PENISTONE: THE BRAND NEW ‘MEDIEVAL’ MARKET HALL


Cruck Market Hall, Penistone Yorks (Keith Salvesen)

The historic market town of Penistone, South Yorkshire, lies in the foothills of the Pennines, in a farming area with its own rare breed of sheep. Records of the sheep market date from the c17. The Grade 1 listed church has a mainly c14 interior, with visible older origins. In the c19, the new railway brought prosperity and expansion; then Dr Beeching’s axe fell in the 1960s. The livestock market is long gone, but a general market still continues in a space now somewhat reduced by a Tesco store and car park. 

Cruck Market Hall, Penistone Yorks (Keith Salvesen)

THE NEW ‘OLD’ MARKET HALL

In 2011 a new and innovative building was opened in the town as a covered market hall. I say ‘innovative’, but in fact the splendid cruck building is made using techniques as old as the town’s church. Steel frame and mirror glass it is emphatically not. Built of oak by the firm Carpenter Oak of Devon, this striking building resembles a typical tithe barn of several centuries ago. The crucks, or curved timbers, bear the weight of the frames and beams that support the roof. The joints are held using stout wooden pegs. The use of such medieval building techniques in the c21 has produced a spectacular public space. The recently published Pevsner for Yorkshire West Riding includes the market hall in the entry for Penistone – and a photograph of it, an accolade indeed.

Cruck Market Hall, Penistone Yorks - wooden pegs (Keith Salvesen)

CARPENTERS’ MARKS

Most of the large timbers we saw were engraved with carpenters’ marks. These are traditionally used during the construction of wooden buildings. Their primary purpose is to identify the timbers, the component parts of the frame. Modified Roman numerals are mainly used. Some marks relate to positioning for joints or peg-holes. Sometimes individual carpenters will ‘make their mark’; but this is not such a common practice as it is with masons.

Examples of location markingsCruck Market Hall, Penistone Yorks - carpenters' marks (Keith Salvesen)Cruck Market Hall, Penistone Yorks - carpenters' marks (Keith Salvesen)Cruck Market Hall, Penistone Yorks - carpenters' marks (Keith Salvesen)Cruck Market Hall, Penistone Yorks - carpenters' marks (Keith Salvesen)

An interior timber denoted by a ‘roof’Cruck Market Hall, Penistone Yorks - carpenters' marks (Keith Salvesen)

A couple of different marks from the front of the hallCruck Market Hall, Penistone Yorks - carpenters' marks (Keith Salvesen)Cruck Market Hall, Penistone Yorks - carpenters' marks (Keith Salvesen)

Only one thing detracted slightly from the pleasure of this new old building. Most of the handsome oak pillars inside have already been disfigured by graffiti, much of it lewd or anatomical in the classic c21 manner…

Cruck Market Hall, Penistone Yorks (Keith Salvesen)

Acknowledgements: Carpenter Oak, Devon; Pevsner ‘Buildings of England’ series (West Riding); and a nod to Kate Rusby, well-known & outstanding folk singer, who was born nearby

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “PENISTONE: THE BRAND NEW ‘MEDIEVAL’ MARKET HALL

  1. The French ones are presumably historic, aren’t they? This modernistic recreation using traditional methods does seem to have caught people’s imagination in the area. Prince Charles would certainly approve!

    Like

  2. That’s a happy coincidence. They’ve done a wonderful job. We were staying nearby for the launch of the South Yorkshire Pevsner guide (my wife is the former series publisher) at Wentworth Woodhouse – another memorable building though with a sad history… The market hall made it into the book – and quite right too!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.