Reyns, Henry de

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Reyns, Henry de (fl. 1243–c.1253). Master-mason, probably from Rheims in France, but possibly an Englishman who had worked there. He was probably Master of the King's Masons at Windsor Castle in 1243, and advised on the defences of York Castle in 1244–5. His chief importance, however, lies in his connection with Westminster Abbey. Demolition of the east end of Edward the Confessor's (d. 1066) church began in 1245, and work began on the new, grander building, with which Henry was to be intimately connected, beginning with the crypt of the new polygonal chapterhouse (1246), and proceeding with the cloister, the chancel, and transept. Progress was rapid, for by 1251 the piers were ready to receive their marble shafts or colonnettes, and by the next year timber was arriving for the roof and stalls. In 1253 the vaults and pavements were being completed, and all window tracery was ready. Henry's work ensured that the eastern parts of Westminster Abbey are French in style, resembling Rheims and Amiens Cathedrals in many aspects of the architecture, although many commentators hold that the details are English, which would be expected, as most of the masons working on the job would have been natives.


J. Harvey (1987);
G. Webb (1965)