This is the base of the barn on Grange Road in Stalmine that we showed you in the final photograph of the last instalment. Note the incongruous sandstone blocks (typical mediaeval monastic building material) and the foundation of cobbles pointed with lime mortar (also correct for the period). As we mentioned last time, the barn itself is about the right size for the original twelfth century grange building (although, obviously, the bricks themselves are later), but the question is, why would only the first foot or so of the cobbled walls survive?
Well, often granges were constructed by building a low wall (or sill) of solid material to raise the crook joists off the damp ground. Here’s an illustration to give you some idea of what we’re talking about.
Can’t remember what book this was taken from now, so many humble apologies if you happen to be the author of said book and you’re reading this, for poaching your material and not even giving you a mention.
Anyhow, unfortunately Mr. Bleasdale (who’d given us permission to explore his land around the grange) has just sold the barn to developers (presumably for conversion into living accommodation), which means that any incursions inside the building would no doubt be classed as trespass.
So, bearing that in mind, allow me to introduce you to the Fylde & Wyre Antiquarian Urban Exploration Committee (names withheld for obvious reasons), all of whom valiantly risked prosecution and a slap on the wrists for a quick glimpse inside this impressive construction before it’s altered forever. Want to see the interior? We thought you might…
But of course we…er…I mean ‘they’ were on a mission to spot any mediaeval masonry that might help us determine whether this was the original grange or not.
Item of evidence number one then: One large sandstone block that doesn’t quite belong where it is, carved, enigmatically and with typical mediaeval lettering (i.e. complete with capitals and bases but all over the place because the lay brothers couldn’t be bothered using straight lines) bearing the inscription: “R.H. W-R. RT. RE”. No…we haven’t got a clue what it stands for either. In fact, if anyone’s got any suggestions now might be a good time to give them to us.
Then there’s this carved block in the doorframe that quite clearly doesn’t belong there. (Actually there’s a similar block on the other side and two further ones haphazardly stuck in the rear wall.) The grooves in the block were presumably used for something, but the shaped, backwardly curving apex wouldn’t accommodate any sort of door, so who knows? (Again, suggestions welcome, always remembering that this is family site.)
Right, we’ve actually got tons of these photographs so, rather than use up several weeks worth of blogs on this board, I might as well post a few of them over at the Fylde and Wyre Antiquarian Forum (link in the right hand column somewhere) before it heals up.
For now though, our conclusion. Was this the site of the original grange? Er…probably yes.