Merton College, Oxford, Oxfordshire : The Tree-Ring Dating of the Fellows’ Quadrangle

Author(s): Daniel Miles, Michael Worthington

Fourteen timbers were sampled from the Fellows’ Quadrangle, Oxford; seven from the east range and seven from the south range. Eight samples from the roofs of the two ranges were combined to form the 167-ring site master MERTON2, with a date span from AD 1442 to AD 1608. Seven of these samples retained complete sapwood. Those from the east range were felled during summer AD 1607 through to spring AD 1609, where as those from the south range were felled in the spring and summer of AD 1607. The other dated sample from the south range roof has a felling date range consistent with these precise felling dates. As the documented construction date for the Fellows’ Quadrangle is AD 1608–10, these results show that the original timbers survive in the two dated roofs and suggest that some timbers were stockpiled for a short while prior to construction. In addition, a single timber from a cellar stair newel in the south range was felled in the spring of AD 1694, indicating its insertion over 80 years after the construction of the range.

Report Number:
Research Department Reports
Dendrochronology Standing Building


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