Vicars Court Project

Vicars’ Court project, recording architectural fragments

The Vicars Court & Orchard Land HLF funded project has a number of separate but related aspects. One of these is the RECORDING OF LOOSE ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENTS


The site contains a considerable amount of unstratified architectural material, possibly from the adjacent Minster church or the Bishop’s Palace. The objective will be to use appropriate recording methods to accurately document this material and then to analyse it to determine its likely spatial and temporal origin.

A great start was made in the last few days with an introductory session and onsite activity under the professional eye of Peter Ryder.

Peter has for over twenty years been a self-employed consultant, on projects including buildings from the Anglo-Saxon period to the mid-20th century. A lot of these relate to planning law, when the local authorities require a building to be assessed, recorded, or a watching brief kept during alterations; he has also been involved in a number of regional surveys. On behalf of the Diocese of Durham he has carried out archaeological assessments on around 70 old churches in that county, whilst English Heritage and County Councils have commissioned surveys of medieval and sub-medieval defensible buildings in Northumberland, Cumbria and Durham. More recently he has carried out survey work on nonconformist chapels and meeting houses in the Northern Pennines and elsewhere.

Over the last year or two Peter has worked jointly on many projects, often ones which combine ground archaeology with building recording, with the Archaeological Practice of Newcastle. The Archaeological Practice Ltd specialises in carrying out and reporting on archaeological and historical research for private, corporate and public clients.

peter ryderThe strategy for the day was to identify and number all visible fragments of interest [in excess of 200] All of these were numbered and photographed. Those of particular interest were recorded & drawn – that’s where the learning and developing skill for members start!

This is a big undertaking and one which to SCAGs knowledge has never been undertaken in this area.

Watch this space as the work progresses!


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