ASHENDON, Pollicott Manor, Lower Pollicott (SP 702 129)

(a)     Main range

Felling dates: Winter 1581/2, Spring 1584

Purlins (2/3) 1581 (28C, 33C); Transverse beam 1583 (17¼C); Axial beam 1557 (H/S); Principal rafters (0/4).  Site Master 1443-1583 POLLICOT (t=9.5 CORPUS; 8.5 MASTERAL; 7.4 OXON93)

(b)     Later repairs

Felling date: Summer 1799

Replacement purlin 1799 (16½C).  Site Master 1689-1799 lp1 (t=7.6 ORIEL1; 6.6 EASTMID; 6.3 MASTERAL)

The manor of Little Pollicott, or Pollicott Bucktot, Ashendon, was bequeathed to Lincoln College, Oxford, in 1451.  The College held the manor until 1952 when it was bought by the sitting tenant, a farmer.  The farmhouse, probably representing the site of the manor, was eventually sold to a private buyer.  It is currently the subject of extensive historical research by Mr Nigel Morgan of Preston, Lancs., on behalf of the owner, Mr James Nye, who commissioned the dendrochronology.

The existing house incorporates the main block of a two-storey, sub-medieval, timber-framed house here dated to 1584.  There were two rooms, one large and one smaller, on each floor, with a service bay below the passage.  All four rooms had stone fireplaces served by impressive, three-shafted lateral brick stacks, within which the hearths were set.  However, the only framed partition on any of the three floors is a partition through the centre of the attic story.  Both the lower floors have all transverse beams chamfered on both sides with no mortices in their soffits, suggesting that any original partitions were added independently of the main frame.  The stair was evidently in a projection associated with the main entrance, although rebuilt more than once, it continues to occupy much the same position today.  (Illustration in VCH Bucks IV, p3). (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part II)

ASHLEY GREEN, Grove Farm House (SP 986 042)

Felling dates: Winter 1499/1500 and Spring 1499

Rafters 1499 (32C); 1481 (22); 1498 (21¼C); 1498 (29); Purlin 1493 (27); Lintel (0/1). Site Master 1368-1499 GROVEFM (t=8.6 MASTERAL; 8.4 HANTS97; 7.7 SOUTH)

Grove Farm is the only building standing within a medieval moat.  Of three bays and built of brick and stone, the walls may possibly predate the roof which has here been dated to 1499/1500.  One sample from a ground-floor window lintel proved undateable, so dendrochronology cannot resolve the question of phasing. The roof is of interest, with the centre trusses each containing a cranked tiebeam and raking struts under the junction of the single butt purlins.  The principal rafters are suddenly diminished substantially near the apex, and the purlins are jowled about one foot from the ends in both planes.  None of the timbers are decorated, except the V-struts which are chamfered with stepped run-out stops.  The rafters in the centre bay have evidence in the form of diagonally aligned peg-holes for a large dormer or lower cross-gable, now lost.  Another interesting feature is a pointed wooden arched doorhead leading from the end bay onto the present stairs, possibly relating to a removed stair tower or gardrobe.  Dating commissioned by Mr A S Harman as part of an ongoing study of the site. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 90)

AYLESBURY, Ceely House, Church Street (SP 817 138)

Felling dates: Spring 1473, Spring/early Summer 1473

Posts 1454 (H/S), 1468(19), 1471 (26);  Transverse beams (1/2) 1472 (12¼C); End girt 1472 (15C); Joists 1472 (22¼C), 1472 (24¼C); Rafter 1450.  Site Master 1377-1472 CEELY (t=6.8 KENT88; 6.0 SUT91; 5.9 QUEEN2; 5.7 OXON)

Ceely House, part of the Bucks County Museum, is a five-bay jettied building aligned parallel to Church Street, running roughly north and south. It is thought to be the Brotherhood House of the Fraternity of the Virgin Mary which was founded in 1450 and finally dissolved in 1547.  The house is essentially a timber-framed building, although the front elevation was underbuilt and re-fronted in brickwork in the eighteenth century. The ground-floor rooms, originally two of two (N) bays and three (S) bays respectively, have been altered almost beyond recognition, although the partition wall is present, mainly hidden behind later plaster. The first floor was similarly divided into two rooms, that to the north being of two bays with an arch-braced collar truss with stub-ties originally decorated with carved figureheads.  The last two bays have a similar arch-braced truss and these are divided from the centre bay by a tiebeam truss with a king post bracing the collar.  Dating arranged through the Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society by Mr John Chenevix Trench and Mrs J. P. A. Fenley.  See Haddon-Reece, D, and Miles, D W H, Appendix: The tree-Ring Dating of Ceely House, Aylesbury Buckinghamshire, in Trench, J C, and Fenley, P, 1991 ‘The County Museum Buildings, Church Street, Aylesbury’ Records of Buckinghamshire, 33, 1-43.  (Haddon-Reece and Miles 1992, VA 23, list 43)

Ceeley House Museum, Buckingham County Council

BOARSTALL, Boarstall Tower (SP 624 141)

Felling date: Winter 1312/13

(a)     Primary phase

Ground floor ceiling joists 1299 (H/S+11C NM); (2/3) 1312 (30C).  Site Master 1201-1312  BOARSTL1 (t=10.4 MASTERAL; 9.3 OXON93; 8.3 YORKFARM)

(b)     Alterations to roof and fenestration

Felling dates: Winter 1612/13 to Winter 1614/15

Roof joists/purlins 1612 (38C, 16¼C); 1613 (25C, 32C 19½C); 1614 (31C).  Site Master 1450-1614  BOARSTL2 (t=9.7 MASTERAL; 8.6 CHAWTON1; 8.4 EASTMID)

The tower and the moat at Boarstall are all that remains of a moated manor house complex dating from the early 14th century.  In 1998 the National Trust carried out repairs to the roof of the building and alterations to the adjoining annexe and as part of this work commissioned Oxford Archaeological Unit to maintain an archaeological watching brief.  The Trust also commissioned dendrochronology, hoping to establish the construction date of the present roof structure and possibly the original tower.

Cores taken from ceiling joists at ground floor level gave a felling date of winter 1312/13.  This ties in precisely with a licence to crenellate the manor at Boarstall awarded in 1312.  Cores taken from the roof joists gave a felling date of 1614/15.  It would appear that the top storey of the building was substantially rebuilt at this date when the height of the parapet was raised.  Archaeological evidence from the watching brief has confirmed that the existing crenellated parapet was built directly over the 14th century parapet, thereby encasing the embrasures of the original crenellations.  The tower and the manor house are depicted in superb detail on an engraving dating from 1695 and it seems likely that the tower was raised in height to provide a viewing point over the formal garden landscape surrounding the manor house.  Compiled with notes by Gary Marshall.  (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 100)

Boarstall Tower, National Trust Webpage

BRILL, Brill Post Mill (SP 652 141)

(a)     Meal beam         

Felling date: Winter 1685/6

(b)     Phase two          

Felling date range: (OxCal modelled) 1719-33 (unrefined 1713-45)

(c)     Phase three        

Felling date: Winter 1759/60

All timbers (8/13). (a) Meal beam 1685(23C); (b) Crown tree 1706(9); Side girts 1707(h/s), 1708(h/s); (c) Frame member 1735(h/s); Main post 1746(7); Shear 1753(3); Windshaft 1759(25C). Site Master 1585-1759 BRILL1 (t = 10.5 HANTS02; 9.8 OXON93; 9.7 CRMASQ01)

As in many windmills several phases are evident in the existing structure. The meal beam was the only dated component of what appears to be the earliest extant phase of the buck, though a timber  with ‘-68-’ carved on it has been interpreted as coming from the 1680s. Other components of the buck (b) represent a phase in the early eighteenth-century. In previous windmill studies the main post has been found to be the oldest surviving timber, but here it is part of the third phase, corresponding to the rebuilding indicated by documentary evidence that the mill was blown down in 1757. None of the trestle timbers could be dated. Dating commissioned by the Bonwick Milling Heritage Consultancy. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 189)

To arrange a tour see Brill Post Mill

BUCKINGHAM, 12-16 Stratford Street Cottages (SP 700 343) Re-used timber              

Felling date range: 1516-29

Re-used post 1516(28); Longitudinal beams (0/3), Corner post (0/1); Purlin (0/1). Site Master 1409-1516 srcb5 (t = 6.6 WILNGTN1; 5.6 EASTMID; 5.5 OXON)

The row of cottages was originally formed by the building of a three bay timber framed building (Nos. 12-15) with a small extension to the north-east end (No. 16). The rear wall still survives as a somewhat crude box-framed construction with wattle and daub infill. The three trusses have queen struts with wattle and daub infill. The only datable timber is a post which appears to have been part of a arch-braced roof, and does not represent the date of the present structures.  Dating commissioned by Oxford Archaeology on behalf of the owners. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 177)

BUCKINGHAM, West Street, Castle House,
(SP 694 340),

Rear west range Felling dates: Winter 1405/6; Winter 1406/7 Queen post 1373(+12NM);

Principal collars 1383(h/s), 1391(6); Windbrace 1406(16C); Tiebeams 1385(h/s), 1405(32C). Site Master 1272-1406 CASTLEHO (t = 10.1 ANGLIA03; 8.0 OXON93; 7.1 HANTS02) .

This large town house is Grade I listed. It consists of a main range built in 1708 with what are thought to be late-fifteenth-century wings to the rear on either side. The rear wings are known to have been altered around 1623, and the left (west) wing was altered in 1881. The roof of the rear west range contains three trusses from what was once an open hall. The two main trusses have double hollow-chamfered arch-braced and cambered tiebeams with queen posts to a principal cambered collar and to a secondary collar. Posts frame the arch bracing to the collars and are multi-foiled to the upper collars, meeting in an ogee arch. The lower end truss has an arch-braced-collar truss with foiled bracing to secondary collar. There are two tiers of clasped, windbraced purlins. The principal collars have been cut to give access to an attic room. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 203)

BURNHAM, House of Prayer Barn (SU 938 827)

Felling dates: Spring 1505, Summer/autumn 1505, Winter 1505/6

Arch-braces 1453, 1504 (22¼C); Intermediate posts (1/2) 1504 (16¼C); Mid-rails 1505 (12½C, 14½C, 21½C), 1505 (18C); Principal post 1505 (17C).  Site Master 1300-1505 BURNHAM (t=8.3 SEng1; 8.2 MASTERAL; 7.4 MC19; 6.8 OXON93)

The House of Prayer Barn has here been dated to 1505/6 and derives its name from an order of nuns who occupied the site from the late 19th century to about 1980.  In the 1790s it was known as Lower Britwell Farm, and the barn is now referred to as the 'Tudor Barn'.  It is a remarkably complete five-bayed box frame structure with a central waggon entrance on the west side.  The roof is of tie and collar construction with raking struts and double purlins, the lower set are butt purlins whilst the upper set are clasped.  The rafters are bridled at the top except for the porch where there is a small ridge piece.  The wall frames consist of principal posts, intermediate posts, and midrails, all of which are rebated on the outside face to allow laths to be fixed to set-back studs, thus creating two tiers of lath and daub panels about six foot square.  The dating commissioned by Mr L J Champniss of Panstar Group Ltd who have just completed a scheme to convert the barn into a bridge club. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part II)

CHENIES, Chenies Manor (TQ 015 983)

(a)     West range – south block           

Felling dates: Spring 1537; Spring 1538; Summer 1538

(b)     West range – north block           

Felling date ranges: 1515-47; 1517-49; 1518-50

(c)     South range        

Felling dates: Spring 1547; Winter 1549/50; Summer 1550; Summer 1551; Spring 1552

(d)     Upper gallery     

Felling date ranges: 1529-61; 1548-80

(a) Tiebeam 1536(38¼C); Rafter 1537(13¼C); Queen struts (1/2) 1537(23½C); Binder (0/1). (b) Principal rafters 1518(9), 1519(13); Queen strut 1497(11 NM to h/s); Tiebeam (0/1). (c) Purlin 1546(15¼C); Wall plate 1549(26C); Interrupted ties 1533(h/s), 1545(11), 1549(35½C); Principal rafter 1550(22½C); Rafters (3/4) 1550(26), 1551(28¼C, 29¼C); Transverse beams Long Room (1/2) 1531(h/s); Strut (0/1). (d) Tiebeam 1520(h/s); Purlin 1539(h/s); Rafter (0/1). Site Master CHENIES1 1370-1551 (t=12 MASTERAL; 11 HANTS02; 10.9 LONDON)

Chenies Manor, noted for its Tudor decorated brick chimney stacks, consists of a west and a south range. The west range is composed of two blocks at right angles to each other. A tower housing a spacious spiral staircase with moulded brick handrail in the south-east angle between the blocks gives access to both. Only the south block retained complete sapwood which provided precise felling dates ranging from spring 1537 to summer 1538. The felling date ranges for the northern block are consistent with the dates from the south block, demonstrating that the two are broadly contemporary. Their roof structures are very similar, the integral ceilings constructed of axial binders tenoned into the tiebeams carrying framed ceiling joists indicating that they were ceiled from the outset. No evidence could be found for the smoke-blackened timbers mentioned in a Country Life article of 1982.

The spiral staircase leads to an upper gallery, a small range connecting the west to the south range which houses the long gallery, known locally as the Armoury. Ten timbers were sampled in the long gallery, and three from the ceiling of the long room on the ground floor, demonstrating that the range is of one build. The felling dates suggest that the south range was constructed during 1552 or shortly after. The north block of the west range and the roof timbers in the long gallery have remains of red ochre-painted assembly marks, an unusual feature. The construction of the south range is of interest in that both major floor frames are composed of transverse beams with tall thin joists (only common after 1600). The earliest previously-known example of similar floor construction was from c.1562 (datestone) at 6-7 Canonbury Place, Islington, although the Wolsey kitchen at Hampton Court has similar undated ceiling joists which are thought to be original (Richard Bond, pers. comm.). Dating commissioned by Diverse Productions Ltd for a Time Team programme. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 152)

To arrange a visit see Chenies Manor House and Gardens

CHILTON, Easington Farmhouse (SU 687 103)                                        

(a)     Ex situ mid-rail  

Felling date range: 1490-1522

(b)     Roof and cellar   

Felling dates: Summer 1726 to Spring 1727

(a) Mid-rail 1481(H/S); (b) All timbers (5/7) Principal rafters 1725(13), 1726(14C); Common rafters 1726(24¼C), 1726(7C); Cellar beam 1725(18½C). Site Masters (a) 1383-1481 esf01 (t = 5.8 BRUTON3; 5.6 KGWBSQ01; 5.3 CHKSPQ01); (b) 1640-1726 EASNGTN (t = 8.5 WIGALL46; 7.8 CLAYDON; 7.5 OXON93).

A map of 1687 shows a house of roughly similar proportions on the site, and the single timber removed from the wall suggests a date for this structure. The present building however appears to have been largely rebuilt in 1727 or thereabouts. The house has a long roof of oak rafter couples and principal rafters above the ties, with chiselled assembly marks.  Dating commissioned by the owner. (Miles and Worthington 2005, VA 36, list 166)

GREAT MISSENDEN, Abbey Farm House, Church Street (SP 897 011)

(a)     Main range

Felling dates: Spring 1405, Spring 1406

Joists 1405 (21¼C), 1405 (20¼C), 1405(19¼C), 1405(16¼C), 1405 (15¼C), 1393(H/S), 1404 (14¼C); Rafters 1405 (18¼C); Purlins 1405 (16¼C); Principal rafter 1405 (13¼C).  Site Master 1321-1405 GTMSNDN1 (t=5.5 MANORFM; 5.3 EASTMID; 5.2 PEBBLE)

(b)     Demolition of chimney stack

Felling date: Winter 1534/5

Infill wall plate 1534 (19C).  Site Master 1458-1534 miss23 (t=5.2 OXON; 5.0 COWFOLD; 5.0 EX198HS)

Abbey Farmhouse is the recently rediscovered gatehouse to Missenden Abbey, converted to a farmhouse at the Dissolution. It is a five-bay two-storey range with a timber-framed rear wall to the south, a stone front wall, and two end walls of timber-framing above a stone ground floor, The eastern wall appears to have been an earlier boundary wall which runs at a different angle to the rest of the building. The entry occupied the centre bay, with what appears to be a two-storied open ‘kitchen’ in the western two bays and an upstairs two-bay hall or chamber at the eastern end. Both these areas were once served by fireplaces built into the front wall, that serving the eastern chamber being removed just after 1534/5. Prior to this, the floor-frame of massive joists which measure 6 inches deep by 9 inches wide, spanning the whole depth of the bay, was raised about 18 inches and the rear wall-frame altered. The roof is of massive tiebeam and queen-strut construction with cranked collars and clasped purlins jointed with through-splayed scarfs. There was a chamber above the gateway, traces of painted red and black geometrical decoration and black letter text still surviving on the roof trusses. Dating commissioned by Mr N. F. Pearce and arranged by D. A. W. Birkett and Associates, the architects for the repair programme. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1993, VA 24, list 54)

HAMBLEDON, Burrow Farm (SU 797 856)

(a)     Barn      

Felling dates: Summer/autumn 1443

Aisle posts 1419 (H/S), 1443 (18½C); Arcade brace 1443 (15½C); Arcade post 1443 (18½C); Passing brace (0/1).  Site Master 1350-1494 BURROWFM (t=7.3 MASTERAL; 7.0 OXON93; 5.7 WINDSOR2)

(b)     House    

Felling dates: Summer 1494, Winter 1494/5, Summer 1495

Tiebeams 1475 (H/S), 1494 (19C); Transverse beam 1494 (13½C); Queen struts (2/3) 1480 (6), 1495 (23½C).

Burrow Farm is a fifteenth century complex of buildings on the wooded Thames escarpment at Hambledon.  The barn of 1443 is a five-bayed aisled structure, the western aisle and southern end being walled in flint and clunch mass walling which may replace timber-framed walls.  The roof has collar and tiebeam trusses with a central king strut, clasped purlins and curved plank windbraces.  The arcade posts are jowled and the aisles have a brace from the aisle post to the arcade post, passing by way of a trench in the aisle tie.

The farmhouse comprises a two-bayed jettied timber-framed chamber block here dated to 1495.  An open hall probably existed on the site of the present flint and brick cross-wing and stair turret in the angle, both dating from about c. 1600.  The roof structure of the 1495 wing is a queen-strut arrangement with evidence for a king strut above. The external walls were close-studded.  The dating was commissioned by the owners, Mr & Mrs D V Palmer.  Further information may be found in a report No 30/1985 by the Henley-on-Thames Archaeological & Research Group - Vernacular Buildings Research Section. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part II)

HIGH WYCOMBE, Bradenham Manor (SU 825 970)

Felling dates: Winter 1652/3 and Spring 1653

Principal rafters (4/8) 1652 (19C, 19¼C 22C, 25C); Purlins (2/7) 1652 (22¼C); 1643 (9); Hip rafters (1/2) 1646 (8). Site Master 1553-1652 BRADNM1 (t=8.8 MASTERAL; 7.2 OXON93; 7.1 WALES97)

During 1997, an archaeological watching brief was maintained at Bradenham Manor by the National Trust during work on the roof and dendro cores were taken from the principal members of the trusses. The house is not well documented but the earliest part - the south end of the building - was believed to date from c.1642 after the acquisition of the estate by Sir Edmund Pye. It was then substantially enlarged, possibly in the 1670s after the estate passed to Sir Edmund’s daughter, Marjery.  The roof over the south section now has a single east-west ridge. However, the survival of a single redundant truss beneath the west range roof suggests that it was originally double ridged, the more northerly ridge having been removed and replaced by two major north-south ridges when the building was enlarged.  However, felling dates of 1652/53 were obtained from both the east-west ridge and one of the north-south ridges.  It is concluded that the east-west ridge is indeed the earliest i.e. 1652/53 and the later north-south ridges re-used some of the timbers from the 1652/53 roof.  It also appears that the south section of the building dates from c.1652.  Dating commissioned by Gary Marshall of the National Trust as part of the archaeological recording. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 90)

IVINGHOE, Pitstone Windmill (SP 945 157)

(a)     Buck (body of mill)        

Felling dates: Winter 1595/6; Spring 1597

(b)     Crown tree        

Felling date: Spring 1670

(c)     Trestle   

Felling date range: 1824-6

(a) Posts (4/5) 1554, 1572, 1595(23C), 1596(22¼C); (b) Crown tree 1669(18¼C); (c) Quarter bars 1808(6), 1811(h/s), 1818(7), 1823(10); Cross trees 1803(h/s), 1823(21). Site Masters (a, b) 1489-1669 PTSTONE2 (t = 7.6 CHICKSANDS; 6.6 NOSTELL1; 6.5 S. ENGLAND98); (c) 1729-1823 PTSTONE1 (t = 7.5 HANTS02; 7.3 ssj51; 7.3 MC19).

An interesting feature of the mill is the fine turning on the main post, both at the junction of the cross trees and where it protrudes into the meal floor. 1627 is carved on a side girt, and this has led to the claim that it is the oldest extant post mill in Britain. The dendro dating suggests that it is even earlier. Changes to the brickwork piers which support the cross trees indicate that the mill has been raised once, and possibly twice, the most recent being in the mid 1820s. Dating commissioned by the Pitstone Mill Committee. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 152)

To arrange a tour see Pitstone Windmill, The National Trust

LITTLE MISSENDEN, The Manor House (SU 922989)                                      

(a)     North-east wing

Felling dates: Spring 1545, Spring 1546, and Summer 1546

(b)     South wing         

Felling dates: Spring 1624

(a) Queen strut 1544(25¼C); Rafters (4/5) 1516, 1517, 1545(16¼C, 19½C); (b) Collar 1596(H/S); Principal rafters 1623(14¼, 15¼C); Purlin(0/1). Site Masters (a) 1425-1545 LMSSNDN1 (t = 6.4 CHENIES1; 5.7 NOSTELL1; 5.5 SENGLAND); (b) 1533-1623 LMSSDND2 (t = 6.5 MARLBORO; 6.2 SDSASQ02; 5.3 COTTESMR).

This complex building has two principal ranges, both apparently truncated and both heavily modified in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The 1546 timber-framed wing (a) is set back behind the more dominant roadside range of 1624 (b). The latter is brick-built, of three-storeys, L-shaped on plan.  The main roof has three trusses, the rafters being tenoned into the purlins and with the eastern end roofed at right angles like a cross-wing. The windows, where they have not been blocked, are mostly 12-pane sashes, replacing timber cross-windows. On the north side the stair turret has brick ovolo-mullioned cross-windows, with the bricks plastered to resemble stone. There are three main rooms, a service room at the east end, a kitchen in the centre and a parlour at the west end.. The fireplace to the kitchen has a chamfered wooden lintel with down-turned ends and is covered with many apotropaic marks and the initials TH. Above the fireplace are four arched recesses of unknown purpose.

A wide central entrance hall forms the base of this L-shaped range linking the roadside and earlier range. It is entered by a semi-octagonal porch added in the C18th. Behind this, in the angle, is the stair wing also of 1624 and containing a very fine open-well stair, which rises through two storeys to the top floor. It has turned balusters joined by semi-circular arches and square newel posts topped by huge pointed finials There is also a half balustrade against the wall, a feature only found in a few of the more important houses of the period (e.g. Blickling Hall, Norfolk and Hatfield House, Herts.) The lower flight of the stair has clearly been turned through 90 degrees to give a long straight flight down to the present entrance hall. The original arrangement would have been much better suited to a main entrance facing the adjacent church, with the stair being approached by the long passage, now somewhat redundant, flanking the kitchen and parlour and leading to what are now French windows in the west wall. Such an arrangement also implies a lost range to the north of this passage, forming a more imposing frontage onto the churchyard. Exposed timbers in the north passage wall tend to support this hypothesis.

The ‘base’ of the L-shaped range is linked to the earlier timber-framed range of 1546, aligned east-west and extending eastwards beyond the semi-octagonal porch. Originally two storeys and of four bays, the outer bays have been converted to hipped ends. The roof has clasped purlins and curved windbraces.  The central truss was originally closed, and had two queen struts. Of the wall-framing, only some close studding and some braces survives on the south side. The north wall appears to have had close-studding but at the east end of the wall-plate there are pegs and mortises only for two widely spaced studs. Some late C16th wall painting survives on the brace and the studs at the east end of the south wall. A stack was later inserted adjacent to the central truss, on the northern side, perhaps after the 1624 range was added at the expense of a former lateral stack on the south wall. The inserted stack was itself later removed, probably when the first floor was taken out in 1771 and the range converted into an apsidal-ended panelled room to house the paintings of the then owner, Dr Bates. The tiebeam/wall plate at the west end has no pegs for braces, which would imply it was an inside wall. The wing, now truncated by a C19th single-storey dining room range at right angles to it, may thus have originally extended westwards ‘hitting’ what may have been the proposed eastward extension of the roadside range. Thus the 1624 alterations by the Style family would have essentially created a courtyard-style plan but with the magnificent stair filling the central well.  The dating was commissioned by the owner. (Miles and Worthington 2005, VA 36, list 166)

LONG CRENDON, 98 High Street (SP 696 091)

Felling date range: 1430-1475 subsequently revised to 1430-1461

Windbrace 1429 (9); Purlins (0/2).  Site Master 1349-1429 lcc3 (t=7.4 MDM1; 6.7 SENGLAND; 6.3 EASTMID)

No. 98 High Street, Long Crendon, is a three bay house which is actually composed of two separate cruck structures, the western bay being the other half of the structure shared with No. 96.  Both houses were the subject of research during the Leverhulme Cruck Project.  The other two bays however form part of a higher cruck structure of which one cruck truss remains, here dated to 1430-1475 (subsequently revised to 1430-1461).  Here the collar is set high, and the truss is of a type ‘W’ apex (Alcock 1981, 96) although it is not clear whether the crucks have been truncated later.  The purlins exist in bay 3 through into bay 4 where they are severed some five feet beyond truss 4.  The absence of soot blacking on the bay 3 structure indicates a chamber end, but the heavy sooting on the other side of T4 indicates that bay 4 was an open hall.  Possible evidence for the remains of a smoke louvre is that the last rafter to the east has a lap joint high up for a short collar which would normally be associated with a louvre.  A short section of upper wall-framing can be seen to the front of bay 4 adjacent to T4 with a curved wall brace and some original smoke blackened lath and daub above.  One very peculiar feature is the jettied construction.  Large joists are cantilevered out from what is now the chimney stack and pick up the remains of the wall - and these too appear to have some soot encrustation.  One of these joists however appear to be re-used as a hollow chamfer was noted on an upper arris.  There is a mortice for a tenoned lower cruck spur at jetty level which is missing, leaving the question open as to whether this area had been reconstructed (VA Conf. Prog. 1994, 37-38). (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part II)

LONG CRENDON, The Courthouse (SP 698 091)

Felling date range: 1483-7

Joists (1/5) 1480 (14+5±2C) Site Master 1422-1480 lcch3 (t=5.0 HANTS97; 4.8 OVERTON2; 4.7 GROVEFM)

The Court House, Long Crendon, is a long five-bayed building jettied on the west end and the front, with the exception of the east bay where it is treated as a Wealden to allow it to function as an open kitchen.  Each bay was separated on the ground floor to form individual rooms, but with the exception of the upper part of the kitchen and stairs, the first floor was originally one long open room, as it still remains today.  The roof consists of alternating tiebeam and arch-braced collar trusses, all of slight scantling timbers.  Virtually all of the timber within the building was unsuitable for dendrochronology; only five samples from the first floor joists had sufficient numbers of rings to be worth sampling, and only one with incomplete sapwood dated.  The building was probably originally built as a church house, being adjacent to St Mary’s Church, with the top floor being used as a courtroom.  Dating commissioned by Jeremy Bowden of the National Trust, as part of an ongoing programme of re-presentation of their properties. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 90)

To arrange a tour see Long Crendon Courthouse, The National Trust

LUDGERSHALL, The Hovel (SP 663 176)

Felling date: Spring 1812

Lodged ceiling beams (3/4)  1802 (32); 1811 (40¼C, 42¼C); Post (1783 (14).  Site Master 1671-1811  THEHOVEL (t=12.5 ORIEL1; 11.6 MASTERAL; 10.3 HANTS97)

The Hovel is an extraordinary survival of a squatter’s cottage built on a low-lying site adjacent to a small brook.  The small two-roomed cottage complete with central brick chimney stack and lobby entry is constructed of earth-fast posts with forked ends in which the wall plates are nestled.  The walls are wattle-and-daub with some wychert, and the roof consists only of small twisted branches lodged on the wall plates supporting a solid thatch roof of twigs and brushwood.  Given that virtually all of the wood used in the building is untrimmed roundwood of small scantling, it is remarkable that a 140-year chronology could be constructed producing exceptional matches with regional reference chronologies.  Whilst the primitive construction of the cottage employing virtually no carpentry techniques might lend support to the tradition of squatters cottages being erected overnight on waste ground, an inscribed date of 1811 on a fireplace brick suggests that the sequence of construction here might be slightly more complicated.   Renate John commissioned the dating on behalf of the owner. (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 100)

LUDGERSHALL, The Kya (SP 658 178) 

(a)     Primary phase    

Felling dates:  Spring and Summer 1569

Rafters 1568(12¼C, 13¼C2, 13½C, 14¼C, 19¼C, 26¼C) Purlin 1568(21½C, 25¼C), strut (0/1).  Site Master 1490-1568 KYA (t = 8.9 WIMPOLE1; 6.5 STNSTJN3; 6.4 SENG98)

(b)     Later alteration   

Felling date range:  1803-35

Door post 1794(h/s). Site Master 1719-94 kya10 (t = 8.7 HANTS97; 8.2 MASTERAL; 6.6 THEHOVEL)

The Kya was a small unlisted cottage in Ludgershall, Buckinghamshire which was recorded as a condition of planning approval prior to its demolition.  The cottage was two bays wide and essentially single storey with a small inserted loft in one half.  The walls were of cob (a constructional technique of some importance in Buckinghamshire), although the front wall had been rebuilt and stepped back; the roof was thatched.  The roof contained a single central truss incorporating collar and raking struts with simple birds-mouth ends rather than mortice and tenon joints; the rafters used riven and cleaved timber. Seven oak rafters and two oak purlins all came from trees felled in the spring or early summer of 1569.  The only other timber dated was a door post at the rear of the cottage. The rafters and purlins appear primary to the building, providing a good date for the construction of The Kya, while the door post probably indicates the construction date of a rear extension. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 140)

MEDMENHAM,  Lodge Farm  (SU 808 847)                                                                    

a)       Building 5 - Three-bayed timber-framed barn     

Felling dates: Winter 1724/5

Tiebeams 1724 (19C, 21C).

b)      Building 6 - Stables

Felling dates: Winter 1561/2

Reset queen strut 1561 (26C); Reset strut 1561 (29C); Principal rafters 1535 (H/S), 1536 (H/S).

c)       Building 6 - Stables repair

Felling date range: 1723-6

Replacement collar 1721 (12+2-5 NM).

d)      Building 6 - Stables extension

Felling date: Winter 1784/5

Purlins (1/2) 1784 (18C). Site Master 1627-1784 MEDMNHM2  (t=9.0 MASTERAL; 8.8 SALOP95; 8.1 SENG98)

e)       Building 7 - Clunch barn

Felling date: Winter 1564/5

Tiebeams (3/4) 1540 (H/S), 1553 (11), 1564 (18C).  Site Master 1430-1564  MEDMNHM1 (t=8.2 MASTERAL; 7.6 SENG98; 7.5 OXON93)

During 2000 English Heritage were commissioned to produce a survey of the buildings at Lodge Farm. Clustered around a large courtyard, this intriguing group of buildings owned by the National Trust occupies a commanding hill-top location overlooking the Thames Valley. The tall flint and brick house dates from the early 17th C and was probably built as a hunting lodge by the Borlases, owners of Bockmer House, 1.5 km north of the lodge. In the late seventeenth century it was downgraded to a farmhouse. Dormer windows were added to the roof to provide attic accommodation and a single storey outshut was added on the east side of the building to provide a kitchen. Despite its reduced status the building remained as a prominent eye-catcher, embellished by the addition of the dormers, which were executed in a style matching the original construction.   Unfortunately the timbers from the house were all too fast-grown to be worth sampling for dendrochronology.

The farm buildings however were more promising.  A stable range on the north side of the farmyard produced a felling date of 1561/2, with evidence for repairs between 1723 and 1726, and an extension eastwards in 1784/5.  At about the same time as the stables were repaired, a three-bayed timber-framed barn on the east side of the farm yard was built, again using primarily re-used timbers.  On the west side a large clunch barn of five bays with central porch was constructed of mainly re-used timbers, but the four tiebeams appeared primary and produced a felling date of 1564/5.  These dates suggest that the lodge was added to an existing manorial farm. (Miles and Worthington 2001, VA 32, list 116)

NEW BEACONSFIELD, Baylins Farm (SU 928 927)

(a)     Primary construction, hall and cross wing

Felling date ranges: 1418-48, 1448-80, 1453-77

(a) Principal rafter 1407(10NM); Principal posts (1/2) 1440(4+8NM); Tiebeam 1439(h/s); Door jamb (0/1); Newel post(0/1); Wall plate (0/1). Site Master 1352-1446 BAYLINS1 (t = 9.2 MASTERAL; 8.5 MAGDALN1; 8.4 QUEEN2)

(b)     Inserted hall floor

Felling date: Winter 1562/3

(b) Joists (2/3) 1541(6), 1562(30C). Site Master 1476-1562 BAYLINS2 (t = 7.0 DISCOED1; 6.8 BDLEIAN4; 6.6 SENG98)

Baylins Farm comprises a two-bay hall with a five-bay integral cross wing. The central truss to the hall had moulded posts and arch braces to the collar, and there were two sets of clasped purlins. The cross wing is exceptionally long, but appears to be of one phase. It contains five queen-strut and one king-strut trusses with short spandrel braces to the tiebeams, and has a single set of clasped purlins with wind braces. In 1562/3 the hall was floored over with both the joists and main beam of the ceiling being ovolo-moulded. Dating commissioned by Dr James Moir on behalf of the owner, Mr Oliver Heal. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 126)

OLNEY, Church of St Peter and St Paul (SP 889 509)

Bellframe Felling date: Spring 1626

Foundation beams 1613(4), 1614(9); Lower plate 1596; Braces 1612(2), 1625(14¼C). Site Master 1472–1625 OLNEY (t = 12.5 ANGLIA03, 11.1 OXON93, 10.5 WHITOWR7).

This is a large, approximately square, frame with eight bell pits, more or less fi lling the cross-section of the tower. Very large foundation beams, approximately 16 inches square, support the frame which is also constructed from very large timbers. Several of the timbers have been renewed or replaced over the years, although a good number of original elements remain in place. Dating commissioned by Olney PCC. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2009, VA 40, list 212)

Website of the Parish of SS Peter and Paul Olney.


STOWE, New Inn Farm (SP 681 364)

(a)     Main Range       

Felling date: Spring/Summer 1717

(b)     West Range       

Felling date range: 1711-32

(c)     East Range (section adjoining Main Range)         

Felling date: Spring 1718

All timbers (16/20). (a) Wall plates 1684(1), 1716(24¼C); Principal rafters 1703(5), 1709(16), 1716(18½C); Purlins 1712(21), 1716(27¼C); (b) Tiebeam 1680(2); Mid-rail 1687(h/s); Brace 1698(h/s); Wall plate 1708(10); Posts 1710(12), 1710(23); (c) Principal rafter 1713(9); Purlin 1717(32¼C). Site Master 1586-1717 STOWE9 (t = 8.5 BLSBSQ01; 7.5 STOWE6; 7.4 OXON93)

The main building is listed as having been built in 1717-19 for Viscount Cobham. The buildings to the rear of the main range were of less certain age. On the west side, a timber-framed building now in a poor state of repair was thought possibly to have a much earlier origin as a precursor to the current main building, although it is here shown to be at most only a few years earlier. This study shows that a range of buildings to the east at the rear was built as part of the same campaign as the main range. Dating commissioned by the National Trust. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 189)

STOKE MANDEVILLE, Marsh Lane, Old Moat Farmhouse (SP 827 104)

Felling date: Winter 1498/9

Tiebeams 1483(h/s), 1498(14C); Posts 1480, 1495(7+7mmNM). Site Master 1420-1498 STOKEMAN (t = 5.8 HUNTNFRD; 5.8 HGROVNR2; 5.8 CHERGTN)

Listed as sixteenth and seventeenth century with later additions, the original framing remains in the front (east) range, mostly visible at first floor level, where large tiebeams are exposed along with a windbraced roof open to purlin level. Commissioned by BSA Chesters on behalf of the owners. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 203)

STOWE, Stowe Landscape Gardens (SP 680 363), Corinthian arch

Felling dates: Spring 1765; Summer 1765; Spring 1766; and Summer 1766

Rafters 1764(19¼C, 20¼C, 21¼C, 23½C, 24¼C), 1765(24½C); Arch ribs 1764(23¼C), 1765(23¼C); Cornice packers 1765(26¼C, 30¼C); Purlin (0/1). Site Master 1653-1765 STOWE8 (t = 9.5 STOWE2; 8.2 STOWE7; 8.1 READING),

As part of its restoration of the garden and park buildings at Stowe, the National Trust has maintained an archaeological watching brief over all repairs and alterations, and carried out building recording and dendrochronology to provide evidence to assist the restoration. The latest building to be sampled is the Corinthian arch which closes the south vista from the house. Once planted, it also terminated the north end of the Buckingham Avenue. The arch contains two houses, originally for gatekeepers. Documents record that the arch was designed in 1765 for Earl Temple by his young cousin, Thomas Pitt, later Lord Camelford. Building accounts suggest that it was completed in 1767, confirmed by the dating. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 152)

To arrange a visit see Stowe Landscape Gardens, The National Trust

STOWE,  Stowe Landscape Gardens  (SP 6695 3885), Haymanger Pond sluice     

Felling date ranges: 1766-1798, 1780-1812

Ex situ board 1766 (9); Wedges 1770 (H/S), 1771 (H/S); Stakes (0/2); Beams (0/2). Site Master 1682-1771 STOWE3 (t=5.3 STOWE2; 5.0 STOWE1; 3.4 READING1)

In 1996 the Heritage Lottery Fund provided a grant to the National Trust to purchase the parkland surrounding Stowe Gardens in Buckinghamshire.  An additional grant in 1998 has enabled a programme for the restoration of the former parkland features and buildings which is still in progress.

The Haymanger Pond was one of a chain of holding lakes for the estate sawmill.  However, the dam was breached and the water drained during the 1940s.  The area of water depicted on 19th century maps is believed to have incorporated a series of stew ponds recorded on an estate survey of 1630.  However, it is unclear whether elements of these earlier features are incorporated within the dam undergoing restoration.

In order to provide information for the restoration of this feature an archaeological evaluation trench was cut through the breach.  This examined a partially exposed timber framework, which was sampled for dendrochronological dating.  The felling dates for the timbers sampled range from 1766-1798 and 1780-1812, and there are at least three phases of sluice construction after this.  Unfortunately, not enough evidence survives for a comprehensive reconstruction of the former operation of the sluice. (Miles and Worthington 2001, VA 32, list 116) See following entry from 2004 for updated analysis and interpretation.

STOWE, Stowe Landscape Gardens, Home Farm

(a)     Main barn (SP 670 376)

Felling date ranges: 1774-1806 – 1786-1818

(b)     Haymanger Dam (SP 670 389)  

Felling date ranges: 1734-66; 1766-98; 1780-1812

(c)     Pit-sawn planks from Mill Pond (SP 670 378)    

Felling date range: 1892-1909

(a) Tiebeams 1781(4), 1771(h/s), 1765(1), 1731. (b) Wedges 1770(h/s), 1771(h/s); boards 1766(h/s, 9), 1755(h/s), 1727(2); Stakes (0/6); Beams (0/3); Upright (0/1). (c) Plank 1891(22); Boards (4/5) 1870(h/s+9NM), 1868(h/s), 1867(h/s2). Site Masters (a) 1652-1781 STOWE7 (t = 10.6 STOWE2; 8.0 STOWE6; 7.9 STOWE5); (b)1682-1771 STOWE3x (t = 5.6 STOWE125; 5.0 STOWE2; 4.5 STOWE1); (c) 1712-1891 STOWE5 (t = 8.6 MASTERAL; 8.0 WALES97; 7.6 STOWE2).

Home Farm is a National Trust property acquired in 1995. Until 1921 it had served as the principal farm for the Stowe Estate, providing meat and diary produce to the main house. The farm consists of four brick ranges arranged around a courtyard, accommodating such functions as animal housing, crop storage, etc. The brickwork is ingeniously laid as sloping courses following the lie of the land, though with vertical jambs to doorway and window openings. A building survey by Gary Marshall (‘Stowe Home Farm Vernacular Buildings Survey, 1997’) suggested a late eighteenth-century date for the farm, based on an account reference for digging foundations for a farm in 1791 and supplying 1,600 ‘Countess Slates’ in 1807.

The Haymanger Pond was one of a chain of holding lakes for the estate sawmill. The dam was breached and the water drained during the 1940s. The area of water depicted on nineteenth-century maps is believed to have incorporated a series of stew ponds recorded on a survey of 1633. However, it is unclear whether elements of these earlier features are incorporated within the dam. Structural evidence suggests that there were at least three phases after the construction of the dam sluice. Initial results were summarised in 2001 (D. H. Miles and M. J. Worthington, VA 32 (2001), 76). Further excavation of the dam by Oxford Archaeology during 2002 allowed further sampling, and the results are summarised here, superseding the 2001 VA entry.

During the summer of 2002, the mill pond at Home Farm was cleared of a thick accumulation of silt. This pond served a saw mill at Home Farm, operating since the nineteenth century. During a watching brief, Oxford Archaeology discovered six boards within the silt. These produced a date of c.1900, significant in that these planks had been pit-sawn, proving that this method of conversion was still in use to the end of the nineteenth century at Stowe, and that water seasoning, or steeping, was employed. In this method freshly sawn oak was submerged in running water for a time to flush the sap from the pores, allowing it to dry out much more satisfactorily during the subsequent seasoning. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 152)

STOWE, The Rotonda, Stowe House (SP 674 371)

(a)     Dome reconstruction

Felling dates: Spring 1751 and Spring 1752

Ribs (3/6) 1751 (21¼C); 1750 (19¼C)2. Site Master 1610-1751 STOWE1 (t=5.4 EASTMID; 5.1 ORIEL1; 4.6 MASTERAL)

(b)     Repair phase

Felling date range: 1779-1811

Repairs to ribs (3/7) 1776 (6); 1770 (H/S); 1769. Site Master 1683-1776 STOWE2(t=7.0 MASTERAL; 7.0 ssj51; 6.4 ORIEL1)

The extensive programme of  restoration by the National Trust of  the gardens at Stowe includes the garden buildings. One of the earliest buildings is the Rotunda, erected c.1720 and attributed to the architect, Sir John Vanbrugh.  Archaeological recording and excavation has been carried out during major repairs, including dendro sampling.  The felling date of 1752 accords well with a detailed series of building accounts for the gardens which suggest that between 1752 and 1754 the original domed roof was removed and replaced by a dome with a much lower profile. The lower sections of the ribs had been repaired with curved pieces of oak tenoned into a wall plate and secured to the upper sections with hand wrought nails.  These produced an estimated felling date of between 1779 and 1811, showing that these repairs were much earlier than previously thought.  As a consequence these timbers were retained in situ as important evidence of late eighteenth-century repairs. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 90)

To arrange a visit see Stowe Landscape Gardens, The National Trust

STOWE, Stowe Landscape Gardens, West Lake Pavilion (SP 677 369)

(a)           Original construction       

Felling date ranges:  1708-40 and 1713-45

(b)          Moving and reconstruction         

Felling dates:  Spring 1763

(a) Wall plates (2/3) 1701(2), 1704(h/s). (b) Purlins 1747(h/s), 1748(1); Principal rafter 1745(1); Tiebeam 1741(h/s); Rafters 1762(24¼C), 1753(12). Site Master 1610-1762 STOWE6 (t = 7.6 CRBCR2; 6.7 THEHOVEL; 5.6 STOWE2)

The two lake pavilions form a backdrop to the Octagon Lake, and are thought to have been built as two ‘heathen temples’ by Vanbrugh in 1719.  In 1764 Earl Temple moved the two pavilions further apart to accommodate the great broadening of the South Vista.  At this time the temples were improved by the addition of Neo-classical details by Borra. Dating commissioned by the National Trust during re-roofing works to identify how much of the original timberwork survived from the pavilion’s original construction.  It appears that the majority of the roof timbers date from the Borra reconstruction, with only the wall-plates reused from the Vanbrugh period. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 140)

To arrange a visit see Stowe Landscape Gardens, The National Trust

WEST WYCOMBE, 25 High Street  (SU 830 947)

a)       East cross wing

Felling date: Winter 1450/51

First floor joist rear bay 1450(25C).  Site Master 1384-1450  wwa7 (t=7.1 MAGDALN1; 6.3 MDM; 6.0 MDM9)

b)      West range

Felling dates: Winter 1530/31, Winter 1531/2, Spring 1532

Tiebeam 1531(19C); Purlin 1531(28¼C); Strut 1530(19C); Joist 1531(25¼C); Stud 1531(20C); Axial beam 1531(7¼C).  Site Master 1395-1531 WWYCOMB1 (t=7.8 SOUTH; 6.7 MASTERAL; 6.6 MC19)

25 High Street consists of two timber-framed buildings. From the two-bayed jettied cross wing to the east, only one timber dated, all the rest of the timbers being very fast grown and unsuitable for dendrochronology.  Whilst the 1450/51 felling date is consistent with the architectural style of the building, some caution should be used in interpreting this as a construction date for the cross wing.  The adjoining close-studded range to the west probably replaced a hall range in 1532.  An elaborate moulding just inside the western elevation suggests that it too was a jettied building re-faced in brick.  Dating commissioned by Gary Marshall for the National Trust. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 107)