These images of the restoration of the Abbey’s Lapidarium Wall were provided to KHAS from the collection of the late Reg Palmer.
A lapidarium (from the Latin lapis, meaning stone) is defined as a place where stone monuments and fragments of archæological interest are exhibited. The images show the rebuilding of the wall in 1984, to a design aimed at showcasing a variety of stones found around the Abbey site in previous excavations, organised by type. The ‘then’ image above shows the Society’s own Richard Morris (1943 – 2015), in the hat, getting to grips with the scale of the task in hand!
The guide The Abbey of Saint Mary Kenilworth (Odinbourne Press, 1985 edition) contains some notes on the project. It states that “What is now known as the Lapidarium Wall was completely rebuilt from its foundations, including the bench, in 1984. The work was carried out by Messrs. A. C. Lloyd (Builders) Ltd. of Leamington Spa for Warwick District Council, with advice from the inspectorate of the Historic Buildings & Monuments Commission for England. The Lapidarium Wall was designed by Dr Richard Morris of the University of Warwick, who was assisted by members of the Kenilworth History & Archæology Society in the arranging of material prior to rebuilding”.
The guidebook also provides a guide to the finished arrangement of stones, by type, not dissimilar to the description found on the Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain & Ireland website. The guidebook states that “The majority of stones are from the Decorated Period, c1280 – 1370, and from the Priory church, which was given an extensive facelift at this time, including new windows. The wall is approximately 95 feet”.