the early 16th century, when the Dissolution of the Monasteries was still 40 years ahead, someone decided to do a major upgrade of St Andrew’s.  The accession of young Henry VIII in 1509 (he was 17) ushered in the English Reformation and confidence may have been high.

The plan was to install the clerestory windows, reshaping the roof to accommodate this – and extending the church significantly to the east. 

Much of this work will necessarily start at the west end.  The roof would be removed and the timbers laid by for re-use.  Maybe some of the ends had rotted too.  As the walls were built up to fit the new windows, slightly shorter roof joists would be needed for the shallower roof.

As the work progressed, the trouble started.  Hints that the established church was coming under stress from an avaricious monarchy began and the money started to run out.  Rather than abort the job, they finished it as cheaply as they could.  The windows were left unadorned and the foundations for the extension scrimped – even to the extent of laying stonework directly onto the turf.  And that’s why the western new windows were better made than the ones to the east and that’s why the east end nearly fell down at the end of the 19th century.

But, as I say.  That is all fairy story.  I think it’s possible.  But it may be hogwash.

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