« ZurückWeiter »
Lewis remarks (Joum. Arch. Assoc, xlv., 151):— "All evidence seems to point to there having been "bands of skilled workmen attached to great "monasteries, cathedrals, and in later times large "cities, whose example and training influenced "the districts around. When works of great mag"nitude were in hand, these bands were, no doubt, "increased; and when the works ceased they were "lessened in number, the members dispersing here "and there, and leaving their marks in various "places." I am inclined to go a step further. It seems to me that there were in early times not only lodges more or less permanently fixed at all great buildings, but that they at the same time existed, to some extent at least, in the form of head or governing bodies over certain lodges, which had been started by and were fed with workmen from their own ranks. These lodges, whether temporary or permanent, according to the requirements of the particular case, would naturally follow the same rules, and, no doubt, consider themselves as owing fealty to the head or mother lodge from which they sprang. The members of such subordinate lodges might either return to the mother lodge on the completion of the new work, when not permanently fixed in a district; or, if several different buildings were required within a reasonable radius, become a permanent lodge there, and with assistance from the mother lodge and other sources, supply all the labour required. That the guilds or companies of various towns existed long before they received charters of incorporation is certain, but what was the exact connexion between the head lodge and the "outfield" lodges is not clear.
Nothing but a careful collection of the whole ot the marks found in a building, or a number of buildings known to be of about the same date, where the series or nearly the whole series of marks obviously recur, would settle the question of "differences." It would, at the same time, enable us to distinguish with tolerable certainty in such a case, and would go far towards elucidating the question of head or central lodges.
A comparison of this kind has been made by the Rev. C. S. Beauclerck (Stonyhurst Magazine, Dec., 1884) of the marks found at Stonyhurst, and at the Church of Mitton, where the Shireburn Chapel, or " new choir," was built by Sir Richard Shireburn. Mr. Beauclerck has made a careful examination of the marks at Stonyhurst, commenced by Sir R. Shireburn, who died in 1594, before the work was finished. The building was completed by his son, who died in 1628. The foundation stone is supposed to have been laid between the years 1585 and 1588; and the masonry was all but finished at the death of Sir Richard. Little short of seventy masons, it appears, were employed on the works, and Mr. Beauclerck considers that it was commenced with no less than fifty, a very considerable number for a private house. During the building operations Sir Richard Shireburn commenced the Shireburn Chapel at Mitton, which is not far distant.
From the plate of marks illustrating Mr. Beauclerck's interesting paper, it is clear that six of those found at Stonyhurst appear on the chapel at Mitton; all being the marks of masons who worked on stones prepared for special positions in the former building. This, though a late example, no doubt shows that the workmen were drafted off from one place to the other when they could be spared. What became of the lodge of seventy masons when the whole of the works were completed is, of course, not known,3 but the difficulty of collecting together such a large number of masons, in such a district as the country round Stonyhurst must have been in 1588, without the help of some central authority, seems to me more than a probability.
3 Cf. the marks from Bidston Old Hall, Aughton Church, &c.
Mr. Freshfield (in the Archceologia, vol. 50) also states :—" I think I traced the same marks upon "all the buildings of the same date up the valley "of the Ebro; and I certainly came to the con"elusion that the buildings had been built by gangs "of workmen that followed from one place to "another, using their marks as they went."
The late Prof. G. E. Street, in his work, Gothic Architecture in Spain (p. 438), says that he was unable, except in one or two cases, to detect the mark of the same mason in more than one work. From this he supposes that the masons were "stationary rather than nomadic in their habits, "a deduction which is fortified by the difference of "general character which may, I think, be detected "between the groups of marks in different build"ings." From calculation, Mr. Street considers that there were a large number of masons working in Spain. This being the case, large lodges would exist at all the buildings, and the necessity for drafting off men would be removed so far as these particular buildings were concerned.
The marks were for the most part in early times cut in the centre, or nearly the centre, of the face of the stone, so as to be easily seen when the stone was placed in the wall. I think it is clear that although some masons were careful to cut their marks in a straight position with respect to the edges of the stone, many were not. Often the mason appears to have cut his mark as he happened to be standing when the stone was finished, regardless of the position. In consequence, marks are often found the wrong way up, and in many other different positions. This will be easily seen from the plates annexed, upon which all the marks are given as they appear on the stones when built into the wall. Mr. F. S. Waller, to whom I am indebted for an interesting series of Norman marks from Gloucester Cathedral, having for some years had the superintendence of the restoration there, he and his son have had peculiar advantages in examining the stones. He informs me that in no instance have marks been found cut on the Norman stones in any other position but the face.
This, however, does not appear to have been a fixed rule abroad. Mr. Freshfield, in the paper just quoted, mentions that in the desecrated church of Taon, near Caen, which is not a very early specimen of Norman, he found the double-headed arrow cut upon the inner face of the stone, " and "it may be," he adds, " that this was the practice of "the French Norman masons, as it certainly was "a method occasionally adopted by the English "masons of the thirteenth century."
Mr. Chalmers (Archceologia, xxxiv., p. 33, &c.) also states that marks are often made on the beds of the stones, and therefore become invisible on buildings. "If it be objected that they thus "lose their usefulness in the appropriation of bad "workmanship to the true delinquent, the answer "is simple; the marks are not made by the "builders, but by those who prepare the stone for "the builders, and when they have passed through "the hands of these their use is exhausted." Other instances have been noticed. Street (Gothic Architecture in Spain, p. 113) remarks that in the case of Leon Cathedral, the masons seem to have marked the beds and not the face of the stones; also that the early masons' marks are but few in number. Various portions of the building date from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century. Marks were also found on the beds of the stones of a conduit at Sherborne, built in 1510. They were also cut in the same position in other countries. Prof. Lewis found some on an over-turned column in the ruined mosque of Amru at Cairo; other marks have also been found at Ascalon in Palestine, and Amman in Moab. (Lewis " Masonry and Masons' Marks." Trans. Lodge Quat. Coronat, iii., p. 68.) Mr. Whitley thinks that with the decline of Gothic architecture the marks appear to have disappeared from the face of buildings.
It is not often possible to examine the beds of the stones in ancient buildings. I have occasionally found marks, upon carved work, cut on the bed, but they are not common. They are sometimes numerals, or of simple form, such as a plain cross, and appear to me to be intended as key-marks or guides to the workmen in placing the stones.
I am inclined to refer the date when it became more usual to cut the mark on the bed of the stone to a little earlier than the year 1600; when the craft had lost muchrtrf its former glory and power, and the marks themselves had lost, to a great extent, their value and symbolism.
The modern custom is, I believe, to cut the mark on the upper bed of the stone, so as not to be seen when the stone is in its place. There are, however, a number of instances in which the marks appear plentifully on the face of masonry of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but principally upon walls and bridges. The size of marks has also been generally reduced in modern times. I do not think, however, that the size can be taken as a certain guide, as I have often seen in early buildings the same mark, evidently of the same mason, cut almost every size between about fourteen inches and three inches in length. Mr. Beauclerck, in the paper on Stonyhurst already referred to, observes