The Corbels of St Saviour’s

The church of St. Saviour has stood on this site of St Saviourgate, York since the 11th century. The present building dates from the 15th century, although some earlier stonework survives. During the Georgian and Victorian periods, St. Saviourgate was one of the most fashionable streets in York and St Saviour’s was a very popular place to worship. In 1845, the church was extended to accommodate its growing congregation.

By 1901, the parish was in decline and the church bordered on one of the main slum districts of the city. St Saviour’s was eventually declared redundant in 1954, and the medieval glass and church fittings were dispersed.
This project is aiming to record in detail and contextualise the ten medieval corbels currently positioned inside the tower at DIG (now housed in St Saviour’s church), to make them more accessible to DIG visitors.
Archival research is being used to elucidate the history of the corbels within the context of their architectural setting(s) and to situate them within their art historical context. Digital photogrammetry is being used to capture high-resolution images and produce 3-D image files of each corbel. Specialist analysis is examining the traces of paintwork still adhering to some of the corbels to a) establish what materials were used to colour the stones; b) suggest a date for when the colours were applied; c) provide evidence for the historical appearance of the stones.

Primary outcomes include:
• A set of high resolution digital images.
• A written article for publication on the web.
• A short film depicting every stage in the project, to be hosted online.

Secondary outcomes include:
• New images to be used to create learning resources for use at DIG: possibilities include:
a) interactive touchscreen for DIG visitors to rotate / examine the corbels in close-up.
b) 3D print-outs of a corbel / selection of corbels for handling purposes; alternatively, a commission for York Minster Stoneyard to carve a replica or set of replicas for the same.
c) 3D files to be hosted on YAT website for public to access (including for making their own 3D print-outs).

The Corbels at DIG project is being led by Dr Chris Tuckley, Head of Interpretation and Engagement for York Archaeological Trust / JORVIK Group. His research interests include the literature and iconography of 12th-century England, and medieval texts and images more generally. He has worked in a variety of roles ​for YAT since 2004.

Technical support for this project is by Adam Raw Mackenzie, Archive Assistant for YAT, who has been working on a project to digitise the Trust’s image collection since 2015 and provides occasional project support in the form of finds photography and videography.

 

The Corbels of St Saviour's Church (South Side)

  • S1
  • S2
  • S3
  • S4
  • S5

The Corbels of St Saviour's Church (North Side)

  • N1
  • N2
  • N3
  • N4
  • N5

Capturing the Corbels of St Saviour's Church

  • Adam Raw-Mackenzie photographs the corbels. Markers (at a known distance from each other) have been stuck to the wall near the target corbel, so that measurements can be based on the resulting 3D model
  • The scaffold tower
  • Detail of the squinch arch in the south wall of the tower, showing red and green paintwork on its uppermost stone
  • Detail of S3 showing layers of paintwork