Great Tower E doorway interior

Image of the feature "III. Exterior Features: 1. Doorways: Great Tower East doorway" at Chepstow Castle, Chepstow.

by Ron Baxter.

Single order, round headed with tympanum,

The tympanum was hidden under a filling of rubble until 1955, when it was restored by A. J. Taylor.  The plain jambs carry a type of joggled lintel whose central section is a trapezoidal block of tufa, dovetailed in place like a keystone.  The left section is a single block, resting on the left jamb but cracked at the inner edge of the jamb; the right section is of two blocks, one above the jamb and the other spanning the gap to the central block, the pair again obliquely cut to stay in place.  The front face of the lintel is decorated with two rows of chip-carved saltires in squares.  The tympanum is of opus reticulatum; each square block decorated with a design of chip-carved saltires in rectangles, and the red mortar between them made from ground Roman tile.  The tympanum is surrounded by two arch orders, resting on the lintel; their voussoirs uneven in size but accurately cut, and each decorated on its front face with a design of chip-carved saltires in rectangles.

The interior is similarly designed, but the tympanum is of large yellow sandstone blocks laid in courses, the central stone of the lintel is a small keystone, clearly a replacement, and the arch orders contain many replacement voussoirs, distinguished by their lack of wear.  One voussoir, just to the right of the apex of the outer order, is chip-carved like those on the exterior, but apart from this there is no decoration.

Dimensions

Width of opening 1.62 m (approx.)