SK1746 : Flush bracket bench mark, St Oswald's Church, Ashbourne

taken 1 year ago, near to Ashbourne, Derbyshire, Great Britain

Flush bracket bench mark, St Oswald's Church, Ashbourne
Flush bracket bench mark, St Oswald's Church, Ashbourne
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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 Oswald, Ashbourne
A suitably imposing church for what was a prosperous local market town in the medieval period. It is cruciform in plan with a central tower and spire. The nave has a single aisle on the south side, and the transepts are unusual in having an 'aisle' to the east which appears always to have been of equal height to the 'main' transept, essentially created it would appear a separate chapels. The chancel is significantly longer than the nave.

Although based on an earlier structure, the current building was commenced in the early part of the 13th century, in Early English style, the chancel and transepts being from this period. There is a very rare brass consecration plaque, dated 1241, in the south transept. The south door is a fine example of Early English work.

The nave was constructed probably around 1280, in Decorated style, and the south aisle was added towards the end of the same century. The 4-bay arcade has good carved capitals of the period. The tower was built at the same time, with the spire being added early in the 14th century. Rising to 212 feet high, the spire has 5 tiers of lucarnes on alternating faces.

The roofs of nave and transepts were raised in the Perpendicular period, around the end of the 14th century, with clerestory windows added, and also the fine Perpendicular windows in the east chapels of the transepts, and at the east end of the chancel.

The church was restored under the guidance of Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1876. This included the reconstruction of the roofs, including the battlementing of the chancel, which otherwise retains its largely Early English features.

The interior has a number of notable features. From the earliest period are the tall paired lancets of the chancel, with contemporary piscina and sedilia.

Of the same period is the fine font, in the south aisle, with trefoiled arcading and fleur de lys.

The church is fortunate to retain a modicum of medieval stained glass. Of particular interest are the 5 medallions in a lancet of the north chancel which date from the 13th century, representing biblical scenes. There are fragments of 14th century glass, with some figurative elements including a small crucifixion. More 14th century glass in the form of armorial bearings of local families survives in the east window, incorporated into an important layout of glass by the well known Victorian stained glass artist Kempe. There are several other windows by major Victorian and early 20th century stained glass workshops.

The Boothby Chapel in the north transept contains a very fine collection of monuments from the medieval period to the 18th century. Those of the Cokayne and Boothby families were largely originally in that area, with others being moved there in the 19th century. The medieval ones are largely in local alabaster, but included is a fine table-top brass of the mid 16th century.

The only old wooden furniture includes a pair of small late 15th century seats in the chancel, rescued from a farm, and the Tudor period parclose screen enclosing the Boothby Chapel in the north transept.

The church has a ring of 8 bells, cast as a set in 1815. Due to structural problems with the tower, a new frame was constructed at the level of the old ringing chamber in 1931, and the bells are now rung from ground level in the crossing.

The church is Listed Grade I.

The churchyard gateway from around 1700 including pinnacles supported on skulls and 18th century cast iron gates, is Listed Grade II*; the churchyard walls (undated, but probably partially 18th century) are Listed Grade II.
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Grid Square
SK1746, 227 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Monday, 6 March, 2017   (more nearby)
Friday, 10 March, 2017
Geographical Context
Construction, Development 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SK 1762 4645 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:0.9040N 1:44.3288W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SK 1762 4645
View Direction
Southwest (about 225 degrees)
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Other Tags
Bench Mark  OS Flush Bracket 

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Image Type (about): close look 
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