Canterbury Archeological Trust

Building recording at Nos 8 and 8A Mercery Lane
Rupert Austin

Hillside Systems

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'Cheker' Index

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Window detail Recent renovation of these premises has enabled a considerable amount of archaeological work to be undertaken, principally the recording of the medieval timber frame contained within this property.

Nos 8 & 8A, and the adjoining properties to the south west and north-east, are all contained within the surviving fabric of a late fourteenth-century medieval inn known as the `Cheker of the Hope'. Previously only a small part of this building had been recorded by the Trust (Canterbury's Archaeology 1987-88). However, following recent refurbishment, substantially more of the original fabric has been surveyed.

Several important features of this building have been uncovered. Two elements of what was probably continuous gallery fenestration were discovered behind modern panelling on the second floor. Gothic trefoil tracery over these window heads (carved from oak boards), with brooch stops at the base of each chamfered window jam, match the pattern of those still extant on the Mercery Lane frontage (see above). A small section of cavetto-moulded eaves plate remained in situ above this fenestration. Evidence for first-floor fenestration immediately below suggests a similar arrangement, but with slightly different tracery.

Press for more detail
Press diagram for a perspective view

Several doorways that initially led from the main range to adjacent courtyard galleries were also uncovered. One example still retained a moulded gothic arch-head and jambs. Mortices to take gudgeon pins and associated strap hinges, along with rebating of the arch head, indicate the missing door.

A surprising amount of original ochre paintwork, currently being analysed by specialists using X-ray spectrometry techniques, survives on many of the timbers. Analysis of the first-floor framing and associated wall plates indicates the continuation of the ground floor stone arcade along Mercery Lane. Roof fabric over the main range, comprising crown-post and soulace assembly, has been recorded, including the complex intersection of High Street and Mercery Lane ranges. Due to the acute angle between these streets, two adjacent pairs of rafters and collars are coupled together in an unusual arrangement. Unfortunately the construction of the gallery roof remains unknown.

Carpentry details such as the use of splayed and tabled scarfs to join longitudinal members and sallied lapjoints for tie beam assemblies add further interesting details to our knowledge of this building.

Considerably more work needs to be carried out before a complete survey of the building can be produced. This would obviously include an remaining fabric to the north-east (should renovation work occur here) as well as detailed drawings of the surviving stone arcade along the High Street. Our thanks are extended to Mr C. Hilton for financing the building recording work.

See this place today Click on the logo to see this place today.   The information on this page is Copyright © Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd. 1990 Reproduced with permission.
The text and pictures were taken from Canterbury's Archaeology 1988/1989, The 13th Annual Report of Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd.

Peter Collinson Last change: 18th November 2018