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Keywords

memorial
Lake District
Cumbria
Grasmere
William Wordsworth
St. Oswald's Church
The Excursion
rafters


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Naked rafters intricately crossed

Naked rafters intricately crossed
It definitely pays to look up when you visit St. Oswald's Church in Grasmere!


The original church consisted of the tower and nave only, and the porch, the south wall, the tower and the small window nearest the tower are remnants of this earliest part of the present building.

Evidently, it became too small for the people of Grasmere, Langdale, and Rydal with Loughrigg and Ambleside above Stock Ghyll (the constituent parts of the ancient parish of Grasmere), and around 1500 the church was enlarged by building a separate nave on the north side with its own ridged roof to match that on the existing nave, and piercing the massive north wall of the original church in five places to make "arches" connecting the two. This northern nave seated the people of Langdale and is called Langdale Aisle to this day.

The gully between the two roofs collected snow and rainwater, however, and in1562 John Benson of Baisbrown bequeathed money "so that the Roofe be taken down and maide oop again". What the local builders did was to build a second tier of arches on the middle wall to support a new set of upper timbers which carried a new "third" roof overarching the other two and bringing the church under a single roof with the fascinating tangle of timbers so well described by Wordsworth in book 5 of "the Excursion":

"Not raised in nice proportion was the pile,
But large and mass; for duration built,
With pillars crowded, and the roof upheld
By naked rafters intricately crossed,
Like leafless underboughs in some thick wood,
All withered by the depth of shade above."

A memorial plaque to William Wordsworth, who lived nearby and is also buried in the churchyard, can be seen in the centre of the photograph.

Juan, Mitch Seaver have particularly liked this photo


9 comments - The latest ones
Fortescue38
Fortescue38
I love all the shades of cream and beige - it would make a nice embroidery.
4 years ago.
Mitch Seaver
Mitch Seaver
Excellent shot!
4 years ago.
Mags:-) off for a while
Mags:-) off for a wh…
It almost looks like an M.C.Escher...so beautiful!
I love that the rafters play tricks with your eyes;O)
4 years ago.
Jaap van 't Veen
Jaap van 't Veen
Nice shot.
Seen and admired in Architecture of Days Gone By
4 years ago.
Dinesh
Dinesh
I see beautiful antiquity
4 years ago.
dogmarten28
dogmarten28
Fabulous interior. Interesting history.
4 years ago.
Rabbitroundtheworld
Rabbitroundtheworld
Very nice - I love the arch bottom left
4 years ago.
Juan
Juan
excellent image with great details,fantastic pastel shades well suited for this type of building !!
4 years ago.
A light writer
A light writer
Fascinating information. Wonderful lines up there.
4 years ago.