Friday, 10 September 2010

Blackmore: Bell Tower at Priory Church of St Laurence

Despite the best efforts of woodpeckers to vandalise our local landmark, Blackmore Church’s bell tower (photo taken in 1951) has stood since the year 1400. It is an impressive structure, both outside and in, with visitors gasping in amazement at the ingenuity, skill and effort of our ancestors. A few years ago I was involved in project which achieved an accurate construction date and, in the process, reinterpreted the history of our Priory Church building. The man who carried out the work was Dr Martin Bridge of Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory. He made a return visit to Blackmore on ‘Teas In The Tower’ day in June with friends from English Heritage and from overseas and, although I could not be there in person, wrote to me to say how welcome their group had received. Having renewed our contact I asked him to give a talk on his specialist and professional subject of tree ring dating, as it is commonly known.

He will be giving the talk to the ‘High Country History Group’, which meets at Toot Hill Village Hall at 8.00pm on Thursday 21 October. Entrance for non members is £2.

Thursday, 21 October 2010
“Dating old timbers: how to date buildings like Greensted Church”
Dr Martin Bridge

The talk will cover the background to how tree ring dating (dendrochronology) works and illustrate its strengths and weaknesses. A number of local examples will be discussed – including Blackmore - where dendrochronology has shown its ability quietly to revolutionise the world of dating medieval buildings and artefacts. There will be some discussion of likely future developments.

Other meetings of the High Country History Group can be found on

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