The Church of St Helen-on-the-Walls, Aldwark

Item

list of authors
J. R. Magilton
list of contributors
D. M. Palliser
Is Part Of
The Archaeology of York [Series]
The Medieval Walled City North-East of the Ouse [Volume]
volume
10
issue
01
Publisher
Council for British Archaeology for York Archaeological Trust
Date Copyrighted
1980
Date Available
Digitally available on 16 June 2023
Abstract
Rescue excavations by York Archaeological Trust on the north-east side of Aldwark, York, in 1973-4 revealed foundations of the parish church of St Helen-on-the-Walls, formerly located by York topographical writers within the Roman fortress but now shown to have been the building excavated. The earliest church, a small rectangular single-cell building, was stone-built with a mortar floor and overlay the mosaic of a 4th century Roman town house which may have influenced the choice of site, although they did not share a common alignment. This probably late10th century church was later extended by the addition of a square chancel narrower than the original building, and the first east wall was demolished. A succession of earth and mortar floors accumulated within it during the 12th century. In the next phase of building, the chancel was extended and the footings of the east wall of the earlier chancel were used as a step to the raised floor of the sanctuary or as the base of a rood screen. The north and south walls, and possibly the west wall, of the first church, which formed part of the nave in this period, were rebuilt on wider foundations. No floor levels of this or later periods survived.

In the late 14th or early 15th century, perhaps on documentary grounds shortly before 1424, the church was almost entirely rebuilt as a rectangular structure slightly wider but the same length as its predecessor. There were indications of a porch or bellcote at its west end and of a doorway on the south side of the chancel. Later in the same century, or perhaps early in the 16th century, the church was extended westwards and part of the north wall may have been rebuilt. The church went out of use c. 1550 and was demolished shortly afterwards.

Architectural fragments and building stones from church wall footings and from a number of post -medieval features on the site are discussed, and the development of the church plan is considered. A report on the traces of metalworking at the west end of the church is included. The excavations of burials in the associated cemetery and the anthropological study of the human remains are discussed in AY 12/1.
Rights Holder
York Archaeological Trust
Rights
CC BY 4.0
Format
Portable Document Format (PDF)
Is Format Of
Paper publication
Identifier
GB2837-PUB-AY-10-1
oclcnum
7641611
isbn10
090031298X
isbn13
9780900312984
Type
Text
Language
English
page start
1
page end
47
number of pages
47

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