Friday the 13th: Visiting Three Somerset County Churches with a Dendrochronologist.

Friday we visited three churches, all of which had some kind of wooden feature that needed to be dated. So, at the first church, St. James at Cameley, we met up with a dendrochronolgist who used to work for the National Trust, but now does most of his work in the States from his lab in Baltimore.
At this first church, the locals had long talked about a wooden carved head, which was supposedly the head of a Templar Knight.
This carving was taken down yesterday and handed over to the dendrochronologist (I’ll just call him Dendro Guy from now on), and he examined it. The piece is made from oak, and weighs about 15 pounds, I’d say. And Dendro Guy is taking it to his lab in next week.
The second church we went to was in Puxton, and it’s known for it’s leaning church tower. But it also has some very old, medieaval wooden pews, which Dr. Rushton would like to know the date of, which is why Dendro Guy was brought to this church, too.
And the last church was St. Michael’s in Clapton-in-Gordano, and this was by far my favorite church of the day. In addition to having potentially the oldest church pews in the county, it also has a fantastic wooden carved screen that separates one room for another. Dendro Guy was having quite a hard time examining it, and determining how and where he was going to drill into it for his core sample, because the carving itself was so ornate.
He is coming back next week to do the core samples on the wooden screen and all the church pews.
It’ll be really interesting to see what results come back.

Friday, like Thursday, involved a lot of driving. But it was nice to see a bit of the countryside, and the weather was actually quite nice yesterday. In terms of work today, I was in charge of taking pictures of the locals interacting with the “experts.” Dr. R told me last week that he was going to ease me into work, but I had no idea I would be this easy at first. Of course, next week the real work begins. I’ll start work on their regional newsletter, and on putting together some stuff for the Inglesham project which starts in two weeks.

We got home around 6pm, and decided on Indian take-out for dinner. We talked about the churches and how they had been presented, in terms of how much CCT (Churches Conservation Trust) was inside the actual church in the way of brochures and posters, and whether or not it deters from the visitors ability to just appreciate the church or not. And then I decided to go to bed pretty early, after a nice hot shower.

Saturday and Sunday are my days off. Saturday I’m going to Wells, which has a wonderful cathedral, and Sunday I’m staying in Glastonbury, but will finally take the hike up the hill to Glastonbury Tor. 🙂

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