The lovely weather at the weekend gave me a chance to pay a visit to Dalmeny Kirk, possibly one of the best preserved Romanesque churches in Scotland. Sitting in a picturesque planned 19th century village just outside Edinburgh, the church dates from the early 12th century. Like all buildings of its type, massive plain walls are pierced with small openings with highly decorative round arches. The main entrance has several bands of carved animals and geometric patterns. Above the arch is an interwoven blind arcade topped by a corbel course of animal heads. Unfortunately much of the detail has now eroded but it stands today as a testament to the skill of the masons who built it almost 900 years ago.
In the yard at Forth Stone, twenty first century masons are busy carving a new arch for our chapel project. The style is definitely Romanesque but the detail is unique – the chevron patterns are combined with a band of Celtic key patterns paying homage to the Celtic monastic history of the site.
Meanwhile, on site work is progressing well. A fully roofed scaffold over the site allowed work to continue uninterrupted through the winter – as well as providing support for the winch which is used to lift the stones – some weighing up to 1 ½ tonnes into place.
The main walls of the nave and porch are now complete with only the curved apse still to build and the stone vault to the nave is up. This was built in sections on a timber former that was moved along as each section was complete Using narrow voussoirs and slate wedges has given a very smooth internal surface without requiring each stone to be dressed to a curve. One this was complete the formwork was removed leaving the vault completely self supporting.
Look out for the next update soon when the chancel arch will be installed and work started on the apse dome.
— Neil McAllister, Architect