The Tree-Ring Dating of the Roof Carpentry of the Eastern Chapels, North Nave Triforium, and North Porch, Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire

Author(s): Daniel Miles

Eighty-four samples from 62 individual timbers were sampled during 1998 from the eastern chapel roofs of Salisbury Cathedral. This included the original roof of the northern Chapel of St Peter and the Apostles, and the southern Chapel of St Stephen and the Martyrs, as well as a couple of samples from re-used timbers from the former glaziers shop over the Chapel of the Trinity and All Saints. Of these 62 timbers, 49 were dated, three producing precise felling dates of spring AD 1222, which accords well with a documented consecration date of 28 September AD 1225. Of the samples dated, 35 formed a 314-year replicated chronology SARUM1, spanning the years AD 908 - 1221. This matched extremely well with materials from the region around Dublin, suggesting that much of the structural timberwork for the earliest roofs was imported from this area. Five other timbers matched better with chronologies from southern England and were combined to form the 108-year chronology SARUM2, spanning the years AD 1106 - 1213. During 2000, a further 176 samples were taken from 159 timbers throughout the roofs of the north porch and north nave triforium. Of these, 123 timbers dated. Three precise felling dates were produced for the primary construction phase: two from the winter of AD 1251/2 and one from the winter of AD 1254/5. A fourth felling date of summer AD 1236 identified an earlier reused timber. A 201-year chronology from 27 trees SARUM3x was produced, spanning the years AD 1054 - 1254. A series of lead sarking boards from the roof were identified as imported from Ireland, and shown to be part of the original construction. Forty-nine of these timbers were considered to have originated from 42 trees and were combined to form the chronology SARUM4, spanning the years AD 878-1230. Finally, other post-medieval roof boards and structural repair timbers produced three more site chronologies.

Report Number:
CfA Reports
Dendrochronology Standing Building


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