Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Corbels

I showed you a picture of our corbels covered in snow in an earlier blog and here it is again.  We have three on the back wall and found another in the garden wall.  According to Wikipedia (don't tell my students!), a corbel is a piece of masonry jutting out of a wall to carry any superincumbent weight.  The technique of 'corbelling', where rows of corbels that are deeply keyed inside a wall support a projecting wall or parapet, has been used since Neolithic times and was also common in Medieval architecture.

The following information is from the Historical Society, talking about the corbels and the datestone or plaque that accompanies them:

There are two earlier items of interest on the west side of the property, a datestone and three corbels.   Located on the wall of the chimney and facing out towards the L....... Road these are in what would have been a formerly prominent position where they would have been clearly seen by passers by. It appears that this wall was originally rendered. The corbels are proud of the rest of the walling and the datestone and the heads stand out. They are now obscured from the road by a later extension to the house. These may have been reset from their original position. The datestone bears the date of 1581, initials and a craft or trade sign. Datestones are notorious when it comes to dating property as they may have been moved from another position or added at a later date to the original build.  The three medieval corbels are interesting as they would have supported something like the springing of an arch which is why they are broad at the top. These can be seen in churches where the arches spring from corbels rather than pillars. There is a possibility that these were removed from St M......’s Church at some point during the Reformation.

Corbel in the Garden Wall - Centre of Picture

They're looking a bit the worse for wear, the detail of the faces beginning to dissolve in the rain.  I know the feeling.  So, having taken some advice from the local council History Centre, we have added a conservator to the growing list of specialists whose skills we need.

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