SP9599 : Bench mark, Church of St. John the Baptist, Wakerley

taken 4 years ago, near to Wakerley, Northamptonshire, Great Britain

Bench mark, Church of St. John the Baptist, Wakerley
Bench mark, Church of St. John the Baptist, Wakerley
See Link for location.
Bench Mark

Bench marks were historically used to record the height above sea level of a location as surveyed against the Mean Sea Level data (taken at Clarendon Dock, Belfast, for Northern Ireland data, Newlyn in Cornwall for data in Great Britain and Portmoor Pier, Malin Head, for data relating to the Republic of Ireland). They were used as part of a greater surveying network by the UK Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland (OSNI) and the Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI). If the exact height of one bench mark is known then the exact height of the next can be found by measuring the difference in heights, through a process of spirit levelling. In this way hundreds of thousands of bench marks were sited all around the UK & Ireland from the mid 19th to late 20th centuries. There are several distinct types of bench mark:

- Fundamental bench marks have been constructed at selected sites where foundations can be set on stable strata such as bedrock. Each FBM consists of a buried chamber with a brass bolt set in the top of a granite pillar. See NG8825 : Dornie fundamental bench mark for an example. FBMs were used in Ireland as well as GB but those in Ireland do not have any surface markers, nor are they marked on standard maps.
- Flush brackets consist of metal plates about 90 mm wide and 175 mm long. Each bracket has a unique serial number. They are most commonly found on most Triangulation Pillars, some churches or on other important civic buildings. See J3270 : Flush Bracket, Belfast for an example.
- Cut bench marks are the commonest form of mark. They consist of a horizontal bar cut into a wall or brickwork and are found just about anywhere. A broad arrow is cut immediately below the centre of the horizontal bar. See J3372 : Bench Mark, Belfast for an example. The horizontal mark may be replaced by or contain a bolt - see J1486 : Bench Mark, Antrim.
Other marks include:
- Projecting bench marks such as SD8072 : Projecting Bracket Benchmark on St Oswald's Tower
- Bolt bench marks such as SJ1888 : OSBM bolt on Hilbre Island
- Rivet bench marks such as J3978 : Bench Mark, Holywood
- Pivot bench marks such as SJ2661 : Pivot bench mark on Leeswood Bridge

Bench marks are commonly found on older buildings or other semi-permanent features such as stone bridges or walls. Due to updated mapping techniques and technological advances such as GPS, bench marks are no longer maintained. Many are still in existence and the markers will probably remain until they are eventually destroyed by redevelopment or erosion.

Church of St. John the Baptist, Wakerley

The church consists of nave and chancel, the nave having chapels on north and south sides forming partial aisles. There is a west tower and spire and a porch alongside the north chapel.

It has 12th century origins of which the east wall of the nave with its fine chancel arch, and part of the south wall of the nave are the only remains. The church was largely rebuilt in the 13th century, when the south chapel was added, and again in the 14th when the tower was built and the north porch added. In the 15th century the chancel was rebuilt and the north chapel built or rebuilt in its current form. Further work on the chancel was undertaken in the 17th century, and there was the usual 19th century refurbishment, although this had less effect on the visual aspect of the church than in many places.

The chancel arch makes an initial impact on entering the church, with its wide span of chevron mouldings. It is likely to have been circular when built, probably assuming its arched shape during the 13thy century rebuilding. It is especially noteworthy for the figurative carving of the capitals, thought to be associated either with a mason working at nearby Castor or one from Ely Cathedral. On this basis the work is dated to 1120-30. The blind arches either side are indicative that there were originally side chapels within the nave before the side chapels were built. The rest of the work is good but unexceptional. An inter4esting feature are the rather crudely carved bosses on the centre line of the nave roof. The roof was rebuilt in the 18th century, but the bosses may be earlier. Specifically what they depict is unclear.

Externally the tower and spire immediately draw attention. These were built as a single unit in the 14th century in late Decorated style. The tower is of four stages, the middle two being relatively short. The bell chamber has long openings which are distinguished by having a variety of styles. On the east and west faces, there is a square top to the openings, on the south face they have round arch tops and on the north face pointed arches. There is a fine frieze of qutrefoil panels below the battlemented parapet. The octagonal spire is set back from the parapet; it is decorated with ballflower on the edges and there are two tiers of lucarnes on alternating faces. The original profile of the nave roof can be seen on the east face. Other noteworthy external features are the good 15th century Perpendicular windows in the east walls of chancel and north chapel.

The church is Listed Grade I, and is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust LinkExternal link having been made redundant.

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Alan Murray-Rust and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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Grid Square
SP9599, 149 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Monday, 4 April, 2016   (more nearby)
Friday, 8 April, 2016
Geographical Context
Construction, Development 
Building Material (from Tags)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 9568 9922 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:34.9429N 0:35.3588W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 9568 9922
View Direction
WEST (about 270 degrees)
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Bench Mark 

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