Sunday, 14 February 2010

Saxon Door - Westminster Abbey -

This is the oldest door in Britain at Westminster Abbey. Dating back to the time of Edward the Confessor. The Octagonal Chapter House dates back from the 1250s. One of the Largest in England. The monks met here every day for prayers and to read a chapter from the rule of St. Benedict to discuss days work. The Kings great council first assembled here in 1257. this was effectively the beginning of the English Parliament. There were fragments of hide adhering to the door legends suggest that it was humans. That somebody in the middle ages had been caught committing sacrilege in the Abbey, had been flayed and his skin nailed to the door as a deterrent to other would be felons. The timber technique known as 'dendrochronology' that the timber was felled between 1032AD and 1064AD.

The door is made of five vertical oak planks, held together with three horizontal battens or ledges and iron straps. The battens are recessed into the planks which is unusual. So that the door is flush on both faces. Normally medieval doors have a flat 'front' face and a 'back' which has projecting ledges and braces. The door was intended to communicate between two spaces of equal importance.

The boards were cut from a single tree and the visible rings on them represent growth during the years from AD 924 to-1030. As some of the bark and sapwood was trimmed away when the planks were made into a door.

The door measures 6 and half feet high and 4 feet wide. Has been cut down. the top was originally round - arched, and the door would have measured 9 foot by 4 and a half wide. After the planks were fitted together the planks would have been covered with hide to provide a smooth surface for decoration. Then the iron hinges with decorative straps with curled ends were fixed using large headed nails and clench bolts.

No comments:

Post a Comment