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Saturday Photohunt: Doors

My photo for this week's theme of "Doors" is...Britain's oldest door!


My mom and I stumbled upon it last April when we spent a couple days in London. It's in the entrance to the Chapel House, one of the rooms in the Westminster Abbey complex. It was only "discovered" in 2005 - that is, the door had been there for ages, but nobody knew just how old it actually is until 2005 when scientific dating determined it's close to 1,000 years old!

Open more "doors" on Sandi's Saturday Photohunt blog!

According to Art Daily (full article here)

"Scientific dating of the timber with a technique known as ‘dendrochronology’ was part of a study commissioned and funded by English Heritage and carried out by Daniel Miles and Dr Martin Bridge of the Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory. What this study actually tells us is that the timber was felled between dates 1032AD and 1064AD. It is therefore the earliest dated door in England.

The door is made of five vertical oak planks, held together with three horizontal battens, or ‘ledges’, and iron straps. Most unusually, the battens are recessed into the planks, so that the door is flush on both faces. Normally, medieval doors have a flat ‘front’ face and a ‘back’ which has projecting ledges and braces. The construction of the Westminster door is unique, and shows that it was intended to communicate between two spaces of equal importance.

The boards were cut from a single tree and the visible rings on them represent growth during the years from AD 924 to 1030. Because the bark and some of the sapwood was trimmed away when the planks were made into a door, the exact year of felling cannot be determined, but it can be calculated as falling within the period 1032-1064. A date in the 1050s for the manufacture of the door is most likely.

Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said: “We are delighted to have been able to fund and carry out this important investigative work on Westminster Abbey’s historic medieval timberwork in partnership with the Dean and Chapter. It is incredible to think that when the ‘Pyx’ door was made, the Norman Conquest had not yet happened and William of Normandy was still a young man of about 20 years old. William was later crowned King of England on Christmas Day 1066 just a hundred feet away from the door.

More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/14527/Oldest-Door-In-Britain-Discovered-At-Westminster-Abbey#.UsoakfRDt5I[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org"

Here's a photo of just the door itself...without me blocking the view:


The Reverend Canon Dr Nicholas Sagovsky, Canon of Westminster wrote a beautiful sermon about the door, for those who are interested.

Comments (9)

That is so cool eh! I've never been, but my husband has also seen the oldest door when he last visited in the late 90's. I hope to get to London in the not too distant future :) Great pics thank you for sharing them :)


I probably walked past that door when I visited Westminster Abbey -- but didn't think much about it since I visited Westminster Abbey in the 1980s and 1990s! ;O

Cool contribution to this week's hunt! I love getting a wee history lesson when I read the post.

Have a super weekend.

What a fantastic ancient door!! and it managed to hide for so long. Great take on the theme.

Wow! Almost a 1000 years old! Amazing it is still so sturdy.

What a great find! Love the colors of that old wood. Happy New Year to you!

Great shots and an interesting post.

Wow... lucky it was not removed and replaced with a newer door.

Westminster is a wonderful place to spend the day... there were lots of doors that I would have loved to peek behind!

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