William Wynford

(fl. 1360—1405) master mason

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(fl. 1360–d. 1405). English master-mason. In 1360 he was working at Windsor Castle, Berks., under Sponlee and William of Wykeham (then Clerk of the Works there), and probably built the Great Gate and Royal Lodgings. In 1364/5 he was appointed Master-Mason at Wells Cathedral, Som. (where Wykeham had been Provost since 1363): there, he built the south-west tower (after 1386) and carried out other works. He may have designed the handsome tower of St Cuthbert's Church, Wells (c. 1385–1400), and sundry ecclesiastical structures in the county, including the church-towers at Banwell, Cheddar, and Shepton Mallet. He favoured set-back buttresses, and seems to have established a pattern for handsome C15 towers in the South-West of England. In 1375–6 he was working at Abingdon Abbey, Berks., in 1377–8 on Corfe Castle, Dorset, and in 1378–9 he strengthened the fortifications at Southampton. With Hugh Herland and Henry Yeveley he supervised the building of parts of Carisbrooke Castle, IoW (1384–5).

For Wykeham he designed New College, Oxford (begun 1379/80), and Winchester College, Hants. (begun 1387), on a similar plan. With Herland and Yeveley he repaired and strengthened Winchester Castle (1390s), and it is known he worked at Orford Harbour, Suffolk, in the 1370s, so he obviously had a comprehensive grasp of engineering and military architecture as well as other building-types. In 1394 he began the great work of transforming the Romanesque nave of Winchester Cathedral into a Perpendicular space without actually rebuilding it, creating a high lierne-vault, leaving the steeply pitched early medieval roof, and casing-in the huge piers, thus creating a curiously chunky type of architecture for the period. He probably had a considerable part in the design of the exquisite Perpendicular chantry-chapel and tomb of Wykeham in Winchester Cathedral, with its cusped lierne-vault (early C15).

From A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Architecture.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.