Monday, February 25, 2013

Upleadon, Gloucestershire

Timber tower

My recent posts have been about timber-framed houses, but here's something more unusual: a timber-framed church tower. The tower at Upleadon dates from around 1500, the same period as the glorious merchant's house Paycocke's, which I featured in my previous post. As at Paycocke's, the framework is close-studded and infilled with brick, although here the brickwork (but not the woodwork) was renewed in the 1930s.

The rest of the church (of varying dates form Norman to 19th century) is built mostly of sandstone with some patches of limestone. The part of Gloucestershire (the northwest of the county) where this church is situated is not renowned for its stone – we are a fair way from the limestone country of the Cotswold part of the county – and scarcity of stone no doubt caused the builders to use a different type of structure for the tower. The church is also built on a clay mound and perhaps the builders thought a timber-framed structure, lighter than thick stone walls, might work better on a site subject to movement. Whatever the reason, Upleadon's brick and timber tower, on its slight rise above the River Leadon, makes an arresting sight.

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