Making their journey possible...

Gildencraft Stone Masonry C.I.C.: quality products made under the guidance of Master Masons, backed up by over 900 years of excellence and tradition.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Mediaeval Stone Masonry

With a Master Mason who is part of a guild in continuous existence since 1096 it is no surprise to learn that - although very much a part of the contemporary craft industry - we are very mindful of our traditions. Here, then, are some images of stonemasons and their work during the mediaeval period [source: Harvey, J. (1975) 'Mediaeval Craftsmen' B.T. Batsford, London]: 

Compass and set-square.

Note hoist, peg-ladder and setting out with compass.

Detail depicting work on Westminster Abbey,
c1532. Note hoist with great wheel on 
unfinished tower.

French, early !5th century. Note helicoidal scaffold.

Flemish, late 15th century. Note putlog scaffold,
X-lewis gripping stone, jib-crane with through-rungs
hand-wheel and centring of arch.

English, 14th century. Note hoist, plumb-line and
bracketed scaffold.

French, 15th century. Note jib-crane
and bracketed scaffold. 

French, c1470. Note crane with great wheel.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

By Hand & By Brain

Here is an excerpt from 'Medieval Craftsmen' by John Harvey:

'... during the Middle Ages the designer had been trained as a craftsman. The same man who, later, might be prominent as an architect, had used his hands in masonry or carpentry. Few of the masters responsible for designing buildings and works of art would have been unable to instruct the workmen in the correct methods of carrying out each process. It is in this respect that mediaeval designers differed from very many modern architects, whose capacities are based upon book-learning and draughtsmanship on paper, but lack understanding of the physical properties of materials gained by handiwork in them.'

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Frosterly Marble

Frosterly marble in porch of Cathedral of St John the Baptist. Incredibly scarce in its 'raw' state nowadays. 

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Steven Skoyles - a true maker of things

Today was the funeral of Steven Skoyles, founder member of Norwich Men's Shed. The Guild of St Stephen & St George wish to recognise the passing of a good man and a true maker of things. We had planned to work with him on a project and were very grateful for his enthusiasm and positivity. As one of the Men's Shed members said to me today, "he could turn his hand to anything."  A good man well missed. 

Colin Howey
Guild of St Stephen & St George

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

End of corporatism in revolutionary Paris

Work of the Guild's Board of Master stonemasons.

Over the last three weeks our Masters have been very busy with their own work, but have also been securing friendships and ties for our guild.

This has taken them to St.John the Baptist church, Cirencester and Gloucester cathedral, The Tower of London, Hadrian's Gate, Antalya, Turkey, Süleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey and Et'hem bey Mosque, Tirana, Albania.

St. John the Baptist church Cirencester.

St. John the Baptist is the local church for our second lodge which we will be opening 2016/17, as such it will be the centre of our ceremonial liife in Gloucestershire.

The chancel is the oldest part of the church. Construction started around 1115. It was widened in about 1180. The east window dates from around 1300.
To the north of the chancel is St. Catherine's Chapel which dates from around 1150. It contains a wall painting of St. Christopher carrying the Christ Child, and vaulting given by Abbot John Hakebourne in 1508.
To the north of St. Catherine's Chapel is the Lady Chapel, first built in 1240 and extended in the 15th century.
The Trinity Chapel dates from 1430–1460 and was endowed for a priest of the nearby Abbey to say masses for the souls of Kings and Queens. It contains a squint which enabled the priest to synchronise the celebration of mass with that at the high altar.
The nave was completely rebuilt between 1515 and 1530 and is a remarkable example of late perpendicular gothic architecture.
The tower is fifteenth century and the great south porch was built around 1500 at the expense of Alice Avening.

To come Week two 

Süleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul.

Pleasing Proportions

A late fifteenth century 'four point' doorway of pleasing proportions at Wymondham Abbey, Norfolk. 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

A very bright future for hard working apprentices thanks to the boardof masters

From the very beginning all involved in our re established guild were of one mind, we were not building a Norwich guild but an international guild based in Norwich training mainly local people.

It is still very early days but I feel it time for a thank you to all the masters working hard for us voluntarily without whom many of our amazing international links would not be possible.

These people allow us access to theatres far above our current skills allow purely due to the reputation of the masters and the belief shown in the apprentices by their master who has trained many successful stonemasons over the past 20 years.

Any of the apprentices who have made the grade and fulfilled our expectations will in 2020 have the opportunity as journeymen to work on many prestigious projects lined up throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas arranged through the connections of the board of masters and their agreements to take Journeymen from other countries and share their skills with them.

Although I know all is given for love of the craft and to repay the help they were given I think I speak for all the apprentices when I thank the masters for all their good will and all they have done up to now and their help into the future.

Reculver Saxon church

The Saxon church at Reculver was built in the 7th century by . . . . Syrian craftsmen?

The minster church of Reculver exhibits the kind of features that we do not find in work from a later period. The chancel arch, an arcade of three round arches supported by 2 pillars, their shafts of nine cylindrical stones are tapered, and the effect, when one looks at the plate (right) of the east wall of the nave and chancel arch, is very reminiscent of a Roman temple, and it is highly probable that the builders reused Roman columns obtained from a nearby building. These columns thankfully survive having been moved and may be viewed in the crypt at Canterbury cathedral. The church at Reculver does not exhibit Saxon pilaster strips but it does have ‘Kentish’ buttresses which protrude some 2 feet. This is a Syrian feature since the church was built to Syrian ritual and practise by Syrian craftsmen, as the flanking porticus shows.

After the collapse of the Syrians under the Persian Empire in the early 600's AD, Eastern Christian monks and craftsmen spread throughout Christendom.

Also remember up until his death in 690 Theodore of Tarsus was the Archbishop of Canterbury, otherwise known as the Syrian.