Small, Square Block Ashlar


In the North of England there are some dozen keep-like structures which share a common characteristic, that is that they are built with small, square blocks of masonry to form a poor ashlar, generally with quite large spaces between the block faces due to the stones having more rounded corners.  Usually the spacing between the block faces are about an inch wide, rather than close fitting as proper ashlar would be.  The photograph above is Prudhoe keep.

These keeps, and one gatehouse are:

Appleby
Bamburgh, keep and Oswald's Gate
Brough, first floor
Carlisle
Dacre
Etal
Mitford, shell keep
Norham
Prudhoe
Richmond
Tickhill, gatehouse


The argument has been put forward that these are made from Roman ruins.  However, sites actually on/adjacent to Roman masonry structures don't seem to follow such a pattern, viz:

Bewcastle, built on a Roman site and presumably with Roman cut stones does not.
Bowes has more rectangular better fitting ashlar


Other keeps in the district bear some similarities to these dozen small, square blocked works, but fit more into the straight ashlar category, viz:

Conisbrough
Scarborough
Thirlewall (smaller blocks)
York Clifford's Tower



A similar style of building can also be found among various, but not all Roman works, viz:

Birdoswald fort
Brunton Turret
Chesters fort
Great Chesters fort
Hardknott fort?
Hare Hill Wall
Housesteads fort
Milecastle 37 and associated wall
Planetrees wall
Steel Rig wall


Outside Hadrian's Wall other similar styles exist at:

Chester Amphitheatre
Lincoln
London
Pevensey


Elsewhere along Hadrian's Wall are sites where the blocks are similar, but much more rectangular than square.

Black Carts Turret
Chesters Bath House
Harrows Scar fortlet
Ravenglass Bath House
Vindolanda


There are also a variety of church sites in the north that have such stonework.  To name a few:

Bamburgh
Barnard Castle church
Billingham
Burgh by Sands tower
Bywell St Andrew
Calder abbey
Carlisle cathedral
Escomb
Heavenfield
Hexham
Houghton le Spring
Jarrow
Lindisfarne
Long Houghton
Norham
Old Berwick
Ovingham
Seaton Delaval
Warkworth





 

Copyright©2022 Paul Martin Remfry


  • Index

  • Home