Bonnesvalyn
(Aisne, France)
Saint-Martin
Surveyed: 1977, 1980-83, 2003, 2005, 2014
This is an experimental section where John James is attempting to identify the carvers though the use of common templates and/or a recognisable manners of carving. Such a large-scale analysis of all the capitals in these buildings has not been attempted before. As an ongoing enterprise that is still in its infancy, we seek your input. John believes this has the potential to increase our understanding of how they worked and to provide a more solid basis for dating than we have had.
All eastern footings with crossing bases and pilasters into nave; apse with curved wall of four or more courses that are continuous from EN1 pier to ES1 pier with vertical joint on north side where butted against in next campaign; as land slopes to the west and south I presume that the north was a little ahead; the S-w opening was begun with the adjacent crossing pier, and has a plinth that is wider than the torus and squared off, suggesting a rectangular openin that would have matched the rectangular openings in the crossing to the north and south; the north opening into the crossing planned to have an inner and outer voussoir, but the inner was removed with its supporting pilaster to create a very tall opening which is why the impost with a splayed profile is level with later apse caps and does not continue full width across the pier.
Curved apse wall changed to facets, and laid the faceted outline for S-e chapel; continued with the rectangular openings from transepts into nave, but added shafts to the S-w with the torus bases all round; altogether 8 courses to crossing piers, and steps down on nave side; the crossing and south arm were designed for ribs, with large shafts; S1 pier carried to 1 course above torus from setback in the pier on the left.
Laid 4 courses to impost, above which started the pointed arch; WN1w shaft continued to just below capital, as there is a setback on the north; on the south side of the crossing the opening was reduced in width and arch spring reduced in height compared to the north.
Apse sills seem same height as S-s sill and have same design; completed crossing to south pointed arch, and thickened south wall on north with a thin facing of 8 courses to underside of crossing caps; south chapel walls all round with capitals that have an uncomfortable junction with earlier impost; coursing continuous with S-s window; arch over entry to south chapel and to right of chapel on south wall continues impost along part of wall as far as the vertical joint that lies 2 courses above top of sill, and suggests intended to have shafts on the inside of the S-s window as in the apse; in S-w opening impost butted up to edge of the impost from the previous campaign so that it is continuous; W1-w shaft caps and starters for arches and ribs on west side.
Apse 6 courses from sill to underside of window capitals as the external buttresses eliminated below the astragal with framing shafts to windows (two apse windows have lower sills and pointed arches from a later reconstruction); crossing caps and imposts, and start of vaults, and reduced depth of extra south crossing arch to turn it into a respond rather than being reinforcement to the arch over the opening; the impost is thicker than the impost to the S-waisles caps and carved S-waisles capitals doubleau arches S-w and narthex -w and started ribs to crossing and south and omitted shafts framing S-s window by building 4 courses of window frame to underside of exterior drip and 2 courses of S-s arch over window while the outline of the S-s respond arch was lowered above that.
S-s exterior drip, with 4 courses continuous all round, steps down to east and the external “narthex -and-head” stone is above that; lowered S-s respond arch so that vault cells would be more domical, which impinges on the pointed head over the S-s window that was built with it; did some work on, but probably did not complete, the south vault; The work paused here and presume that the temporary roof over the east was solid enough not to be disturbed for the next twenty-five years while they built the nave.
Footings for WN2 and WN3 nave piers with shaft on aisle side, with presumption that it was earlier than piers on the south as the ground level is higherfootings for WS2 and 3 like those in the north except dimensions are not the same; lower part of central section of west wall built with adjacent arcade arches and portal from a friable stone that is badly worn and both attached arcade shafts with this wall; north external aisle wall butted to transept built to top window and steps down from sill and south aisle wall also butted to transept, and steps down after window that is same as on the north.
Footings for WS2 and 3 piers like those in the north except dimensions are not the same; lower part of central section of west wall built with adjacent arcade arches and portal from a friable stone that is badly worn and both attached arcade shafts with this wall; north external aisle wall butted to transept built to top window and steps down from sill and south aisle wall also butted to transept, and steps down after window that is same as on the north.
Arcade arches over nave piers with capitals and the single shaft for the clerestory with aisle impost carried around shaft; the wall was continued over all arcade arches to somewhere near the apex and gets thinner above that; adjacent to portal, the walls with the circular s used the same friable stone as portal, but vertical join shows later and a short section of north aisle wall attached to west wall to side of n3 window.
Thinner upper nave clerestory walls with window sills, and continues internal shafts to where they were omitted; upper western wall in quality stone above drip includes window sill with a joint probably partway up window jambs to top of arcade; north aisle wall middle section filled in and completed because window same as in the clerestory.
Head of western window, completed clerestory windows without internal shafts, and west gable and timber roof to nave.
Decision to add columns over inner face of apse wall for rib vaults; the imposts are thicker than adjacent; apse window arches, window caps and apse cornice; crossing vault completed, and southern vault and in the SE exterior corner placed “X-and-head” stone and altered the form in the corner in preparation for tower that was raised to drip of room over.
Tower II reduced in width without corner buttresses, showing this was to drip mould under topmost part.
Tower III
Demolished old chapel in the north and began plan intending to enlarge the nave, and with bases to top of recesses with a design that was repeated elsewhere in locality; the joint is above drip and string because wall reduced on north. .
North window sills, vault caps and springing to centre of oculus on west. Joint above tas-de-charge and below window caps.
North window caps and heads, completes vault, roof cornice.
Enlarged windows in the apse, and replaced presumed derelict south chapel with a staircase.


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