The reuse of monastic materials in post-dissolution contexts at Thornton Abbey
Breiter, Sarah Jeanette
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During the Reformation Period in England, many monasteries were dissolved as a way to remove the Catholic influence from the country. Building materials were removed from the empty monasteries and reused to build new structures on the site and in the area. The University of Sheffield conducted excavations in 2011 and 2012 at Thornton Abbey and found this period well-represented in the archaeological record. While working on the excavation with Sheffield, I conducted independent research; looking at Thornton Abbey as an example of reuse of building materials in the archaeological record. I investigated reuse by looking for monastic church stone and bricks in post-medieval, secular contexts unearthed during excavation. I also attempted to date the bricks by size and look for occurrences of mixed dates as evidence of using materials from previous dates in later contexts. The evidence collected from the excavations were compared against bricks and masonry still standing on the site and in the surrounding areas. Evidence of this practice was found in a few of the trenches examined. This practice during the reformation reflects the rapid change that the monasteries went through; from a sacred and exclusive place in the Medieval period to a quarry for masonry and bricks during and after the Reformation.
Monasticism and religious orders -- History
Archaeology -- Methodology