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Research

Guardian article (PDF Document)

Medieval Masons' Marks 

Santiago de Compostela

URSS Project 2011 - The construction of the Cistercian Church at Pontigny, c. 1130-1150

URSS Project 2012 - Kirby Hall, the construction of an Elizabethan Great House

URSS Project 2013 - The Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland, Leicestershire

URSS Project 2014 - The Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland, Derbyshire

URSS Project 2016i - The Lichfield Cathedral Stone Collection Catalogue Revision

URSS Project 2016ii - 17th- and 18th-century Stonemasons' Wills in The National Archive

URSS Project 2016iii - A Stonemasons' Firm in mid-Wales in the 19th and 20th centuries: the evidence from the firm's workbooks

URSS Project 2018i - Sculptors of the High Seas: carvers in wood working for the Admiralty in the 18th century

URSS Project 2018ii - The Lichfield Cathedral Stone Collection Catalogue Revision part 2

URSS Project 2019 - The Stained Glass of Rugby School Chapel

Research Interests

My research is concerned with the architectural history of the great churches and cathedrals of the medieval period, and with the ways in which those buildings were constructed and used. I am interested in how the medieval, and early-modern construction industry was organised, how masons were trained, how buildings were designed and how the materials used were chosen, supplied, and worked. I have published a number of studies of individual buildings, as well as papers on building materials, and on aspects of medieval design and construction including masons' marks. Part of my work at present is on the changes that occurred in site organisation during the emergence of the architect, as opposed to the master-mason, in the early-modern period. I am also interested in the way in which the intended use of a building, whether as a centre for pilgrimage, the setting for a shrine, or as a statement of power, influences both its design and layout.

Most of my work has been based on a detailed study of the fabric of medieval and early-modern buildings, a form of buildings archaeology, to determine the ways in which those buildings have been constructed. I have been working on buildings from the 13th century in this country, particularly those of the East Midlands, and more recently have been looking at 11th and 12th-century major churches in France and Spain. I have also extended this study to the early-modern period and have been working with English Heritage on Apethorpe Hall in Northamptonshire, for which I adapted and further developed the recording methodologies that I had previously used on medieval buildings. I am now extending this type of study to other country houses in the Midlands.

Recent Invited Lectures

October 2019 Symposium, Eleanor of Castile and the Northampton Cross, 'Building the Eleanor Crosses'.

July 2019 Leeds IMC, 'Stonemasons' Marks'.

July 2019 Colloquium, All Things Stone, 'Melbourne Church, Derbyshire'.

December 2018 Southwell Community Archaeology Group, 'Masons' Marks and Graffiti'.

October 2018 CBA Regional Group Meeting, 'St Guthlac and Crowland Abbey'.

November 2017 Cambridge Medieval Art Seminar Series, 'Ciphers on Walls, are these Apotropaic?'

January 2017 Derbyshire Archaeological Society Memorial Lecture,'From Cathedrals to Country Houses. How Did Stonemasons Cope in the Early-Modern Period?'

September 2016 Conference, Society for Church Archaeology, Canterbury, 'How Did Stonemasons Cope with Change in the Early-Modern Period?'

July 2016 Colloquium, All Things Stone, Barcelona, Spain, 'Was the Builder of the "Crazy Vault" Really Crazy? Reaction and Response in the 13th century at Lincoln Cathedral'

February 2016 Conference, Remembering Richard Morris, Courtauld Institute of Art, London, '"Apotropaic Marks" and the Training of Stonemasons'

July 2015 Colloquium, All Things Stone, Collonges le Rouge, France, 'Santiago de Compostela and Conques'

July 2014 Colloquium, All Things Stone, Lincoln, 'The Angel Choir at Lincoln as Mausoleum; the 14th-century tombs and their masons'

June 2014 Keynote Address, 'Public or Private Ritual Space? The Angel Choir at Lincoln in the later-medieval period', Rituals from Life and Death: Performance, Arts and Society, Warwick University PG Conference

January 2014: Conference, New Insights into 16th- and 17th-century British Architecture, Burlington House, London, 'Masons' Marks versus Signatures in the Early-Modern Period'

July 2013: Workshop, The Archaeology of the Medieval Portal, University of Bamberg, Germany, 'The South Portal of Lincoln Cathedral'

June 2013: Colloquium, All Things Stone, Aguila de Campoo, Spain, 'Santiago de Compostela: new thoughts on the construction of the great pilgrimage church'

April 2013: CRSBI Annual Lecture, Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 'Santiago de Compostela: new thoughts on the construction of the great pilgrimage church'

December 2012: Department of Art History, University of Bamberg, Germany, 'The Angel Choir at Lincoln as Mausoleum: the 14th-century tombs and their masons'

October 2012: Post Graduate Lecture series, Department of Art History, University of Cambridge, 'The Angel Choir at Lincoln as Mausoleum: the 14th-century tombs and their masons'

September 2012: Medieval Seminar Series, University of Trondheim, Norway, 'Recent Work on Masons' Marks'

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Kirby Hall