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St. Mary’s Church, Guildford, Surrey

Gill, Jonathan (2012) St. Mary’s Church, Guildford, Surrey. Project Report. Oxford Archaeological Unit Ltd. (Unpublished)




St. Mary's Church is a Grade I listed building and is said to be the most historically significant building in Guildford. The tower of the current building is thought to be of Saxon origin, probably having been constructed in the 10th century and there is believed to have been an earlier church on the site, probably dating from the 8th or 9th century. Oxford Archaeology (OA) has undertaken a programme of archaeological investigations and recording at the site during two phases of quinquennial repairs to the church. The work comprised several distinct elements. Phase 1, undertaken in May 2010, included: ● Archaeological watching brief during exploratory excavation works to determine the locations for two soak-away drains; ● archaebotantical analysis of straw under the roof tiles in St John's Chapel. The Phase 2 works, undertaken in the summer of 2011, included: ● Archaeological watching brief during drain runs and during the excavation for the soakaways; ● Recording of the roof structure of St John's Chapel and the North Transept while it was temporarily uncovered. Although no significant archaeological remains were identified during the preliminary Phase 1 watching brief works the Phase 2 works partially exposed two articulated skeletons which were preserved in-situ. The works also revealed two brick culverts. The investigation of the straw and organic material in the roof structure was of interest. The straw appears to have been used as a packing material rather than being traces of a former thatched roof and its use in this way appears to be very unusual. The use of cereal straw for insulation between floors is common but not as packing in a roof space. It is unlikely to be for insulation purposes and may have been intended to help prevent the breakage of tiles. This has significant implications for our interpretation of charred cereal straw/ rachis remains. The works undertaken on the roof structure in St John's Chapel and the North Transept have provided a valuable opportunity to enhance understanding of the development of this part of the building. The main roof in this area is a scissor-brace roof of probable 13th or 14th century date although the roof in the apsidal east end appears later and to have undergone a substantial overhaul, possibly in the 18th or 19th century.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects:Geographical Areas > English Counties > Surrey
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
ID Code:896
Deposited By: Scott
Deposited On:09 Aug 2012 09:25
Last Modified:13 Aug 2012 14:41

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