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  #21  
Old 13-01-2015, 07:33 PM
janwhin janwhin is offline
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Originally Posted by Pete View Post
Some nice photo's there Mike. I spent some time two or three years ago researching the medieval history of the preceptory and found out very little.
Regarding the shields, in most instances, in other structures i,ve looked at, they,ve bourne the coat of the lord of the manor. Perhaps one for Wyddryngton and the other the crest of the Knights Hospittallers ?
Apparently, according to an article in my collection of the Friday Books, the coats of arms are of the Widdringtons and the Knights of St John.
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  #22  
Old 13-01-2015, 07:37 PM
janwhin janwhin is offline
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I wonder if it had a cemetery associated with it ? if so it will have been destroyed too.

Sometimes I wonder if opencasting is worth what we lose - the Widdrington-Chevington-Radcliffe areas may as well have been hit by some giant meteorite - it's an absolute sterile history-less place now. (apart from this little gem of course)
English Heritage, Pastscape, makes reference to human bones having been found there, that a grave slab forms the threshold of a door leading from the courtyard into a stable and a portion of a stone coffin is used in one of the windows. They also refer to the opencast destroying an earthwork moat and a pond.
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  #23  
Old 13-01-2015, 08:10 PM
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This is F.R. Wilson of Alnwick exploring the dual nature of the buildings, published in the Alnwick Mercury 1 Oct 1860 [provided by Janwhin]


New Notes on Chibburn
by F.R.Wilson, Esq., Alnwick.

Having undertaken, with the sanction of the Venerable Archdeacon of Lindisfarne, the task of surveying and delineating every church in his archdeaconry, my investigations led me to Warkworth, where the courtesy of the vicar introduced me to what he considered a most interesting but somewhat enigmatical ruin in his neighbourhood — Chibburn. The great archaeological interest I found the remains to possess, on attentive examination, induced me to return for three successive days, and to make a most careful delineation of every part of the buildings, stone by stone. I have made no search for historical accounts of this place, as I learned that a paper, yet unpublished, had been read to society by one of the members; but I see among the copies of the charter printed in Raines North Durham, a document which corroborates the supposition that the original building was known as the Hospital of St. John de Chibburn.
All mention of Chibburn in any of the works on Northumberland, is bare and scanty; and more than once incorrect. McKenzie merely says: — “Chibburn is a very old strong building, which has been moated around; and the rivulet which passes it could easily be diverted into the ditch in times of danger.” Hodgson goes so far as to say: — “it is a massive old-fashioned stone building, with a chimney like a huge buttress projecting from its south gable. I see no ground to believe that the building now occupied as a barn here, was a chapel belonging to the established church, either in Papal times or since the Reformation, as some have supposed.” But in Turner’s final book on domestic architecture, the subject is treated at great length. Finding the conclusions drawn in this more modern and more important notice are not quite correct, and knowing, also, that the opinions expressed in it are largely to be consulted for ultimate decision in any contested point, I deemed it would not be uninteresting to hear the evidence of the stones themselves.
The passage referred to is as follows: — “but the preceptory of the Hospitalers at Chibburn, existing now almost as if it was left by the brethren, afford too curious and interesting and incidents to be passed over. * * The building formed a hollow square, into which there was one gateway; and in all probability all the entrances to the building were from the courtyard. The principal dwelling house, which was at the end, is still almost perfect. It is a long, low building, of two stories, having external chimneys at the south end, and others in the centre. The windows on the 2nd floor were built with corbels, probably to attack assailants who were beneath. Internally, we find the partition of oak plank placed on a groove at the top and bottom, with a narrow reed ornament on the face, 3 inches in thickness, place at a distance of 12 inches apart, the interstices filled with loam. The chimneys are of great size, having one very large stone over the opening for the fireplace. The steps to the 2nd story solid blocks of wood, those beneath being of stone. The ceiling of the ground floor is of oak moulded, upon which are laid narrow oak planks, having their undersides smoothed, and a reed ornament on them, so as not to require plaster. The south side was formed by the chapel, which is of excellent ashlar work. At the east end is the great window; and the chapel has this peculiarity — there is an upper floor of about two thirds its length from the West, still remaining, with the fireplace at the proper level. This has clearly been part of the original plan, and is a good example of the domestic chapel as described in previous chapters; and it communicates with the dwelling. There is a similar instance of this in a chapel within the keep at Warkworth Castle. The east and north sides are missing; they doubtless contained inferior dwelling rooms, stables, etc.”
That part of the building called in the foregoing account the “principal dwelling house,” instead of being part of the 14th century edifice, as conjectured, is clearly indicated by the character of the masonry to be post-Reformation work. It is built in the semi feudal, semi-manor house style, that prevailed in those fierce times when every man’s house was his castle as well at his home.
I inclined to fix the precise date as immediately succeeding the Reformation, for this reason; — when the dwelling house was building, advantageous was taken of the fact of the chapel been in good preservation, and in disuse, to secure additional chamber accommodation. The floor, described in the before quoted passage as only extending two thirds the length of the chapel, was inserted, and fireplaces and doors, may precisely similar in character to those of the new house, to make it thus available. The floor, however, extended the whole length of the chapel; for outdoor, leading to other apartments in the adjacent building, now in ruins, is situated in the very angle which is erroneously supposed not to have been floored. I can well imagine it would be difficult to come to any other conclusion, after taking up the fallacious opinion that the work was all of one period; because the floor brought up to the east end cuts the east window in two. But, as will be seen from my drawings the east window was filled up to meet this contingency, and 2 small square apertures left in the interstice — the one to light the upper floor, the other the lower one.
On the south side of the chapel, the label moulding of the ancient building points out the original features. It rose and fell regularly over three windows on one level, and arched over the doorway. It was broken up when the floor was laid, in the manner we now see; the doorway filled up; and original windows disposed of in the same manner, except the bases of the 2 of them, which were cunningly turned into small square lights for the lower floor of the chapel thus divided. The 2 small ogee headed single lights, so curiously below the level of the other windows were also left to light the lower part of the building; while a new square mullioned opening was made on the same line as an existing double ogee headed window, to furnish more light for the upper part.
The story of Chibburn, then, is the stool by its stones. The hospital, situated a 7 mile stage from Warkworth, on the road between Holy Island and Durham — I welcome sight, no doubt, to the many a weary pilgrim — was in decay when the dwelling house, now standing, was erected. But the remains of the chapel when such preservation as permitted additional accommodation to be obtained by throwing a floor across it, and converting both stories into chambers. A fireplace above stairs, and another below stairs, were inserted for the convenience of this arrangement; and original windows, now inconveniently situated, with regard to height for both stories, were filled up for the sake of strength and snugness, and others made in more suitable positions.
The present state and prospects of the building are most lamentable, and needful of this learned society’s attention. A few years ago, they were used as a kind of farmstead; which occupancy, rough as it were, afforded some protection. But now, the farm buildings are removed to a great distance, and the sole occupant of the dwelling house is a herd. The chapel, dismantled of its oak for the benefit of the new farm buildings, is floorless, roofless, and uncared for — save by bats, jackdaws, and starlings. The ancient roads are obliterated; and is every reason to fear that this quaint old place, which should be sacred to the memory of the Hospitalers, and subsequently to that of the Dowager ladies of the house of Widdrington, who made it their pleasant home in Elizabethan times, will as completely disappear — to meet the exigencies of additional cow byer requirements.
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  #24  
Old 13-01-2015, 09:25 PM
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Anyway, glad the first building belonged to the Hospitallers rather than the Knights Templar. Strange bunch those Templars. . ..
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Old 13-01-2015, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by janwhin View Post
English Heritage, Pastscape, makes reference to human bones having been found there, that a grave slab forms the threshold of a door leading from the courtyard into a stable and a portion of a stone coffin is used in one of the windows. They also refer to the opencast destroying an earthwork moat and a pond.

I wonder if the Widdringtons dug up the stone coffins laying the foundations of the Dower house.? Probably contained the remains of some Hospitaller that personally knew Saladin and died after just coming back from Jerusalem. - -hey, we can use our imagination.
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