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Q: UK church building history 1550s ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: UK church building history 1550s
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: ambresbury-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 13 Mar 2006 15:07 PST
Expires: 12 Apr 2006 16:07 PDT
Question ID: 706905
What churches or other religious buildings, or parts of them such as
towers, were newly built (i.e. not restored or repaired) during the
reign of Queen Mary (1553-1558) in the UK?
Previous knowledge: The Abbey of Waltham in the county of Essex (in
the town of Waltham Abbey) was dissolved by Hen VIII in 1540. he left
the western nave and central tower to its east, but demolished the
eastern choir and transepts. After a few years the tower collapsed and
the church began to lean to the west. In 1556-58 a new tower was built
to the west of the church to prop it up. It has been claimed that this
was the only, or one of the few, church towers built during Mary's
reign. I wish to find out how accurate this claim is.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 14 Mar 2006 04:04 PST
Well, it does seem to be the case that not too many churches show up
as having been built during this period.

There are a few though, including of course:
Waltham Abbey

...The tower at the west end of the church, which now dominates the
town, was built in 1556 using materials from the demolished parts of
the abbey. It was erected at the west instead of the east end, where
the old tower had fallen down, because the church was leaning in that
direction and needed propping up.

Others are:
The church of ST. MICHAEL (The parish of Chenies was originally known
as Isenhampstead)

...The north or Bedford chapel was built in 1556 

[Not quite a church, but...]
Parish church of St. Lawrence, Ludlow

...The Reader's House house near the parish church, Ludlow....To the
east of the church this rather splendid medieval stone house was built
in 1555
...Horningsham also has a Congregational Chapel, known as the Old
Meeting House. The story is that the Chapel was built in 1556...The
claim that this is the oldest Free Church in England was questioned
some years ago, but it is believed to be the oldest still in use for
Old Langho, St Leonard   
...The Old Church at Langho was built in 1557 and is a rarity, for few
churches were built then

What additional information would you need to make for a complete
answer to your question?


Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 14 Mar 2006 04:10 PST
...and another:
Church of St Deiniol , Worthenbury 

...A chapel is mentioned here in 1388, and it is known that a brick
and timber structure was constructed in 1557...

Clarification of Question by ambresbury-ga on 14 Mar 2006 10:48 PST
Thankyou very much pafalafa for the info you have provided already.

What would be extremely useful would be a discussion of the
architectural style of the structures of this period. For instance,
and following on from the observation made by geof-ga, it is thought
that at the Dissolution the specialised skill-base of monastic masons
and builders were fully absorbed into working for those lords that
bought the old monastic sites and had them converted into or replaced
by residences, often re-using ex-monastic stonework.

Therefore any religious structure built at this early post-refmn
period may well have not been built to very high standards, either of
materials or of design, or both.

Any thoughts or observations along these lines, either in support or
not, would be very welcome; also perhaps a discussion of this period's
architectural style in a pure sense, i.e. did the religious stuctures
of this period continue or develop the High Gothic style; conversely,
can they be assigned to a new ecclesiastical style of architecture, or
were they simply the dog-eared products of a very unsettled age when
quality materials and skilled workmen were being swallowed up by the
secular market?

Please only reply to the extent that you feel the fee warrants; I
realise I may have asked for a lot here, but it was  mainly to give
you an idea of the direction my enquiry is taking, not how far in that
direction you should have to go! Many thanks.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 14 Mar 2006 18:17 PST

I'd like to ask you for a bit of advice.

I've found one or two other references to church-related structures
from the time of Queen Mary, but it seems clear that there aren't many
to be had.  I'd be glad to post these references (in addition to those
already provided) as an answer to your question, if that would suit

As for your clarification regarding architectural styles...that's
where I need some advice.  This is really a very different topic than
your starting point, and Im tempted to suggest you post this as a
totally separate question here at Google Answers (probably for another
researcher to answer, as it's not my forté).

So...please let me know how you'd like to proceed?  Should I answer
your original question by posting the information I've found about
Queen Mary-era church structures?

Or would you prefer to wait, in the hope that someone will come along
who feels able to add information on the architectural styles of the

Let me know your thoughts.


Clarification of Question by ambresbury-ga on 15 Mar 2006 14:46 PST
Hi paf.

To be fair, you have already been able to provide information that I
couldn't find, and I thought I was fair at search engines! I feel you
have earnt your money even if you think you could have done a bit more
for the fee; I would be glad to accept your latest results as well as
what you have provided already for the fee stated. If you feel you
should add a bit more, then how about developing the theme a little
from within the area of your own specialism, however you see fit? What
is your forte - websearch technique? I see you've answered over 1300
questions; any basic advice to a brand new questioner? I can take it
on the chin.

My interest is local social history more than architecture, genealogy,
archaeology, or any other of its constituent studies on their own.

Regards, ambresbury.

Clarification of Question by ambresbury-ga on 15 Mar 2006 14:56 PST
Hi again paf. Just found your 2003 interview. Liked the last comment -
I bet they whisper it all over Turkey, eh? Glad I didn't put up $200!
Cheers, ambresbury.
Subject: Re: UK church building history 1550s
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 15 Mar 2006 17:53 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

I'll tell you what.

In the course of my searching, I came across a number of non-church
structures from the 1550's.

Since your interest is not only in churches, but in the architectural
styles of the period, I'll list some of these, as well.  As a bit of a
bonus, I'll also give you a full run-down of my search strategy, as it
was fairly involved (dare I say, even 'sophisticated'), and might be
of interest to you.

First the list:

The only additional church to add is this one:
Church of St Deiniol , Worthenbury 

...A chapel is mentioned here in 1388, and it is known that a brick
and timber structure was constructed in 1557

But there are quite a number of other structures from the same time
period, including:
Berwick Ramparts
...Berwick's extensive fortifications surrounding the old town were
built between 1558 and 1570 to replace earlier medieval defences.
Castle Bromwich
...Castle Bromwich Hall is a Jacobean Mansion that was built between
1557 and 1585 by Sir Edward Devereaux, the first MP for Tamworth in
Staffordshire. It was single storey with a plain entrance.
Falcon Inn
Painswick, Gloucester 
...Built in 1554, it used to be a courthouse, was used for
cockfighting in the bad old days, and then became a Coaching Inn.
...St. Michael's Church is another building of particular interest to
visitors. Although there are some earlier features the main part of
the building is in the perpendicular style and was built between 1350
and 1555.
...Mount Edgcumbe House is a magnificent example of a red stone Tudor
House, it was built between 1547 and 1553 by Sir Richard Edgcumbe of
Wythenshawe Hall and Park, Northenden, Manchester 
...The Tatton family built Wythenshawe Hall in 1557
Cromwells Castle
...It was built on the site of a blockhouse built as part of a series
of fortifications built in 1548-1554.

[Chaucer's tomb dates to this time...WARNING!  This is a very large download]
'That ther lakke no word...'
...His tomb in Westminster Abbey pins down his date of death to
October 25 1400, but since this tomb may have been erected as late as
1555; no reliable evidence exists as to the exact date of his death

[and here's an actual architectural milestone!]
Mount Edgcumbe House
...Across the water from the historic city of Plymouth lies the great
Cornish House of Mount Edgcumbe. The house was built between 1547 and
1553 for the renowned Edgcumbe family of Cotehele and became the home
of the Earls of Mount Edgcumbe.
...For the first time in England a house was built to take advantage
of the wonderful situation and views rather than as a defensive house
built around a courtyard.
Ripley Castle 
...A castle was built in 1450 (only the gatehouse survives) and was
supplanted by a Tudor castle built in 1555 and Georgian remodeling.
Beningbrough Hall 
...Yorkshire, a baroque palace built in 1556
Charlecote Park  
...Warwickshire, has been the home of the Lucy family since 1247, and
the present house was built in 1558
...The Tudor Merchant's House was built in 1558 by the Lylley family of dyers. 


There are more out there.  Perhaps you'd like to take a try at finding
them yourself!

I used three different searches to find these items, and each search
combined a variety of Google search syntaxes.

For starters, there was this one:

[ church "built OR constructed OR erected OR modified in 1553..1558"
uk OR england ]

(the brackets are just a stylistic convenience...don't use them in an
actual search).

This search uses three advanced Google features:  quote marks, the OR
term, and the numer range tool.  What's more, the three are actually
nested one inside another.

Let's break it apart:

church -- looks for web pages that contains this term.  You might want
to try other terms, such as [ parish ] or [ chapel ]

OR -- this term (always in caps) is just what you would think, and
tells Google to look for [ built ] OR [ constructed ] OR....etc.  I
also used it to find pages with UK OR England.

1553..1558 -- a very nice feature, the number range (two dots) tells
Google to find pages that contain any number within this range.

quote marks -- Tells Google to find an exact phrase, that is, the
exact combination of words used in the search query.

nesting -- This is where it all comes together.  Originally I intended
to search on [ "built in 1553..1558" ], whcih would find any of the
following exact phrases:

built in 1553
built in 1554
built in 1555
built in 1556
built in 1557
built in 1558

But writers don't always use the word 'built', so I used the OR tool
to add in 'constructed' OR 'erected' OR 'modified' and so on.  This
makes for an awkward-looking combination of terms, but this one search
will find all uses of phrases like "built in 1553" or "constructed in

Cool, eh?

Here are the actual results from this search, which you might want to
peruse for any additional information of interest:


I also searched on:

"built OR constructed OR erected OR modified in 1553..1558" uk OR england


to remove the [ church ] term, and open up the search more broadly to
any sort of structure.

Lastly, I added a wildcard (*) term, which proved to be a bit too much
for poor Google, as it only returned a small number of results:

"built OR constructed OR erected OR modified * 1553..1558" uk OR england


The intent here, though (which did work!) was to replace the word [ in
] with a wildcard that could find, e.g., 'built during' or 'erected
after', and similar sorts of word combinatins.

This is a lot to swallow all at once about searching.  If you need
some clarification of any of this, just ask, and I'm at your service.



P.S. And for a little more on both me and Google Answers, there's always this:
An Insider's View of Google Answers
ambresbury-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
What can I say paf? You have provided me with more than I ever could
have hoped for; your breakdown of the google search syntaxes was
thankfully easy to understand; I think I'd better study the advanced
search features a lot more in future! And all that detail about
secular buildings is actually considerably helpful, as I was beginning
to move forward from church stuff to what happened on the sites of the
dissolved monasteries, ie. new manor houses for the new landlords. You
have helped me tremendously. If you ever want some esoteric data on
the history of this small part of the county of Essex in the UK to
help answer some other question, feel free to drop me a line. Best
regards, ambresbury, a committee member of Waltham Abbey Hist Soc.
Have a beer on me!

Subject: Re: UK church building history 1550s
From: geof-ga on 14 Mar 2006 01:37 PST
Given that Mary was on the throne for only 5 years, and that building
a church tower would in the 16th century have been a fairly serious
and lengthy undertaking, it would be surprising if many church towers
had been built during her reign. At the same time it is quite likely
that because of the religious upheaval in Mary's time - ie her attempt
to restore Catholicism and her persecution of reformists - that church
authorities had more life and death matters on their mind than
constructing towers.
Subject: Re: UK church building history 1550s
From: ambresbury-ga on 14 Mar 2006 11:04 PST
Thankyou for your thoughts geof-ga. You are of course absolutely
correct, and it was this situation which no doubt made the original
claim that Waltham Abbey's tower was one of the few, or the only, such
buildings erected at that period, so easy to make - and possibly so
hard to prove or disprove!

As you say, other 'life or death' matters took precedence back then,
and I would imagine that any building work done then would have had to
have overridden such priorities; in the case of Waltham Abbey the
reason could well also be described as 'life or death' - for the
church itself, which was threatening to collapse around the ears of
its heavily-troubled parishioners.

John Foxe was resident at Waltham Abbey during the final stages of his
writing the Book of Martyrs.
Subject: Re: UK church building history 1550s
From: pafalafa-ga on 18 Mar 2006 13:17 PST

Thanks for your kind and generous feedback. 

This turned out to be quite a lot of fun to work on...hope we'll have
a chance to work together again, one of these days.


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