Author Topic: St Barts Hospital. Rochester.  (Read 389 times)

Smiffy

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Re: St Barts Hospital. Rochester.
« Reply #29 on: October 25, 2019, 05:55:36 PM »
Interesting to compare the drawings with this map from the 1860's. As you can see the chapel was almost completely surrounded by other buildings, the main access being via Chapel lane and the Chapel steps in the High street.

MartinR

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Re: St Barts Hospital. Rochester.
« Reply #28 on: October 25, 2019, 12:22:52 PM »
I've edited my previous to emphasis that the first two steps relate to the founding of the hospitals, not the chapels.

CAT

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Re: St Barts Hospital. Rochester.
« Reply #27 on: October 25, 2019, 12:18:20 PM »
I can agree with the general assumed timeline you put forward, but you might have to exclude the apse at Harbledown as there is no firm evidence that the earliest constructional phase is directly associated with Lanfranc, though he is noted as being the hospitals founder. As you say, there would almost certainly have been timber structures on the site first with masonry building following, but how far following. Why would Lanfranc instigate the building of a square ended chancel in the earliest phase of St Gregory's Priory, Northgate, Canterbury and with no sign of an apse at St john's Hospital Chapel, Canterbury (though the present chapel is a later reduction and modification of the earlier structure)? I wonder if the apse at Harbledown is post Lanfranc, say Archbishop Anselm? Unfortunately, only limited research, and observations have been undertaken at Harbledown to be able to clarify this point further.

MartinR

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Re: St Barts Hospital. Rochester.
« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2019, 10:45:01 AM »
Actually this is all starting to hang together.  You state: "A revival of the eastern apse, ... appears to have been favoured in the parish church from about c.1100 - 1125.  It is worth bearing in mind that St Bart's chapel was not a parish church, but a private chapel for a hospital.  Greenwood says that the chapel was first built in Gundulf's time and completed by between 1115 and 1124 by Hugh de Trottescliffe after Gundulf.  Note that this is completion, not commencement.  The dating of C11 for the apse by Greenwood indicates a TAQ of 1100.  The Elliston-Erwood (1934) reference is only a single sentence: "A very interesting though much restored example of a mediaeval spital of the twelfth century with its apsidal termination still standing".  Interestingly, the next entry is for Harbledown Hospital where, although subsequently destroyed, there was an apse with a foundation date of 1084.  In summary:
  • Greenwood: apse TAQ 1100.
  • Greenwood: church complete 1115-1124
  • Apse revival:  c.1100 - 1125
  • Elliston-Erwood: TPQ 1101
Assuming that (1) and (4) are both ridiculously precise we have the following putative narrative:
  • 1070 Lanfranc founds Harbledown hospital
  • 1078 Gundulf founds St. Bart's hospital
  • 1084 Work starts on the Harbledown chapel.  At some point it is decided to use an apse which is just coming into fashion.  From whence does the fashion come?  France?
  • Around 1100 work starts on St. Bart's chapel.  The latest new style (as at Harbledown) is used.  Building starts from the East end.
  • 1115-1124 St. Bart's chapel complete in its original form.
I must emphasize that this narrative is highly speculative and unsourced.  For both hospitals an earlier chapel might have existed, possibly wooden, but the building of the stone chapels has erased any trace thereof.
So to return to Greenwood's speculation that St. Bart's may be the earliest surviving example of a Norman Apse.  I think that with the words "may be" it is a reasonable statement.

CAT

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Re: St Barts Hospital. Rochester.
« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2019, 09:16:50 AM »
I stand corrected MartinR, you are correct with the reference; I was following something else that Aymer Valence had written and crossed it over by mistake.

Either way, even at the time of F. C. Elliston-Erwood's article on 'The Apse in Kentish Church Architecture' (Arch. Cant. Vol.43, 1931), the remains at St Bart's, Chatham was recognised as being of twelfth-century and not earlier. It seems that the main reasoning for the dating of the St Bart's apse by Greenwood is the zig-zag decoration of one of the window heads, which must be the one in the left of the two late eighteenth-century drawings of the St Bart's apse? If this is the decorated window, with Greenwood's suggestive date, this would lead Historic England to use this a cited dating criteria for the construction of the apse?

Unfortunately, the adjacent excavation failed to clarify the date of the apse further, which means that regional trends, and comparisons have to be relied upon. As I mentioned earlier, the early Norman church buildings were not big on constructing curving apsidal east ends at a parish church level, so opted for the square ends instead. 

MartinR

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Re: St Barts Hospital. Rochester.
« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2019, 06:35:50 PM »
If you look back at my post of October 17, 2019, 10:05:25 AM, you'll notice that I emphasised the word "may".  In the official listing English Heritage states:
Quote
apse has a half conical roof with 3 round-arched C11 windows with incised zig-zag decoration, and taller chancel gable
The listing description quotes "London: 1976-: 202; Greenwood EJ: The Hospital of St Bartholomew Rochester: Rochester: 1962-)" as its source.

Turning now to the documents you cited.  Are you certain Aymer Valance is the source?  Elliston-Erwood FSA, Frank Charles: "Plans of, and Brief Architectural Notes on, Kent Churches", Part II in Archaeologica Cantiana, volume xl (1947) p 16 has exactly the same text, not just the words but typographically identical, even to the extent of the slight distortion on line 5.  Page 17 has the illustration you reproduce.  https://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/arch-cant/vol/60/plans-and-brief-architectural-notes-kent-churches-part-ii
Also in Arch. Cant. is a 1782 plan from Thorpe's Registrum Roffense see https://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/arch-cant/vol/98/report-excavation-grounds-st-bartholomews-chapel-chatham.

CAT

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Re: St Barts Hospital. Rochester.
« Reply #23 on: October 24, 2019, 03:27:33 PM »
Always worth airing caution MartinR with the accrediting foundation dates with actual structures, which is a common pitfall from the past. A foundation document does not necessarily relate to the buildings on the site. I include an inferred plan of the hospital chapel and accompanying text by Aymer Valence (a respective church authority of his time), both of which suggest the chapel, with its apsidal east end is of early twelfth-century and not late eleventh-century as a foundation document might imply.

Apart from the larger religious establishments (cathedrals and priories), it is thought that the early church builders following the Norman conquest preferred the square east end. A revival of the eastern apse, unless it was already in place prior to the Norman conquest, appears to have been favoured in the parish church from about c.1100 - 1125. Archbishop Lanfranc (first Norman archbishop) certainly didn't favour the apse in the parish church, all of which can be roughly dated to his term possess square east ends. The curving apse subsequently went out of fashion after c.1150 with numerous 'apses' being removed and squared off, these were subsequently extended in the following years. 

snodlandmalc

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Re: St Barts Hospital. Rochester.
« Reply #22 on: October 24, 2019, 01:55:21 PM »
Interesting to see a picture of the children's ward,although it does still send a shiver down my spine ! I was in there about 1958/59.I was only about 4,so don't remember to much detail of it.I recall it as being dark and dingy,so I think it was on a lower level.

Smiffy

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Re: St Barts Hospital. Rochester.
« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2019, 12:07:47 AM »
If I remember rightly this was discussed on the old forum and confirmed as Lloyds paper mill.

MartinR

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Re: St Barts Hospital. Rochester.
« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2019, 11:37:41 PM »
Thank you for that.  Do you know if the paper mill (and associated narrow gauge railway) was Edward Lloyd's Sittingbourne and Kemsley complex?

Smiffy

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Re: St Barts Hospital. Rochester.
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2019, 10:57:36 PM »

I thought I'd post this link for those who haven't seen it. The date says 1929 but it actually dates from the end of 1930.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR5QQa7rDRQ

MartinR

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Re: St Barts Hospital. Rochester.
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2019, 10:46:23 PM »
I stand slightly corrected.  The word "Norman" was missing.  "Very few Norman apses remain unaltered and Greenwood suggests that this may be the earliest remaining example in the country".  Greenwood, E.J. (1962), The Hospital of St Bartholomew Rochester, The Author, page 29.


CAT

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Re: St Barts Hospital. Rochester.
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2019, 09:23:49 PM »
Just a couple of pics from my collection all dated to the early 1950's. The first being a general view of the hospital, the second being a glimpse at the children's ward and a third of the operation theatre. May bring back some memories?


MartinR is on dangerous ground when describing the medieval chapel as possibly having the earliest surviving example of an apsidal east end. Think about the early Anglo - Saxon churches of Kent, or any number of early Norman examples that abound also.

stuartwaters

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Re: St Barts Hospital. Rochester.
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2019, 09:30:10 PM »
I merged the two threads about St. Barts Hospital in Rochester. All the posts about it in the Category 'Civic Buildings' are now in the thread contained in the Hospitals and Asylums Category.
"I did not say the French would not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Admiral Sir John Jervis, 1st Earl St Vincent.

MartinR

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Re: St Barts Hospital Rochester
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2019, 10:05:25 AM »
The East end is original.  Indeed it may be the earliest surviving example of an apsoidal east end.  The nave is C13, but may contain earlier work obscured by the alterations (for a similar example of burying see Rochester Cathedral).  The N aisle is 19C, as is the porch.  Stained glass is 19thC and 20thC.  There's a write up at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Bartholomew's_Hospital,_Rochester and the listing is at https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1268238  The last I heard it was being used by Granite Gym, but their server can't be contacted so that may no longer be the case.
There's an interesting report of the 1982 excavation of the (possible) hall in Archaeologia Cantiana here: https://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/arch-cant/vol/98/report-excavation-grounds-st-bartholomews-chapel-chatham