The Corbels at DIG

The church of St Saviour has stood on this site at St Saviourgate, York since the 11th century. The present building dates from the 15th century, although some earlier stonework survives. During the Georgian and Victorian periods, St Saviourgate was one of the most fashionable streets in York and St Saviour’s was a very popular place to worship. In 1845, the church was extended to accommodate its growing congregation.

By 1901, the parish was in decline and the church bordered on one of the main slum districts of the city. St Saviour’s was eventually declared redundant in 1954, and the medieval glass and church fittings were dispersed.

This project recorded, in detail, and contextualised the ten medieval corbels currently positioned inside the tower at DIG (now housed in St Saviour’s church), to make them more accessible to DIG visitors.

Archival research was used to elucidate the history of the corbels within the context of their architectural setting(s) and to situate them within their art historical context. Digital photogrammetry was used to capture high-resolution images and produce 3-D image files of each corbel. Specialist analysis examined the traces of paintwork still adhering to some of the corbels to a) establish what materials were used to colour the stones; b) suggest a date for when the colours were applied; c) provide evidence for the historical appearance of the stones.

The Corbels at DIG project was led by Dr Chris Tuckley, Head of Interpretation and Engagement for York Archaeological Trust / JORVIK Group. His research interests include the literature and iconography of 12th-century England, and medieval texts and images more generally. He has worked in a variety of roles for YAT since 2004.

Technical support for this project was by Adam Raw Mackenzie, Archive Assistant for YAT, who has been working on a project to digitise the Trust’s image collection since 2015 and provides occasional project support in the form of finds photography and videography.

Project Report

Corbels at DIG; a Resilience Year 2 Project, by Dr. Chris Tuckley and Adam Raw Mackenzie

Corbels of St Saviour's Church (South Side)

Corbels of St Saviour's Church (North Side)

Capturing the Corbels at DIG