« ZurückWeiter »
be found, arranging the marks of each series as nearly as possible in chronological order.
Taking a common standard of 3 inches, some endeavour has been made to express on the plates the difference in size of the marks; also the variations in the thickness of lines. Mr. Cox considers that the individuality of the mason is often expressed in his mark, a difference in the manner of cutting being evident, somewhat similar to that in handwriting. This is certainly the case in many instances. I have already mentioned the variation of the same mark when cut upon both fine and coarse stones. I have also noticed the same mark cut both finely and more roughly on the ordinary squared wall stones. This difference seems to me to be to some extent the result of the different tools used in the finishing of different stones.
In the notes will be found some mention of stones bearing groups of marks. On the windowjamb of the south wall of the Chapter House at Birkenhead Priory, about 1150 (Nos. 95, g6), each stone is marked one above the other. At Bromborough Manor House, built in 1673, is another form of grouped marks (No. g). Three marks are represented together, the upper one being more coarsely cut than the lower, together with a small cross. Each of these are distinct marks; one of them occurs alone on the same building and elsewhere; the other, though an ordinary mark, has not up to the present time been found alone at Bromborough. Another instance appears to be the mark from Bebington (No. 101), which may be two marks conjoined, extending to a length of eighteen inches.
Mr. Cox informs me that the course of stone in which it is found is the deepest in the exterior of the church, and it does not line with the other courses, which are all regular. It seems to have been specially put in; the distance between a buttress and the window is only two stones.
It marks exactly the place where the ancient Norman chancel began, now overpassed by the one new bay of the new nave which was not completed. The point is marked in the interior by a bracket for an image. At this point the re-building of the church, which is said to have been stopped by the Reformation, ceased, and an awkward junction of the older Norman and Decorated work was made. The living was in the hands of St. Werburg's Abbey: if the work broke off then, we have a series of the very last marks of the old monastic work, and the great mark the last one of all—a kind of farewell mark to the middle ages!
In several of the Cheshire churches Mr. Cox has observed grouped marks of another class, which he suggests are the marks of masons employed on special portions of the work, possibly cut after the setting of the stone. For example, the stone at Bebington (Nos. 22, 23, 24, 25), none of which appear elsewhere on the same building. In the south aisle of the chancel, where this stone is found, the separate marks are few in number; whereas in the other aisle, where there is no grouping, they are numerous. The date is about
Other instances of the same custom are found in Heswell Church tower, p. i92. One large stone contains about ten marks, another five, another three, and a fourth four. Some of the marks are found in other parts of the building. The date is probably about 1460 to 1480, or perhaps a little earlier. Mr. Cox informs me that the masons employed on the work have made the very best use of the material at their disposal. The very poor, crumbling stone is for the most part used in protected places. Neither the facing stone nor that of the interior could be expected to retain marks for a lengthened period, so the masons have brought from elsewhere some very strong good stones, and upon them have grouped their marks. The stones have been specially faced, and more carefully smoothed than in other cases to receive the marks, which are still very clear.
I copied a somewhat similar instance of grouped marks from the tower of Pickering Church, Yorkshire. They occur on the newel of the staircase on one stone, opposite a small loop-hole, the light from which shone directly on the marks. Only one of the three marks—which were cut close together — (the hour glass) is found elsewhere in the building. A somewhat rapid examination of the other portions of the staircase did not reveal other marks. The date of the lower part of the tower is said to be about 1130. I have also noticed groups of marks in other buildings in Yorkshire.
Other stones have been observed by Mr. Cox to bear a series of lines. I have given one example (with a mark) from Backford Church (No. 19). These peculiar lined stones, of which the churches in Wirral have yielded a fair number, were for some time a puzzle. Mr. Cox has however discovered a satisfactory explanation, which I trust he will publish before long.
Birkenhead Priory has produced a good series of marks, from Norman to post-Reformation times. One of the first of the monastic buildings dissolved, it was given to the Worsleys, who fitted it for a mansion, altering the Chapter House to suit the purposes of a private chapel. Hence marks of different dates are found in this portion of the ruins, as well as in others.
In the refectory it is interesting to notice, as Mr. Cox observed, that nearly all the marks face eastward, there being scarcely a mark upon the interior of the east wall. The marks are all large and boldly cut; they are only found on the best-finished stones, about 7 feet and less from the present level of the ground. Several instances occur of two or more marks on one stone. (Nos. 30, 31; Nos. 76, 77, 78; Nos. 79, 80; and Nos. 92, 93, on stones used for alterations and repairs in the Chapter House—both 2j4 inches.) On perhaps the finest piece of moulded work, the main entrance door, it is perhaps singular to find no other mark but the plain cross (No. 20), i*4 and ^ inches in height.
Stonyhurst College (61 marks).—Taken from the paper by Mr. Beauclerk, already mentioned. Mr. Cox points out that many of these marks also occur at Bidston Old Hall. Stonyhurst No. 35, which occurs only on the best work in the gateway arch—the earliest part of the building—is found only once at Bidston, on good work on a window-jamb (No. 30). No. 11 Stonyhurst occurs only on the same arch, but everywhere abundantly at Bidston. These men, Mr. Cox suggests, left Stonyhurst early and went to Bidston; the mason (No. n) going through the whole of the work at the latter place. Other masons (Nos. 8, 18, 21, 26. and 55) worked for a certain period at Stonyhurst, and then followed the others—perhaps their superiors—to Bidston, where their marks are found (Nos. 29, 14, 17, 53, and 43). It is perhaps worthy of remark that none of these marks appear at Mitton. Stonyhurst No. 50 is found at Bidston, on the superior work of windows (No. 49). Mr. Beauclerk observes that as the work of Stonyhurst progressed towards the dining hall, the number of men employed—judging from the marks—greatly diminished.
Bidston Old Hall (61).—Some of these marks are coarsely cut, and Mr. Cox suggests that they may be quarry marks. There are besides finely-cut marks—for example: Nos. 3, 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, 16, 18, 22, 23, 30—which are found on window mouldings. The marks are generally 2%, $}4 and 4 inches in length; No. 29 is 5 inches. Almost all occur very frequently in some parts, every stone being marked: many of them occur a considerable height from the ground, sometimes twenty feet.
Stoke Church (18; continued on the 6th plate).—Copied by Mr. Cox and Mr. Irvine. Mr. Cox points out that No. 13 is found at Eastham on Decorated work, and No. 11 at Bebington. Other marks similar to those at Bidston, Mr. Cox informs me, have been copied from Crosby Grammar School (date 1606).
Shotwick Church Tower (32, two being given on the last plate). Mr. Cox observed that in many instances a small space on the stones was prepared to receive the mark. Mr.