Tree Frog Forestry News

The entire wooden interior of Notre Dame Cathedral has been lost

By Ryan Prior
April 15, 2019
Category: Special Feature
Region: International

A “forest” of wooden latticework inside Notre Dame Cathedral fueled the fire that consumed the iconic church. The medieval roof structure “has been lost,” according to Monsignor Patrick Chauvet, the rector of the cathedral. The cathedral’s wooden frame, which primarily consisted of oak, contains beams that date as far back as the first frame built for the cathedral. That frame featured trees cut down between 1160 and 1170, forming one of the oldest parts of the structure. Most of the current frame dates from the year 1220, according to the church’s website. The modern frame is the second frame, and reflects adjustments made early in the cathedral’s construction process. The prevailing Gothic style called for high vaulted ceilings. To accommodate this, the cathedral’s plans required tall, sturdy oaks from a nearby forest. To kick off the project, workers cleared 21 hectares of oak. Each beam of the intricate wooden cross-work was drawn from a different tree: estimated at 13,000 trees in total. To reach the heights the carpenters needed to build the structure, those trees would likely have been 300 or 400 years old, meaning they would have sprouted out of the ground in the eighth or ninth centuries

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