Wooden Churches

Wooden Churches In Walcott's Sacred Archaeology (pages 614, 615), the principal facts concerning the wooden churches of the Middle Ages and a little later are given in brief.

"Nether Peevor, built in the time of Henry II; a chapel at Bury St. Ednmund's until 1303; St. Aldhelm's, Durham, 998; St. Stephen's, Mayence, 1011; a stud Lady-chapel at Tykford, and another at Spalding, in 1059, were all built of wood, as many of the Norwegian churches (like Little Greenstead, 1013; Newtowni, Montgomeryshire; and Newland, Worcestershire) are to this day. The latter may have been a grange altered to form a church. Ribbesford has wooden nave-arcades. The excellence of English carpentry is conspicuous in the woodwork preserved to us in roofs, as at Peterborough, Ely, Old Shorelham, Polebrooke, Warmiuigton, anud St. Mary's Hospital and the palace kitchen, Chichester; the Gueston-hall, now in a church, mit Worcester; and St. Mary's, Reading; doors, as at Beaulien and Luion; cloisters, like the dean's at Windsor, of the 14th century; lychgates, as at Beckenham; windows, like those of Englefield; stalls, as at Lancaster, and some of early English date at Salisbury; screens, as at St. John's Hospital, Winchester, Roydon, Ewerby, the palace chapel, Chichester, Lavenham, and St. Margaret's, Lynn; or early stall desks, like one preserved at Rochester, of the 12th century. The curious 'fish-scale' ornament of Norman spires is an imitation of the oaken shingle so common in Kent and Sussex, a clear proof that there were earlier spires of wood. Probably the Gothic stone spire was derived from Normandy, where the earliest — the pyramid of Thann — forms a succession of steps, of the end of the 12th century, and was the prototype of Comornes, Basley, and Rosel. But England never prioduced such a grand example of ornamental carpentry and lead as the fleche of Amiens." American churches and chapels from the first have been largely of wood; but the present tendency is towards structures built of more substantial material.

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