Recent work in Aldborough

We installed a stone in Aldborough the other day, and it was a chance to see some of my previous commissions there, some of which are shown below. They vary considerably in style, design and materials. I have used all my own fonts on these, hand drawn and hand carved. I hope you like them, the older stones are starting to weather nicely now.

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Moleanos limestone from Portugal

The stone above was a memorial to a friend who ran Aldborough antique shop. The stone has references to some of his furniture and the bell that was attached to his door and rang upon entry. I miss Terry, he was a real character. He was always giving things to my kids…..

Here are a few more

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Crossland Hill York stone

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Crossland Hill York stone

Above is a York stone memorial showing the front and back of the stone. Marianne was a Moari, and the symbolism on the stone reflects her ancestry. The raised carving of the Koru on the front was copied from a bone pendant she wore and the fern carving on the back symbolises new life, growth, strength and peace.

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Woodkirk stone, from Yorkshire
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Woodkirk stone, from Yorkshire

This stone above was to a local woman of German descent, and the design and lettering was created to give a Germanic feel to the stone. I designed and drew these letters specifically for this commission. It’s weathering beautifully.

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Woodkirk stone, from Yorkshire
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Woodkirk stone, from Yorkshire
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detail from the Cook memorial above
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detail from the Denham memorial above

Above are two more York stone memorials, one featuring a lily carving and another an Ethiopian cross.

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Welsh slate monolithic piece

This wonderful piece of stone was one I came across in a quarry in Wales. I knew Alan, he was a lovely lad, a keen fisherman. The stripes made me think of water.

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Above, another piece of York stone, carved on both sides as you can see. Words by Mother Julian of Norwich adorn the back with an early Christian inspired depiction of incised doves on the back, complimenting the relief carvings on the front.

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Honed Welsh slate
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Honed welsh slate

 

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detail from Penny’s stone
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detail from Penny’s stone

This one is Welsh slate. Penny was my friend and neighbour and was very into her flowers. She was a lovely woman, missed by many. Working with slate gives a very different effect, it’s more akin to illustration than sculpture. The sharpness of the lettering and level of detail that can be achieved in slate is very challenging and rewarding.

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Nabresina limestone from Croatia/Italy border

This last image shows a cross made using Nabresina limestone. I quite like the simplicity of this, and the subtle bluey colour of the paint.

Kimberley church floor plaque

I was working in Kimberley church in Norfolk this week, adding some lettering to a large marble plaque, and was very taken by this wonderful 17th century floor plaque……

Kimberley floor plaque

HEARE LIETH ANN THE WIFE OF EDMVND WODEHOUSE OF EAST LEXHAM ESQ THE ONELY CHILD OF JOHN ANGVISH OF GRAT MELTON ESQ AN OBEDIENET DAVGHTER TENDERLY LOVING WIFE & MOTHER AND A DISRETT MISTRESE DYED THE 28 OF JULY ANNO DIMMIN 1685

There are several interesting elements to this – firstly the spelling stands out. Clearly, language has evolved in the last 333 years, but there may have been some ‘freedom’ or lack of clarity as to the correct spelling even then. I have seen some of these variants before (such as HEARE, ONELY) but GRAT (for Great) and OBEDIENET seem quite Chaucerian. I particularly like ANNO DIMMIN (for Domini) and DISRETT MISTRESE ~ is that a discreet mistress? I think it may be ‘District mistress’ some sort of role in society, but I can’t get any further than that by searching online. I welcome any comments on this.

As for the lettering style, I think it’s gorgeous. It is linear and mono-weight (no variation in weight such as you would see in brush-derived letterforms like Roman or calligraphic lettering). I particularly like the H in HEARE, the lush W’s, the X, the C in CHILD, the D in DYED, T in TENDERLY, the J in JULY, the 5 and those lovely little triangles above the (upper case!) I’s. Also the ligatures (where letters are joined as in the first THE) are delightful and the A’s are interesting – where they start the word they are embellished with a flourish, but within a word they’re simple.

Thomas the Wiveton millwright

I came across this lovely Yorkstone memorial recently in Wiveton, Norfolk. I love these stones that show the tools of the trade. This is really legible and sound after nearly 300 years……..a classic in my opinion. Interesting how the 1’s are dotted eh?

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Norwich cathedral warning!

I was in the cathedral in my local city recently and had to pass by this stone, an old favourite. This photo was taken on my phone so not great quality but I think you can get the gist of it! Make the most of your day!!

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a trip across the border to the badlands (well, Suffolk, and it’s nice actually)

I installed a memorial in Thrandeston (near Diss) this week and visited it to take some photographs with the sun on the carving. It is Woodkirk stone, from near Dewsbury. There are some pictures below CLICK ON THE THUMBNAILS FOR A BETTER LOOK :

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While I was in the area I went to see another stone I’d carved nearby in Cratfield, this stone has the inscription on both sides but in a very different design. There are some pictures of that here, it is weathering beautifully, and is also York stone but from Johnsons Wellfield Quarry (I think from memory they called it Rocking stone as opposed to Crossland Hill sandstone):

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I also saw some beautiful 18th century stones in Cratfield. I am always on the lookout for these and waited until the sun was right to get these pictures. Below these memorials are some pictures of the beautiful pews (or to use the local accent bootiful poos, which reminds me of meeting a tradesman doing some building work in Sibton and he explained it was great that they had moovable poos there!). I love the simplicity of these pews, they remind me of pictish carvings.

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Oulton Church floor plaques

I recently installed a headstone in Oulton churchyard, near Blickling in Norfolk. I found some reather nice plaques in the floor – nothing particularly unusual but really nice lettering, There are a lot of these dark plaques in church floors, and you might think they are slate on first impressions but it is some kind of limestone. It reminds me of Kilkenny limestone or Frosterley ‘marble’ and also Belgian Black. If anyone knows let me know! I love the lettering on these:ImageImageImageImage

I also saw a really old brass plaque from the mid-late 17th century. I love seeing how the spellings have changed over the YEARES:

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HERE LAYE EDMVND BELL – AND KATHERIN HIS WIFE- WHOE THIRTY SIX YEARES – DID LIVE MAN AND WIFE – THAY HAD THREE SONNS – AND DAVGHTERE THREE – FAR WILL (farewell) OVR FREINDS ALL IN – HEAVEN WE HOPE TO SEE 1636.

I rather liked this too:

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Limestone versus slate in Lincolnshire

I recently travelled through Lincolnshire on my way home, and photographed these memorials, two in Local Lincolnshire limestone and the third in slate probably from Leicestershire. They are all from the mid-late 18th Century and they show how well the slate weathers. The lettering on the limestone has almost disappeared and is barely legible whereas the slate is like new. Lincolnshire limestone is soft and needs to be carved deeply to last. I suspect the lettering was never very deep as the detailing on the cherubic angels is still quite visible. Other limestones such as Hornton limestone or Portland limestone that have always been used a lot for carving and memorial work seem to weather a bit better on the whole and sandstone such as York stone will last much longer as it contains a lot of silica. There’s a lot of variation around the country though in terms of how things last, for example Kilkenny limestone from Ireland is very hard and is much more durable.



a beautiful couple

I noticed these a while back and finally got a good photo of the pair in Skeyton churchyard, just down the road from my workshop.

What I like most about them is their size and subtlety, and their quiet subdued beauty. They are only about 12-18″ tall and yet for me stand out as being the most powerful memorials in this churchyard.

Coltishall memorials

One of my current obsessions is looking at 17th and 18th Century memorials, and Norfolk has a fine selection of these. Here are a few I photographed recently in Coltishall.

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I install my own memorial work all over Britain, and am always looking out for good examples of 17-18th century carving. Some stones from this period are very finely executed by master carvers that also studied typefaces, whereas other more “naive” examples were carved by jobbing masons, these are often more powerful in their impact, and the designs are often less carefully concieved. Often the carver will start the lettering top left and just see what happens in terms of how the words fit the stone. Some of the examples above are beautiful and obviously very carefully set out and carved, whereas others are less refined, the imagery is more direct and less “pretty”. If this is something you’re interested in I have many more photographs like these on my flickr pages. This is an ongoing project, and I am adding to these continually.

While I was in Coltishall I saw the above plaque outside on the church wall. This is an impressive piece of work with a lot of letter-cutting, (but it was rather difficult to photograph in the flat light). The wording is what made me want to post this image though, and it reads thus:

Sacred to the Memory of SIDAY HAWES and ELIZABETH his wife.
SIDAY HAWES was born at BURY in Suffolk, 8th October 1748
and died at 6th October 1827, in the 79th Year of his Age.
He was a Man of excellent understanding and great moral worth,
pious, just, and conscientious.
ELIZABETH, his wife, was the only daughter of HUGGINS PORSON,
parish clerk of EAST RUSTON and was Sister of RICHARD PORSON, late Greek
Professor in the University of CAMBRIDGE.
She was born 27th April, 1756, married 27th November 1786, and
died 7th March, 1842 in the 86th Year of Her Age.
She had by nature a strong and capacious mind, which she
found time to cultivate amidst the hardships of her early
life, and the various employments of her later Years:
whilst her piety and benevolence made her take delight in relieving
the sufferings of the poor, for she had both seen and felt what
those sufferings were. And thus, to the day of her Death,
she shared her own prosperity with the
class from which she sprang.
Happy herself she tried to make those around her happy, and with
firm and cheerful trust in the promises of our blessed Saviour,
she looked forward to Death, not as an evil but as a
glorious change of existence.
“O DEATH, WHERE IS THY STING? O GRAVE WHERE IS THY VICTORY?”
They had Seven children, two of them died young, and were buried
in this Church at the East end of the South Aisle.