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Book Chapter

A legacy of mistreatment: conceptualizing the decay of medieval sandstones in NE Ireland

By
Stephen Mccabe
Stephen Mccabe
School of Geography
,
Queen's University
,
Belfast, BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland
,
UK
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Bernard J. Smith
Bernard J. Smith
School of Geography
,
Queen's University
,
Belfast, BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland
,
UK
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Patricia A. Warke
Patricia A. Warke
School of Geography
,
Queen's University
,
Belfast, BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland
,
UK
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Published:
January 01, 2010

Abstract

Sandstone is commonly used as a building material in medieval monuments throughout NE Ireland. This paper explores the reasons why, and the ways in which, medieval sandstone monuments decay in the temperate Atlantic maritime environment of the north Antrim coast, using Bonamargy Friary, Ballycastle, as a case study. Monumental stone decay is placed in the context of inheritance and sensitivity to change, that is, the ability or inability of a sandstone to absorb change as a result of the past stress events it has experienced. A consideration of the combined impact of background environmental factors (such as salt accumulation, temperature cycles, frost, chemical alteration, soiling of the surface, changes in surface morphology and biological colonization) and ‘exceptional’ factors (such as lime rendering, fire, climate change, abandonment and conservation intervention) is used to formulate alternative decay pathways of the sandstones identified at the Friary. Discussion focuses on the value of identifying conceptual event sequences such as the cumulative impact of past events, individual and combined, to produce recognizable decay features seen in the present day. The possible impact of future climate change on the decay of medieval sandstone monuments is discussed.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Natural Stone Resources for Historical Monuments

R Přikryl
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Á Török
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Geological Society of London
Volume
333
ISBN electronic:
9781862395817
Publication date:
January 01, 2010

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