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Building stone of King’s College Chapel and relevant medieval Cambridge

2pm - 3pm Friday 11 September
The recording will be then be available for viewing from Monday 14th

The medieval buildings that survive in Cambridge are typically built of combinations of local Clunch (hard Chalk) and fieldstone with stone from Barnack near Stamford, the closest source of Jurassic oolitic limestone. Most churches had rubble walls of fieldstone or Barnack ragstone that were rendered, then lime-washed in white.

For his grandiose building project at King’s in the mid 15th century, Henry VI also wanted a white church but one realised in smoothed stone (ashlar) of Magnesian Limestone from distant Yorkshire. In this geological tour we will see how Henry’s aspiration was only partially fulfilled and how war, politics and geology meant that Henry’s successors had to compromise in order to complete the project. We will also look at how other colleges were financially constrained to build in brick during later Medieval and Tudor times, and how it was to be a century after King’s Chapel was completed before stone ashlar was used in colleges again.


Apologies for the delay in uploading the video - You can now watch again via the link below.​

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