8th June 1776. Gothic Revival.

In the Gothic Revival church architecture of 1830.s England one man stands out due to his work on classification of the various styles and dates, which he initially based on window tracery. (1)

That man was the self-taught architect and Quaker, Thomas Rickman who was born Today in 1776.

Failing as a London corn-factor Rickman went to Liverpool in 1808 to work and sketched details of old churches and by 1811 he was said to have visited about 3,000.

He went on to design dozens of churches, a palace for the Bishop of Carlisle and famously New Court for St.John’s, Cambridge.

Early English at Uffington.

Early English at Uffington. Note narrow lancet windows.

His many researches, including a study of Chester enabled the publication in 1817 of ‘An attempt to discriminate the styles of English Architecture’, which popularised the terms Norman, Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular, which dating he precisely ascribed to monarchical reigns. (2)

However Nickolaus Pevsner the 20thc architectural historian was to prefer a looser dating for each period, with Perpendicular ending c mid-15thc, which is now generally accepted.

Wells the first true Gothic cathedral.

Wells the first true Gothic cathedral.

Rickman who died in 1841, as well as being the first to systematize Gothic architecture in England, was also the first to recognise the remains of Anglo-Saxon architecture, originating with his observations on St Peter’s Barton-on-Humber, Lincolnshire.

St. Peter's

St. Peter’s, Barton-on-Humber.


Early medieval chapels would have been attached to the houses of the nobility which the retainers would also use for their devotions.

With the rise of the Parish System in the 13/14thc increasingly the homely chapels gave way to the Parish Church under the control of a bishop or abbot.

It was a society where the focal points were church, manor, and the church house (now the inn), where churchwardens stored beer or church-ales for church feasts, all surrounded by the cruck-built wattle and daub cottages, now largely disappeared.

The churches and cathedrals still stand, which must say something about society’s values then!

(1) One associated with the Gothic Revival was Henry Winkles engraver and printer who produced ’Winkles Architectural and Picturesque Illustrations of Cathedral Churches of England and Wales’.

(2) Rickman became identified with Commissioner’s Churches funded by the Church Building Act of 1818, building the now demolished St George’s Birmingham, where he was buried, and Holy Trinity, Bristol.

Ref: wikipedia.org/gothic_architecture.

Ref: victorianweb/architecture-rickman.

Ref: englishbuildings.blogspot/uffington/Pic Image.

Ref: wikipedia.org/st_peters_barton_on_humber/Pic Image of Barton Church.


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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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