Posted top top October 15, 2010 through Véronique Gray in Cathedrals, In the name of God - the civilization of cathedrals, many read articles 0 Comments

Thanks for circumstances to the creating of chroniclers choose Father Suger (in Saint Denis Cathedral in France) and also Monk Gervase (in Canterbury Cathedral in England), we have a much better understanding of the structure of middle ages cathedrals.

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Rarity the materials

Constructing sanctuaries in the middle periods was not constantly easy, as materials were rare and expensive. For example, there was a scarcity of lumber in the 13th century. As the populace was ever before increasing, an ext wood was necessary for structure homes. Lumber was likewise needed because that city fortifications and also war machines. An additional problem to be the regular fires, damaging much the the forests.


Building Aix la Chapelle – Les Grandes chroniques de France

Iron was exceptionally hard come find; it was a rarity and practically never used in the building and construction of cathedrals. Instead the home builders used hardwood for making their tools.

Much product for the English cathedrals came native France. Stones because that the Cathedral that Canterbury were shipped by watercrafts from Caen in northern France. That is likewise said that throughout 300 year (1050 to 1350) much more stones were relocated in France to develop the basilicas than during the old pyramids and also temples the Egypt.

What was needed for stainglass windows was also brought from France come England as it to be of remarkable quality.

About the structure plans

Thanks to Villard de Honnecourt, the 13th century architect, one can far better understand just how medieval basilicas were built. He left a comprehensive booklet v plans, drawings and also techniques used throughout that time.


Sketchbook of Villard de Honnecourt – Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris

Building plans to be made at the start of the construction and also safely preserved somewhere on the site. Historians know there were few plans easily accessible because that would have been time spend to reproduce them, expensive and also unnecessary, together most men were illiterate. Plans were made on parchments but an ext often on wooden planks. Drawings were small, just made if essential or halfway drawn. After talking through the architect or see his sketches, employees drew approximately on walls to remember, each brand-new drawing on height of the last one.


Dagobert visiting the work place of St Denis -Les grandes chroniques de France – Robinet Testard


To have such high buildings, one started experimenting and inventing brand-new techniques and tools, part being an ext successful than others. Occasionally they had actually deadly consequences. The vaults the the Cathedral St Pierre in Beauvais in northern France did not organize in 1284 and also there was an accident resulting in death and also injuries. The cause of the accident is the the big vaults collapsed, while exploring to develop even higher than any type of other cathedral before.

Workers were additionally killed in Durham, England, during the building and construction of the city’s cathedral (1093-1130). As soon as more, the reason was due to the collapse of the vaults.

Another time it is reported that in Canterbury the understand mason, wilhelm of Sens, became paralyzed after ~ falling from scaffolding during an inspection. That was never able to work again and also a brand-new architect came along.

About the tools and mathematical knowledge

What walk they need to work with? They had wooden treadwheels come lift the very heavy stones, sculptures and other materials to the top. Generally one come two males would walk right into the wheel, which would make it turn.

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They had actually lifting equipment, pulleys, winches, cranes, wheelbarrows, hammers, plumb lines, levels, rock holders and pickaxes. Architects knew well just how to usage a compass, collection squares and also knot climbing ropes. At the finish of the 13th century came the pairs of dividers.