past papers

Past papers on medieval churches, castles and settlements

These previously unpublished  papers, written between 2005 and 2009, detail fieldwork and research on a varity of medieval churches and secular sites in England and Wales

Secker, D. 2005, St James, Stanstead Abbots, Hertfordshire, the .Early Medieval Church, c.1050-1250

Standing building survey indicates that the earliest part of the church dates to the eleventh century and is perhaps pre-Conquest.  The small primary building was extended eastwards and westwards in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Click here to download: stanstead abbots

Secker, D. 2006, Six Castle Sites in England in Wales with Structural Evidence

It is sometimes assumed that castles sites where only earthworks survive must have only supported timber structures, but field survey can often detect the presence of former masonry buildings, as is evident in the six sites surveyed and discussed here.  Historical background is also researched, in some cases casting doubt on received opinion.  For example, Clavering Castle in Essex has been traditionally regarded as the ‘Robert’s Castle’ mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for 1052, but is more likely to have been a late twelfth century foundation.  The ring and bailey castle at St David’s Dyfed was perhaps a fortified mint of William I rather than a predecessor to the present palace.  At Bolebec Castle in Buckinghamshire, survey suggests buried foundations of a major masonry castle.

Click here to download: Six Castle Sites in England and Wales with Structural Evidence

Secker, D. 2006, Five Manorial and Settlement Sites in Gwent

A collection of five papers, detailing surveys of some of the less well known sites in Gwent.  These are:

  1. Castell-Prin, Penhow: An earthwork enclosure of unknown date with dry-stone structural remains
  1. Dinham Castle, Caerwent: Vestiges of a satellite castle of Chepstow, first documented in 1129
  1. Kite’s Bushes, Mathern: A previously unsuspected deserted rural settlement with two or more longhouses
  1. Llanmellin Wood Ringwork: A fortified earthwork enclosure of uncertain date
  1. Runston manor house.  Remains of a small fortified manor house of thirteenth or fourteenth century date within the deserted medieval village

Click here to download: Five Manorial and Settlement Sites in Gwent

Secker, D. 2007, St Mary, Harrow-on-the-Hill: The Evidence for Lanfranc’s Church and the Possible Early Minster

The earliest standing fabric of the church at Harrow-on-the –Hill has traditionally been assumed to be the early twelfth century west tower, the church which is documented as having been built by Lanfranc having vanished.  Observation of the nave walls, however, suggests Lanfranc’s nave does survive, and reconstructed elevations indicate its possible form.  This was a church of high status, and the possibility it originated as an earlier minster is explored.

Click here to download: Harrow on the Hill Church

Secker, D. 2009, St John the Baptist, Mildenhall, Wiltshire: The Early Church and its Context

Survey of this relatively secluded Wiltshire church suggests tenth or eleventh century origins as a foundation of Glastonbury Abbey.  There is structural evidence the nave had porticus at its eastern end.  The morphology of the adjacent village is explored.  It appears to have been a planned, nucleated settlement, perhaps of late Saxon date and inspired by the nearby burh at Marlborough.

Click here to download: Mildenhall Wiltshire Church

Secker, D. 2009, Six Masonry Castles in the Lordship of Striguil, Gwent: Design and Context

There has been much debate over whether castles, and not just later ones, were primarily about defence or prestige.  This paper examines the structures and landscape contexts of six satellite castles of Chepstow on a case-by case basis, and discusses the above themes.

Click here to download: Gwent Castles

Secker, D. 2011a, The Late Romanesque Church and ‘Great Western’ Tower at St Mary, Brabourne, Kent

The church at Brabourne has a particularly massive late twelfth century west tower, commissioned by the prior of nearby Monk’s Horton.  The tower is described and use of space within it discussed.  There is evidence the church stood within a substantial earthwork enclosure probably of medieval date.

Click to Download: Brabourne

Secker, D. 2011b, St Mary, West Hythe and St Clement, Old Romney, Kent: The ‘Chip-Chevron’ Sculpture and Its Architectural Context

Chevron ornament is one of the most ubiquitous forms of Romanesque sculpture, but where dis it originate?  Received opinion that it was first used at Durham Cathedral in c.1110 has recently been challenged, an alternative prototype being Anselm’s crypt at Canterbury Cathedral.

Interestingly, there are two churches in East Kent which display ‘chip-chevron’ sculpture, an apparent hybrid between early Romanesque chip saltire ornament and chevron.  This paper explores the possibility that ‘chip chevron’ was a missing link.

Click here to download: ChipChevron


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