Tree ring dating (or dendrochronology) has been with us for a number of years. The science has helped historians understand and sometimes reinterpret the history of an individual building, and its context within a community. This was the case at Blackmore a few years ago when
The result, a construction date of 1400 or, at most, two years’ afterwards, was much earlier than anyone had previously thought and caused the understanding of the building’s history to change. Historians learned that the bell tower was almost contemporary with the construction of the roof over the nave and chancel (1381 – 97: being the date range of the 16 painted shields on the ceiling) and the likely piercing of a north door for parishioners’ use when the great west door was stopped up.
Almost seven years after the dating work was completed,
“The very poor timber matching between the individual samples is remarkable, and again underlines the idea that timber may have been gathered from several woodlands, although the matching characteristics of the site chronology suggest the sources would have been relatively local. It is also of note that many of the sites with which the tree-ring series match best have monastic / ecclesiastical connections, matching is less good with close secular sites (for example Little Braxted, Dunmow, Good Easter and Fyfield, all within a 25km range).”
As the body of evidence grows on this subject, further insights may still be realised.