York YAC: Church detectives
Although I have been volunteering with YAC for a while now, I have recently lead a session for the first time. Members of York YAC had a session about church archaeology for the April session, which included a tour of a local church and a classroom session on the ways archaeologists can study churches.
Looking for clues
The session started at Holy Trinity church, Goodramgate, which is a largely 15th century church which Norman origins. I gave a tour of the church, where the members learnt about the purposes of different items you can find in churches, and about the history of the building. We started inside, looking at the chantry chapel, the piscina where chalices are washed with holy water, and spotting the things to look out for as archaeologists, such as changes in stonework which can tell us about changes in the height of the roof. Holy Trinity has many interesting features, including writing by Victorian glaziers on the glass of a repaired window, and the box pews which are unique in York. We were even lucky enough to have a go at ringing the church bells!
Sarah, York YAC's leader, showed us the outside of the church and talked about a previous session where the members had been involved in repairing the stonework. After this, we returned to the classroom in King's Manor where I told members about the different reasons why archaeologists may record churches, and how they can go about this. Our Young Archaeologists then coloured and made drawings of different styles of windows, towers and columns which you may see in a medieval church, and were very good at guessing where they belonged on a timeline.
My thanks go to the Churches Conservation Trust for kindly allowing us to visit their church, to the other volunteers for all their help and to the members for being on their best behaviour!
I find volunteering with YAC to be a rewarding experience and I would definitely recommend that anyone who is considering working with the club should give it a go.
If you are interested in volunteering with YAC, find out more in our Frequently Asked Questions, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Blog by Erica Cooke, York YAC volunteer
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