Example of the galleting to be found at Windsor Castle
The Official Website of
Copyright 2012 - 2021
Windsor Castle provides early examples of galleted masonry having both flakes of flint inserted into the mortar and oyster shells laid in the bed joints. Henry II started much of the castle's construction and subsequent rulers added to this. One notable addition is King Henry VIII's Gate circa 1510 - 1520.
Most of the original galleting has been replaced over the centuries, much of it in a most unsatisfactory manner by the architect Wyatville in the 1820's. Fortunately some of the original has survived to provide a guide for future maintenance.
The Church of St Michael and All Angels, Aylsham, Norfolk.
A brief history of galleting
Many galleted stone buildings were erected from the 13th to the 16th century. Amongst the earliest is this church in Aylsham. Churches frequently display a range of variations in the masonry of a single building due to developments over the centuries and this is the case here.
The Chapel of Apliki, Kato Drys, Cyprus.
Picture kindly provided by William Napier
The ruined Chapel of Apliki is believed to date from the Venetian period 1489 - 1570/71 when Cyprus was enjoying wealth brought by trading.
The picture above illustrates quite densely packed gallets in the joints.
La Fosse, St. Martin, States of Guernsey.
This building dates from circa 1770 when, in the 18th century, galleting was enjoying something of a revival.
The black pebbles create an unusual form of galleting.
Picture of LaFosse kindly provided by Simon Went
Knole House, Sevenoaks, Kent
Knole was built by Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury, during the period 1456 - 1486. The masonry is of Kentish ragstone with gallets formed from the same stone. The picture on the right is of the original material.
Picture of Arundel Road, Dorking kindly provided by Martin Higgins.
Arundel Road, Dorking.
This mid Victorian boundary wall is of flint with ironstone gallets that are thought to have been used for decorative purposes.
Henry VIII acquired the property and extended it, forming a new front and entrance courtyard during the period 1543 - 1548 and built using materials and galleting to match the original.
This style of masonry was in use in Kent from the 14th to the 19th century although some of the early work was of galleted random rubble walling.
Galleting throughout Great Britain largely dates from the time of the Norman Conquest through to the Victorian era although pinning that was extensively used in dry stone walling existed for millennia prior to this.
St. Mary and All Saints Church, Dunsfold, Surrey.
This beautiful church was built circa 1270. Although it has been repointed it is thought that the original ironstone gallets were salvaged and reused.
The picture kindly provided by Julian O'Neill.
The Pilgrim Chapel, St. Marys Abbey, Kent.
This wall is of dressed Kentish ragstone with oyster shell gallets in both the horizontal and vertical mortar joints.
It was built circa 1320.
St. Michael's Church, Beccles, Suffolk.
Built in the second half of the 14th century the walls are built of knapped flint with flint gallets.
The picture above shows a wall believed to date from circa 1270. Knapped flints are used in the construction with slim flakes of flint inserted into the relatively narrow mortar joints.
Beccles and District Museum, Suffolk
The original building constructed in the 16th century had a thatched roof. Major restoration in 1762 resulted in the new front wall with its squred flints coursed with bricks and having flint gallets.
This is a grade I listed building.
Bourne Mill, Colchester, Essex.
Bourne Mill was constructed as a fishing lodge in 1591 but was converted into a water mill in the 19th century.
The masonry is of roughly squared stone and assorted bricks, galleted with flint.
The image on the right illustrates brickwork galleted with small pieces of ironstone.
The building is located in the County of Surrey where this is known as garnetting. Although common in stonework the use of galleting in brickwork is quite unusual.
The Flint House, Buckinghamshire.
Riverhead Village Hall
The walls of this property demonstrate a new and exciting way to use flint masonry for a new era.
The sizes and shapes of the flints are graded throughout the height of the building with the galleting developing, again through the height, to accentuate the changing appearance of the walls.
Photograph kindly contributed by Skene Catling de la Pena.
New buildings of this era are occasionally constucted with galleted masonry. Tigbourne Court designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens is an early example. In the case of this village hall, which is brick built, Kentish ragstone panels are incorporated into the front wall to reflect the local vernacular.
St Johns Church, Sevenoaks, Kent
The photograph above shows one area of the flint masonry in which the flints are set closely together with neat galleting.
Photograph kindly contributed by James Morris.
Copyright James Morris
It was not uncommon for Victorian churches to have galleted masonry; in this case in Kentish ragstone random rubble.
When the Normans invaded Britain they hurriedly constructed castles using timber but these were gradually replaced using stone. One of the best known of these is Windsor Castle with its very extensive galleted walls. A large part of Westminster Cathedral was built at this time.
Cement is introduced and seen as superior to lime mortar. Much of the understanding of working with lime mortar is lost. In Mexico gallets were used unsuccessfully in conservation work to identify reconstructed walls. Gallets are still in general use in some countries such as Cyprus.
The use of galleting diminised in the Victorian era, however kentish ragstone became very inexpensive in Kent due to lack of demand and was much used in churches built at this time.
Although faster setting hydraulic lime was developed at this time galleting enjoyed a resurgence in Britain and America. This was not limited to new buildings as it was also introduced when repointing existing structures.
Few galleted buildings found to be built at this time, a very turbulent period in British history. The century started with the Gunpowder Plot (1605) followed by the disolution of parliament, the eleven years war, Oliver Cromwell, the black death (1665) and the great fire of London (1666). By the end of the century the throne had been lost twice, the country plunged into civil war and a republic established for eleven years.
Canada discovered by the French navigator Jacques Cartier. Galleting becomes more widely used in Britain for houses, priories and palaces.
Thought to mark the beginning of modern history in Britain. Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492 hence any galleting that existed in America prior to this is unlikely to have been influenced by the Europeans. The so-called Little Ice Age started at this time which is likely to have affected construction work with lime mortar as it is sensitive to temperature.
Galleting was used only in buildings of significance such as castles and abbeys. Not many of the other building types were constructed of expensive stonework.
The Norman invasion led to the move away from the simple form of masonry construction used by the Saxons to a more refined form of stonework. Canterbury Cathedral was built at this time some of the stone for which was imported by boat from France.