It is built of brick and the bricks that you see are all that there is – carefully laid to hold together, to support the roof, to keep the rain out and the breeze coming through and to filter the sunlight so that it is bright but never too glaring, even in the bright light of midday here. And all of this is quite deliberate and has been designed like this. At the same time as doing all that, it has lots of lovely details too, that have all been skilfully made and are for no other purpose than our enjoyment and to refer back to a whole wealth of architectural styles that have gone before.
So there are “egg-and-a-dart” moldings – a classic detail that was developed first by the Greeks –literally a row of eggs and little arrow heads or darts! Here at St. George’s they are carved into the bricks themselves: it would be interesting to know if they were carved before the bricks were fitted together or they were done in-situ, once the bricks were there and the mortar had set – I can’t tell which it is!
There are “dentil” moldings too, made out of the very shape of bricks themselves, just laying them in different ways. “Dentil” is from the Latin word for teeth – and they look just like a row of teeth! And there are the various different shapes of the openings themselves which of course are all there for the good reason of generating a breeze through this great big barn – I mean church – in our lovely hot climate. They are all made from real, structural arches and, in the case of the circles, double-arches – one on top of the other. These are true load-bearing arches – if you took out the top-most brick, the “keystone”, then the arches would fall down!!
There are other little slots too, with two bricks resting against each other, rather like when we build a house of cards. And there are what we call segment arches too – these are not semi-circular arches but just a segment of a circle which forms a flatter arch!
The roof too is a simple and honest tied truss, all made from timber, apart from the thin little steel ties that pull them together and stop the huge weight of the tiled roof from pushing the walls outwards! It’s all there – you can see it and you can work it out for yourself. The trusses sit in tiny little crow-steps or, this time from the French word “corbiere” for crow, “corbels”, little stone brackets that are built into the brickwork between the arches.