ALCASTON, Alcaston Manor (SO 458 872)

(a)     Hall and Cross-wing

Felling date: Spring 1557

Tiebeams 1556 (36¼C); Principal post 1556 (24¼C); Moulded jambs, strut (0/3). Site Master 1490 1389-1556 ALCASTON (t=11.1 GIRTZ; =10.9 WOLVERTN; 10.8 WALES97)

(b)     Cellar

Felling date: Summer 1704

Ex situ timber 1703 (30½C); Joists (0/2). Site Master 1604-1703 alc7 (t=7.4 STOKE5; 6.7 STNSTJN3; 6.6 YORKS2)

Alcaston Manor is a classic example of piecemeal development.  The primary box-framed structure, dated to 1557, consists of a hall range (E) and integral cross-wing (W) with an upper chamber which served as the manor courtroom, with its own external door with an ogee head.  The south-western chamber corner-post once had a cable-moulding and the south-eastern post was adapted to serve as a newel when a stair wing was added to the front.  The lower chamber has traces of wall-painting.  A sample dated to 1704 from a cellar under the cross-wing came from an unprovenanced timber removed during the course of current repairs, and may not necessarily relate to the insertion of the cellar.  The  house was reputedly built by Humphrey Hill, a member of an old Shropshire family, who died there in 1585 (Frances Stackhouse-Acton, The Castles and Old Mansions of Shropshire (1868), 40).  Dating commissioned by Henry Hand whose family once owned the house. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 92)

ALL STRETTON, Old Hall Farm (SO 461 953)

(a)     Cross wing

Felling date: Spring 1565

Purlin 1564 (27¼C); Principal rafter 1502. Site Master 1379-1630 OLDHLLFM (t=11.9 MASTERAL; 11.7 NORTH; 11.0 EASTMID)

(b)     Lobby-entry range

Felling dates: Summer 1629, Autumn 1630

Purlin (1/2) 1629 (30½C); Queen strut 1630 (30½C); Tiebeam 1594 (h/s); Collar 1601 (h/s); Longitudinal beam 1603 (h/s); Re-used principal rafter 1532 (17½C).

Old Hall Farm, All Stretton, is an L-shaped farmhouse consisting of two distinct units, each box-framed and two-storied.  The earlier is the cross-wing (1564) which contains the present kitchen and dairy and is set about 1m below the hall range.  It is jettied towards the front and has close-studding with straight angle-braces set both up and down from the main posts.  The assembly marks are chiselled and externally they take the form of a single stroke for each digit.  Twelve verticals are numbered in this way, a method which more than doubled the number of incisions necessary for Roman numerals (156 as against 70).

The hall and parlour block was constructed in 1630, and has a large central chimney and an original lobby-entry.  There is close-studding with tension-braces to the ground floor, and square framing above. The fireplace in the hall has stone jambs and a wooden lintel with continuous ovolo-moulding connecting the features, a characteristic that is fairly common in the mid-Shropshire farming belt.  The assembly marks are scribed.  That the roof-space was intended for accommodation is clear from the remains of fireplaces in each bay, chamfered and stopped purlins, rush-taper marks and a window which at one time would have looked out on to the cross-wing roof.  Later the roofs were linked by a hipped arrangement and the window was blocked.  An interesting feature is the red chalk line on the principal rafters on at least two trusses, used in setting out mortices.  A date of 1532 was obtained from one principal rafter, but it must have been a second-hand timber.  It is possible that this might have come from an earlier hall which was subsequently replaced by the present block. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1996, VA 27, list 73)

ALVELEY, The Bell Inn (SO 760 845)

(a)     The Malthouse (granary)

Felling date: Winter 1753/4

Principal rafter 1753 (17C); Purlins (1/2) 1753 (38C). Site Master 1679-1753 BELLINN1 (t=9.3 MASTERAL; 8.1 MDM17b; 8.0 SALOP95)

(b)     Malthouse extension

Felling date: Spring 1824

Upper cruck 1823 (24¼C); Cruck spurs (1/2) 1821 (11); Purlin 1820 (29); Curved former to door arch (0/1). Site Master 1726-1823 BELLINN2 (t=5.6 ENGLAND; 5.3 EASTMID; 4.9 WALES97)

The granary at the Bell Inn, Alveley is referred to locally as ‘The Malthouse’, but there is no evidence to support such an identification, and it is more likely to have been a granary when ‘The Bell’ was a farm.  It is stone built, with the two northern bays constructed in 1753/4 ; their roof structure consists of an interrupted tiebeam, a low collar with V-struts above.  In 1824 the building was extended southwards by a further two bays using truncated upper-crucks.  The Bell itself incorporates the remains of a box-framed two-bay open-hall house which, unfortunately failed to date.  Later alterations include an upper cruck of similar form the 1824 example from the granary.  The ‘Bell’ is also remarkable for containing a number of twelfth-century sculpted stones, described in Individual Case Studies (Moran 1998, VA 29, 85-7).  The dating was commissioned by the owner, Mr Bill Sheridan. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 92)

ASH, Ashwood (SJ 586 404)

(a)     Primary phase

Felling dates: Autumn 1549, Late spring 1550

Cruck blades 1530 (H/S), 1549 (16¼C); Cruck spur 1485; Joist 1529 (H/S); Purlin 1549 (15½C).  Site Master 1419-1619 ASHWOOD (t=10.9 YORKMED; 9.9 MASTERAL; 9.2 EASTMID)

(b)     Inserted hall floor

Felling date: Late spring 1620

Axial beam 1595 (30); Joist 1619 (24¼C).

Ashwood, Ash, was the first house in North Shropshire to be sampled in this project; it is hoped to establish a North Shropshire chronology for this area as more buildings are examined.  Ashwood is a farmhouse with a history of continuous occupation by one family of yeoman farmers. It is a freehold property and has never been sold. T-shaped in plan, the cross wing is a Victorian unit which replaced an earlier timber-framed structure, but the main part of the house consists of a two-bay cruck structure of 1550 with only one truss remaining; it has a type ‘G’ apex. The crucks rested on stylobates and had spurs connecting them to the wall plates, features not often found in Shropshire south of the Severn. The cruck range probably had a single-bay open hall when built. The 1620 date relates to an inserted ceiling, the spine beam of which has cyma stops with base rolls and is moulded on the soffit with a double hollow and central fillet, There may have been a lobby entry from the start; one was certainly provided later. The present owner has deeds from 1557 onwards, and it seems likely that the house was built by his ancestor, Henry Hughes, replacing what is described in the deed as a ‘cottage’ and providing a change of site for the family. It is hoped to include Ashwood in a forthcoming publication of the work of a Keele University extra-mural class. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1994, VA 25, list 56)

ASTLEY ABBOTS, Great Binnal (SO 702 968)

(a)     Main range

Felling dates: Winter 1458/9, Very early spring 1460, Spring 1460

Collars 1451 (34), 1458 (11C); V-strut 1459 (25¼C); Principal rafter 1459 (24¼C).  Site Master 1321-1529 GTBINNAL (t=10.1 SALOP95; 9.2 KINGPYON; 8.0 MASTERAL)

(b)     Inserted Hall ceiling

Felling date ranges: 1529-1554, 1507-1538 subsequently revised to 1530-1542

Transverse beam 1529 (20); Moulded strut 1506 (13).

Great Binnal, Astley Abbots, is a high-status hall-house dated to 1460 with a later inserted floor.  See expanded article in Individual Case Studies (Moran 1996, VA 27, 62-3). (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1996, VA 27, list 73)

ASTON BOTTERELL, The Bold (SO 624 848)

(a)     Hall range

Felling date range: 1320-1354 subsequently revised to 1320-1350

Rafter (re-used) 1254; Tiebeam 1315 (6); Crown post (0/1); Crown post braces (0/2); Collar purlin (0/1).  Site Master 1113-1315 THEBOLD1 (t=9.3 GTOXNBLD; 8.5 PLOWDEN1; 8.4 MASTERAL)

(b)     Decorative corbels

Felling date range: After 1509

Corbel ends (1/2) 1498.  Site Master 1407-1498 THEBOLD2 (t=5.5 MASTERAL; 5.5 NORTH; 5.5 CRESSETT)

The Bold, Aston Botterell, is a multi-phased complex, the oldest part dating to 1320-1354 (subsequently revised to 1320-1350) being a two-bay hall of base-cruck construction with a crown-post roof.  The hall is virtually square, with the screens passage treated as an independent half-bay and not as a sub-bay of the hall.  On the central truss the crown-post is a 10" square timber, each corner having a 4 inch chamfer terminating in run-off stops.  It straddles the tiebeam and supports the collar-purlin which has a tabled scarf with undersquinted abutments.  The lateral braces are plain and curved, and fit tightly into the angle of the crown-post and tiebeam.  The total length of the crown-post is three feet, of which only half is above the apex of the tiebeam, giving the impression of compact sturdy construction.  The base-crucks and their attendant arch-braces are largely obscured.  The crown-post above the dais is taller, quite plain, and has down-swinging laterals forming a concave arc.  The form of the spere truss can be reconstructed, and this incorporates braces which display slight cusping, thought to represent an early and isolated example of the genre in Shropshire.

The form of the coved canopy over the dais remains and the front is characterised by ten corbels set at irregular intervals and of varying dimensions, but each decorated with curved bands of quarter-round moulding.  A sample from one of these gave a terminus post quem of after 1509.  Both bays of the hall received a chequer-board ceiling, probably in the mid-16th century, which may be associated with the curious timber corbelling.  Similar moulding is present on the dais beam and on all the main components of the hall (Moran 1993, 72-92). (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part III)

ASTON EYRE, Hall Farm (SO 653 942)

(a)     Gatehouse

Felling date: 1341-1352

Joists (6/14) 1331 (2), 1335 (14), 1322 (H/S), 1311 (H/S), 1316, 1329. Site Master 1230-1335 ASTNEYR1 (t=7.9 ENGLAND; 7.4 OXON93; 7.2 SOUTH)

(b)     Solar

Felling date: 1469-1471

Joists (2/10) 1467 (12), 1467 (14+1-3NM). Site Master 1398-1467 ASTNEYR2 (t=6.6 MILKST1; 4.8 KITCHEN; 4.5 BLETCH)

(c)     Barn

Felling date: Winter 1612/13

(d)     Gatehouse extension

Felling date: 1596-1616

(c) Wall brace (1/2) 1612 (35C); Principal post 1551 (H/S); Tiebeam 1521 (H/S); Cill beam, studs, rail, infill board (0/5). (d) Floorboards (2/3) 1519, 1595 (20). Site Master 1357-1612 ASTNEYR3 (t=8.8 WALES97; 8.6 LEOMSTR2; 8.6 CRESSETT)

The complex at Hall Farm, Aston Eyre, was the subject of a Channel 4 ‘Time-Team’ programme broadcast in February 1998.  The stone-built gatehouse was adapted to serve as the farmhouse presumably when the hall was relegated to farm-building status.  Within the gatehouse the two large gateways remain and the estimated felling date range of 1341-52 was obtained from first and second-floor joists.  The gatehouse was extended by a box-framed unit in 1596-1616.  Of the hall itself, no original timber elements remain although it has clear evidence of a walk-in oriel window reaching to eaves level at the dais end and of tracery-headed windows with pierced cusping in the side walls.  Beyond the hall a curious junction between the solar cross wing and the hall makes the phasing relationship between the two blocks uncertain.  As with the hall, the roof to the solar has been reconstructed, but a series of massive lodged first floor joists remain.  Two of these gave a felling date range of 1469-71, but evidence for re-use on other joists make the interpretation of these dates difficult.  Alan de Charlton who married the heiress Margaret Fitz Aer probably built the present hall and gatehouse.  He died in 1349 in the Black Death; the manor passed to the Cressett family who may have added or altered the solar cross-wing (H E Forrest, The Old Houses of Wenlock (1915), 72-6).

A large timber-framed barn to the north side of the complex produced a felling date of 1612/13.  This building is of stud and panel construction in which all of the panels, right up to the top of the gable ends, were originally closed in with horizontal boarding let into grooves in the studs.  Dating commissioned by Diverse Productions Ltd. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 92)

ATTINGHAM, Home Farm (SJ 543 102)

Felling dates: Winter 1384/5 to Winter 1385/6

Common rafters 1384 (19C), 1385 (7C); Principal rafter 1385 (11C); Collar purlin 1384 (9½C); Tiebeam, tie/crown post brace (0/2).  Site Master 1311-1385 ATTNGHM1 (t=9.7 SALOP95; 8.1 UPWICH2; 7.9 WALES97)

Home Farm forms part of the National Trust Attingham Hall estate, and the brick exterior effectively conceals its earlier origins.  It retains a three-bay crown-post roof and some large flat-laid joists. The range containing the crown-post roof is probably a solar cross-wing to a vanished hall, as there is no smoke encrustation on the roof timbers.  The crown-posts are 6 feet high, plain and jowled to clasp the collar-purlin.  The longitudinal braces to the crown-posts are plain and curved, while the lateral braces start from near the head of the crown-post and down-swing in a concave arc to the cambered tiebeam, forming an ogee arch with the braces below the tiebeam.  It is similar to others in Shropshire and the dendro date of 1385/6 is near the centre of their date range of circa 1320 – 1404. Dating commissioned by Jeremy Milln on behalf of the National Trust. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 92)

BEDSTONE, Manor Farm (SO 368 756)

(a)     Hall & Solar

Felling dates: Summer 1448, Winter 1448/9

Cruck blade 1448 (16½C); Principal post 1447 (22); Principal rafter 1448 (14C); Purlin 1448 (37C); Queen strut 1448 (14C).  Site Master 1341-1560 BEDSTONE (t=11.2 NORTH; 10.6 MASTERAL; 10.0 ENGLAND)              

(b)     West cross-wing

Felling dates: Autumn 1560, Winter 1560/61

Purlin 1560 (25C); Rafters 1560 (23½C), 1560 (23C).

(c)     Hall ceiling

Felling date range: 1540-1574 subsequently revised to 1540-1570

Inserted joist 1529 (H/S).

Manor Farm, Bedstone, is H-shaped, and consists basically of a two-bay cruck-built hall flanked on one side by a contemporary box-framed solar cross-wing and on the other by a later cross-wing which probably replaced an original service end.  The crucks of the central truss dated to 1448 and measure nearly three feet at the elbow, and are moulded with a series of rolls and hollows.  The spurs are shaped like butterfly-hinges and the soffit of the collar has a fine ogee form.  Though less elaborate, the solar cross-wing is divided into six half-bays, two of the trusses having open arch-braced collar construction.  Fragments of wall-paintings were found in the solar.  The 1560/61 date relates to the lower-end cross-wing which includes cable-moulding and herring-bone work in its external features.  It also has an interesting trap-door arrangement in which joists could be removed to enable goods to be hoisted upstairs.  The joists are triangular in section and are not unlike those of the inserted chequer-board ceiling of the hall (VAG Conf. Prog. 1982, 28). (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part III)

BISHOP’S CASTLE, 8-10 Church Street (SO 324 885)

Felling dates: Winter 1506/7; Winter 1508/9

Arch braces 1508(12C), 1507(13); Purlin 1506(14C); Cruck (0/1). Site Master 1422-1508 BCSC (t = 8.2 MKTHLLBC; 7.9 MLAVER; 7.9 BRYNCAM)

Now restored to one house, this property is situated close to the church. Three cruck trusses remain from a probable five, originally comprising a two-bay open hall flanked by service and solar ends. The solar end has been replaced in box-framing, possibly as a result of damage during the Civil War. It has no spere truss or cross passage, entrance being directly into the lower bay of the hall. The central truss has crucks 7ins (18cm) thick with type B apexes, chamfered arch braces and cambered collars. There is no decoration or superfluous bracing, but just good basic carpentry. The date of 1509 is towards the end of the Shropshire cruck date range. Sampling commissioned jointly by the owner and the Shropshire Dendrochronology Project. (Miles and Bridge 2011, VA 42, list 240)

BISHOP’S CASTLE, High Street, ‘Old Market Hall’ (SO 324 889)

(a) In situ timbers Felling date: Winter 1618/19

(b) Ex situ timbers Felling date: after 1717

Tiebeams 1555, 1574; Queen strut 1544; Posts 1588(h/s), 1588(4), 1615(34); Transverse beam 1600(12); Ex situ block 1590(2); Queen post 1618(22C). Site Master 1447-1618 MKTHLLBC (t = 13.3 CLNGNFRD; 12.9 LYDBURY; 10.3 SALOP95); (b) Ex situ blocks 1680, 1703, 17062. Site Master 1596-1706 MHBC1123 (t = 6.4 PEMBGE_C; 6.3 CBMASQ02; 6.2 CHATHAM2).

Hitherto completely disguised and only revealed after a serious fire in 2000, this is an open rectangular building, 82 ft x 22 ft with 21 free-standing posts arranged in two aisles with a central arcade, seven posts in each row giving six double bays of even size. The first four bays from the street were floored over giving storage space above while the two end bays were open to the roof ridge. The carpentry, though not decorative, is very fine and the posts stand on pad-stones. It was probably Bishop’s Castle’s first covered market and the felling date of 1618 suggests that it was built for the then lord of the manor, the Earl of Northampton, Sir Robert Howard, perhaps by John Abel of Samesfield the celebrated carpenter who built the market nearby Church Stretton. Dating commissioned jointly by the South-West Shropshire Historical and Archaeological Society and the Shropshire Dendrochronology Project.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 205)

BISHOPS CASTLE, The Porch House, 33-5 High Street (SO 3234 8893)

Felling dates: Winter 1564/5 and Spring 1565

Principal posts 1564(21C, 42¼C); Studs (2/3) 1564(30C, 33C); Bressumer plate 1541(h/s).  Site Master 1416-1564 PORCHBC (t=10.8 WALES97; 10.0 SALOP95; 9.3 NORTH)

Porch House is L-shaped in plan, with a hall range and a cross-wing, but with an eccentric plan, having an unheated hall and a cross-passage at its upper end. A porch added to the main doorway on the east wall and extensions to the north-west have now given the building an off-square plan. The ground floor rear wall and the screen wall at the passage end of the hall use plank-and-muntin construction; the rest of the ground floor has close studding whilst the jettied first floor has square panels and diagonal bracing. The hall was lavishly decorated with wall paintings.  The roof trusses have been replaced with re-used oak timbers and pine braces. Dating commissioned by English Heritage in support of the Shropshire Dendrochronology Project. See Worthington, M J, and Miles, D W H  2000  The tree-ring dating of The Porch House, 33-5 High Street, Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire  AML Report 72/2000. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 109)

BITTERLEY , Upper Ledwyche (SO 554 793)

Felling dates: Winter 1460/61, Winter 1462/3, Summer 1463

Wall plate 1460 (18C); Rafter 1462 (18C); V-strut 1462 (12½C); Purlin (0/1); Principal rafter (0/1).  Site Master 1360-1462 LEDWYCHE (t=6.0 SEECHAM; 5.8 GIERTZ; 5.6 ENGLAND)

The inscribed date of 1860 on the farm buildings at Upper Ledwyche, Bitterley, indicates another example of the Rouse-Boughton family’s policy of creating model farms.  At this time the medieval timber-framed house was given a thorough face-lift, bricked over and raised to three stories. However, the 1463 roof of the main range remains intact and there is evidence that there was a contemporary cross-wing.  The main range may have been an administrative hall of some kind.  The roof is six-bayed and the posts have jowelled heads with battlemented ornament, similar in form to those at Moat House Longnor (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1993, 58).  Both houses have a roof rhythm of one tiebeam truss to two arch-braced collar-beam trusses, but at Upper Ledwyche there is less decoration and cusping is missing entirely. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1996, VA 27, list 73)

BOLAS MAGNA, Meeson Farm (SJ 654 207)

Felling dates: Winter 1502/3

Crucks 1502(17C), 1489(h/s); Collar 1502(12C); Purlin 1502(18C).  Site Master 1408-1502 MEESON2 (t=6.9 WALES97; 6.9 IGHTFELD; 6.8 CEFNCAR1)

The exterior of this house presents a very modern appearance with rendered walls are and modern fenestration, but one indication of an earlier origin is the presence of a cross-wing. Internally a cruck truss with 'A'-type apex forms a distinctive feature of the long range and this was clearly the central truss of a two-bayed hall, dated to 1502/3. It incorporates a ‘low beam’ (raised slightly from its original position) which has notched-lap halvings to the cruck blades.  The inserted ceiling is of good quality with broach stops employed at the ends of the beams and at their central intersection.  The rear of the inserted inglenook fireplace contains two early cupboards with carved doors. The house was recorded by the Whitchurch Buildings Recording Group, and the dating was commissioned by Mrs S Crow. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 109)

BOLAS MAGNA, Meeson Hall (SJ 658 207)

(a)     Main house

Felling dates: Spring 1635, Spring 1637

Principal rafter 1636 (24¼C); Purlins (1/6) 1634 (20¼C).  Site Master 1478-1643 MEESON (t=5.7 MASTERAL; 5.6 GOLDING; 5.5 OLDHLLFM)

(b)     Rear outbuildings

Felling date: Spring 1644

Purlin West range 1643 (18¼C); Transverse beam East range (0/1).

Meeson Hall, Bolas Magna, is a gentleman’s residence of three stories, triple-gabled and with a double-pile plan.  It is stone-built and has a symmetrical 3-bayed frontage.  Built by the Tayleur family, it is another rare instance where an inscribed date, in this case occurring on a carved overmantel, matches with the dendro date.  Two of the timbers were felled in 1635 and 1637, building probably took place in 1638 and the internal fittings were completed in 1639, the date inscribed.  In 1644 two timber-framed service/stabling wings were added at the rear, forming a square courtyard and completing the complex.  The house has an efficient drainage system, water being carried away from a channel in the cellar through a head-height tunnel to discharge on lower ground.  The dendrochronology was commissioned by the owner Mr A. Jones. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1996, VA 27, list 73)

BORASTON, Homeside (SO 615 699)

Felling dates: Winter 1457/8, Summer 1458

Crucks 1457(19C, 20C); Arch brace 1457(17½C); Collar 1449(17). Site Master 1352-1457 HOMESIDE (t = 6.5 LEONMSTR2; 6.5 FORESTR1; 6.0 ASTNEYR3)

A modern exterior conceals the remains of a two-bay cruck hall and solar end dated to 1458.The central hall truss is remarkable for an ogee arch cut into the collar beam, the arch braces forming the lower part of the curve. To differentiate the upper from the lower bay the ogee is taken to a higher point on the upper side. A profusion of pegs secure the mortice-and-tenon joints of the arch braces, although three pegs at each end of the collars were added for cosmetic reasons and are not functional. The heating sequence is remarkable: a louvre opening above the open hearth, then a smoke hood or ‘fumbrell’ set against the low side of the central truss, followed by a brick stack built, inside the fumbrell, which means the bricklayer must have worked from inside the chimney. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 128)

BRIDGNORTH, All Forces Club, 6 Bridge Street (SO 719 930)

Felling date range: 1392-1422

Crucks (1/2) 1386(h/s); Collar 1375(h/s); Purlins (1/2) 1386(6); Wall plate 1381(h/s).  Site Master 1290-1386 ALLFORCE (t=7.7 MASTERAL; 7.3 OWSTON1; 6.1 ODIHMPRY)

This building is the most distinctive in Low Town, set gable-end to the street very close to the Severn Bridge; it is possibly a merchant’s ware-house.  It is the only known building of full-cruck construction in the town (type ‘B’ apex).  Some of the timbers exhibit evidence of trestle-sawing.  The building has an ogee-headed doorway, and notched-laps are employed on the collar/cruck and spur/cruck joints.  The date of 1392-1422 fits well with the previously estimated date of 1350-1400.  Dating organised by Valerie Grose on behalf of the Bridgnorth Civic Society and the Bridgnorth Historical Research Group. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 109)

BRIDGNORTH, 15 Bridge Street (SO 718 931)

Felling date: Late spring 1506

Stud 1505(37½C); Post (0/1), Beams (0/2); Wall plate (0/1); Rail (0/1).  Site Master 1386-1505 bn3 (t=6.8 MASTERAL; 6.5 EASTMID; 6.4 SALOP95)

Disguised by its nineteenth-century exterior, this is thought to be an early fifteenth century  timber-framed building, jettied along two sides, with a dragon beam approximately 13 feet long. The jowled posts and projecting joists remain along The Cartway frontage.  The property has been re-roofed, but shows similarities to the Bodenham building in Ludlow and The Abbots House in Shrewsbury. It is likely to be one of the earliest surviving secular buildings in Bridgnorth and the date reported here (from a single sample) may originate from a replacement timber.  Dating commissioned as for 6 Bridge Street. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 109)

BUILDWAS, Abbots Lodgings, Buildwas Abbey (SJ 642 044)

(a)     East block (Abbots parlour), roof

Felling date: Spring 1377

Arch braces (2/4) 1376(18¼C, 22¼C).  Site Master 1311-1376 BUILDWS1 (t = 8.1 SALOP95; 7.4 PLOWDEN2; 6.8 PENTREH)

(b)     West block (Abbots hall), roof

Felling date: Winter 1547/8

Purlins 1526(h/s), 1529(h/s); Extension purlin to Abbots parlour roof 1547(25C); Principal rafter 1517(h/s); Strut 1523(h/s); Reset post 1518(h/s); Wall plate 1515(h/s). Site Master 1374-1547 BUILDWS2 (t = 10.6 SALOP95; 9.0 UPRLAKE; 9.0 WOLVERTN)

(c)     West block staircase

Felling date range: 1687-1717

String 1680(h/s); Newel post 1687(15). Site Master 1563-1687 BUILDWS3 (t = 8.0 MASTERAL; 7.0 SALOP95; 6.3 HILLHAL2)

The ruins of Buildwas Abbey sit on the banks of the river Severn. The church and remains of the claustral buildings are in the care of English Heritage. To the north-east of the guardianship area lies the grade I ‘Abbey House’. The west block encompasses the original abbot’s hall, the east block includes the abbot’s parlour. Both ranges were originally constructed in the 13th century and appear to be coeval.

The east block included a row of at least five trefoil-headed lights, and evidence of five mini-gables, with alternating trefoil and quatrefoil openings, in dormers not dissimilar to the 13th -century hall at Stokesay Castle. The original roof of five bays has been lost and was replaced by the present six-bay structure now dated to 1377. This is an excellent example of arch-braced construction, with a clasped purlin on each side, diminished principals, and cusped wind braces. The truss numbering is not sequential, but runs from west to east: I, II, IIII, III, VII, V, with the east end obscured (VI). The wind braces are also numbered, I–XII, from west to east on the north side, returning I–XII east to west on the south side. The sides of the arch braces are all chamfered, except for those in truss 2. Only these two arch braces could be dated, but there is no reason to think that they are not coeval with the rest of the frame.

The west block roof was replaced in 1547/8 with a four bays of two tiers of purlins and high collars. The ceiling at tiebeam level has been reset and now comprises a series of moulded beams and joists, possibly of the same period. The small staircase serving both ranges has splat balusters (felling date range 1687-1717). A number of possible 13th-century carved timbers are reused underneath the staircase, but were inaccessible at the time of sampling. Dating commissioned by English Heritage. D. Miles, ‘The Tree-Ring Dating at Abbey House, Buildwas Abbey, Shropshire’, CfA report 27/2002. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 128)

CARDINGTON, Shootrough (SO 490 964)

(a)     Main range

Felling dates: Spring 1422, Summer 1422

Collar 1421 (15½C); Purlin 1421 (10¼C); Cruck 1421 (16½C).  Site Master 1320-1421 SHOOTRPH  (t=8.0 NAGSHEAD; 6.2 CRESSETT; 6.1 MASTERAL)

(b)     Cross wing

Felling date: Spring 1609

V-strut 1608 (14¼C); Tiebeam 1538; Collar (0/1); Purlin (0/1); Principal post (0/1).  Site Master 1455-1608 shu7 (t=7.2 MILKST2; 7.0 bry2; 7.0 SALOP95)

Until recently Shootrough, Cardington, was a stock-rearing hill farm.  T-shaped in plan it consists of the remains of a two-bay cruck-built hall-house of 1422 and a later cross-wing of 1609 which partly occupies the site of the original solar.  The lie of the land and structural components in the end truss suggest that any third bay beyond the hall would have had a lower roof-line, and was probably a byre, and that the house functioned as a long-house.

The solar was approached from an ogee-headed door in the dais partition.  Well-carpentered in the ‘Condover’ tradition, the central cruck truss and arch-braces have full-length double-cavetto mouldings facing the dais end of the hall and a simpler quarter-round facing the service end.  A scarf-joint on the wall-plate is edge-halved, with bridle-butts and two edge-pegs.  There is some evidence for a spere-truss-type of partition within the lower bay of the hall.  The insertion of a chimney-stack between the hall bays created a lobby-entry plan at a later date, possibly when the cross-wing was added.

The three-bayed cross-wing dates to 1609 and is partly timber-framed, the two framed bays having close-studding divided by a middle rail.  One room was a parlour and this was extensively decorated with wall-paintings, including a serpent or dragon along the length of the tiebeam.  Above the parlour there is a jettied gable which has moulding of ovolo/chamfer-with-chevron/hollow form on the tiebeam.  Other wall-paintings occur on the dais partition of the hall.  The second room was a dairy and the third, which is probably a later addition, a kitchen.  The last mentioned is stone-built and contains a cast-iron cloam oven.  The infill of the framed partitions in the cross-wing consists of lath-and-plaster, the laths set vertically in the rectangular framing, horizontally in the square framing and diagonally between the V-struts, all tailored to fit the spaces exactly.  The dating was part-funded by the owners Michael and Jacqui Bond. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1996, VA 27, list 73)

CARDINGTON, The Barracks (SO 506 953)

Felling date: Winter 1425/6

Tiebeam 1396(2), 1425(25C); Wall plate 1414(6). Site Master 1315-1425 BARRACKS (t = 7.6 HIGHTOWN; 7.4 SALOP95; 6.7 OLDBRFA1)

This house is now T-shaped, the cross wing being a later addition or replacement. Two bays of a medieval hall with a crown-post roof are set gable-end to the street and a third bay was added later. The wall framing includes two large curved braces, cruck-like in appearance, set between the wall plate and posts. The crown posts are plain, rectangular, and clasp the collar purlin; they have cusped lateral braces. These trusses are typical of Shropshire crown posts, the date of 1425/6 putting them towards the end of the period of their use. Notable features are the notched-lap joints in the wall framing and roof collars. The wall plate contains an edge-halved scarf joint. The house is said to derive its name from the quartering of soldiers there in the Civil War, but, from its position close to the church, it is likely originally to have been the most important house in the village. Dating funded by the Marc Fitch Fund. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 128)

CHERRINGTON, Cherrington Manor (SJ 666 201)

Felling dates: Winter 1634/5 and Winter 1635/6

Stud 1634(28C); Fireplace bressumer 1635(49C); Beams 1539(+80-100 NM2); Floor boards 1605, 1596, 1509; Purlin (0/1).  Site Master 1386-1635 CHERGTN (t=10.9 SALOP95; 9.7 MASTERAL; 8.9 HANTS97)

Cherrington Manor is a box-framed farmhouse occupying an older moated site. It is tripled-gabled, of three-storeys including attics with a ‘lobby-entry’ plan.  The central stack has been cut through for access to a later staircase and to an added room at the rear. The two main ground-floor rooms are of unequal size; the larger(W) was clearly a parlour, while the other was a ‘houseplace’, later a kitchen.  The house, although self-contained, seems to represent an addition to a vanished older house. Two features in particular suggest this development: the jetty on the SW corner is of the ‘hewn’ variety, while that on the SE corner is conventional.  The framing on the front is a ‘magpie’ mixture of close-studding with a mid-rail on the ground floor, lozenge-within-lozenge to the second storey, and cusped and spiked lozenge work in  the gables.  It also uses double-curved S-braces. The central porch is an addition, probably of the 19th century.  The remains of an inscription on the front reads ‘---ARE  --OLOWING  --1635’, coinciding with the tree-ring date of 1635/6. One original window survives on the E side, and this has mullions with embryonic ovolo-mouldings. Dating commissioned by the owner, Mrs S Crow. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 109)

CHERRINGTON, Cherrington Manor, Demolished outbuilding (SJ 666 202)

Felling date range: 1537-1557

Re-used cruck blade 1536 (20) Site Master 1381-1536 cher1 (t=5.8 HANTS97; 5.7 HALSTON; 5.5 MASTERAL)

This re-used cruck blade was salvaged from a recently demolished outbuilding at Cherrington Manor.  This crude blade produced a date range of 1537-1557 and is a late example of the cruck building tradition in Shropshire.  It was sampled because at least three further cottages in the village employ crucks of similar form. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 92)

CHURCH STRETTON, All Stretton, Farm Lane, Roseleigh (SO 459 953)         

Felling date: Summer 1510

All timbers (4/9). Principal rafters 1481, 1509(13½C);  Post 1484(h/s); Tiebeam 1457. Site Master 1386-1509 ALLSTRET (t = 12.6 WALES97; 11.8 SALOP95; 10.9 GWYDWN)

The most striking thing about this property is the size of the timbers used. Huge tiebeams, cambered on the upper surface and the other timbers in proportion to this, make up a two-bay box-framed house with a side-purlin roof. Dating commissioned by a local architectural historian. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 192)

CHURCH STRETTON, The Buck’s Head, High Street (SO 453 936)

Felling date range: 1287-1321 subsequently revised to 1286-1316

Tiebeams (1/2) 1276 (1).  Site Master 1176-1277 bh1 (t=9.1 THEBOLD1; 7.4 PLOWDEN1; 6.9 EASTMID)

The Buck’s Head, Church Stretton, is a hostelry which borders the churchyard and the High Street.  It is an example of archetypal piecemeal development; the oldest unit, presumably a solar cross-wing of box-frame construction, yielded a felling date range of 1287-1321 (subsequently revised to 1286-1316).  The roof truss has a crown-post which is the earliest known in Shropshire so far, and is plain, unjowlled and is tenoned into the collar-purlin.  The lateral braces are typically Salopian, down-swinging onto the tie in a concave arc.  The unit was jettied, fitted with dragon ties at the corners and is still embellished with a carved six-petalled flower-head boss within the plane of the soffit of the tiebeam.  An oriel window, flanked by blank arch-braced panels, is conjectured from surviving evidence on the street-facing side.  The building formed part of the town inn of Sir John Boteville, a descendant of William Boteville, a forester.  John was known as ‘John o’ th’inn’ which became corrupted to ‘Thynne’.  It was John's great-grandson who built Longleat, currently occupied by his descendant, the Earl of Bath.  Longleat's hall, it will be remembered, is adorned with buck's heads and the family crest is a reindeer or (gold reindeer).  Another branch of the Botville family became pioneers in ironfounding during the industrial revolution which was centred in Colebrookdale. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part III)

CLAVERLEY, High Grosvenor (SO 771 936)

(a)     Primary phase - Hall

Felling dates: Late spring 1375, Late spring 1377

Arcade plate 1374 (12¼C); Base cruck 1376 (17¼C); Collar 1291; Rafter 1290.  Site Master 1115-1376 HGROVNR4 (t=7.2 MASTERAL; 6.9 SIDDNGTN; 6.2 UPWICH2)

(b)     Inserted hall floor

Felling date range: 1567-1601 subsequently revised to 1558-1588

Lower tie (0/1); Main beam 1523; Secondary beam 1556 (9).  Site Master 1442-1590 HGROVNR9 (t=9.9 MASTERAL; 8.4 GIERTZ; 8.0 OXON93)

(c)     Cross wing

Felling date ranges: After 1589, 1601

Axial beam (0/1); Studs (2/3) 1579, 1590.

High Grosvenor, Claverley, is another base-cruck hall with crown-post roof construction, which has been dated to 1377.  Here the lateral braces to the crown post are of a cranked convex form and the cranked theme extends to the double tier of windbraces. The sequence of smoke-extraction can be traced from the open-hearth, with smoke louvre position still evident, through provision of a smoke bay up to the insertion of a large stone chimney stack. This is matched exactly at Wolverton, in Eaton-under-Heywood parish (See M. Moran,  ‘Two Early Timber-framed Hall-Houses in Shropshire’,Trans Shrop ArchaeolSoc 68 (1993), 79-92). The 1567-1601 (subsequently revised to 1558-1588) date relates to the insertion of a good-quality chequer-board ceiling in the upper bay of the hall, again similar to that at Wolverton but not as elaborate. At High Grosvenor each joist is chamfered and stopped as are the spine-beams, which have diminished haunched joints with either square or mitred soffit shoulders depending on their position in the room. After 1600 the old service end was demolished and replaced with a prestigious box-framed and jettied parlour wing with the jetty continued on all four sides. Some wall painting remains in the parlour, a free-flowing pattern of foliage with fruit, seed-heads, a lovers' knot and guilloche-type banding. (Paper by M. Moran forthcoming.) (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1994, VA 25, list 56)

CLUN, Bryn Cambric, Chapel Lawns (SO 316 758)

Felling dates / ranges: Winter 1499/1500 to Summer 1501; 1511-1541

Purlins 1500(31¼C, 38½C), 1499(18), 1481(5); Crucks (5/6) 1500(29C), 1499(21C), 1493(3), 1478, 1477(1); Packing piece 1500(h/s); Collar (0/1).  Site Master 1371-1500 BRYNCAM (t = 10.7 BAYTON; 10.1 GWYYDWN; 9.4 WALES97)

Bryn Cambric, an isolated upland farmhouse, is a four-bayed cruck-built hall house aligned down slope and possibly a longhouse. The roof has double purlins with a ridge beam.  Three cruck trusses survive; the southernmost truss is made of two halved timbers from the same tree, with sawmarks visible on the north face and a tenoned collar.  The other two trusses are made of boxed heart crucks and are more irregular.  One had a tenoned and the other a halved collar. Two crucks have a type ‘A’ apex, and a third with type ‘B’ apex.  One question to be answered by the tree-ring dating was whether all three crucks were contemporary - although the evidence is not conclusive, the dendrochronology suggests that all cruck trusses date to 1500 - 1501, although a packing piece must have been inserted slightly later (1511-1541). Dating commissioned by English Heritage. M J Worthington and D W H Miles, ‘The Tree-ring Dating of Bryn Cambric, Chapel Lawns, Shropshire’, CfA report 92/2003. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 142)

CLUN, Lower Spoad Farm (SO 257 820), Inserted carved mantel-beam      

Felling date: Summer 1546

Carved mantelbeam 1545(27½C).  Site Master 1460-1545 spoad1 (t = 6.1 CLNGNFRD; 5.8 WALES97; 5.7 FULWAY)

This house contains two cruck units set at right-angles, a house and either a byre or a barn. The most interesting feature is the beam forming the lintel of the inserted hall fireplace.  This is carved with a hunting scene showing a doe shot with an arrow, a stag and ten hounds. Lower Spoad is the boldest example, but comparable carvings occur on the communion rail at Llanfair Waterdine church, a cupboard front now at Cotehele in Cornwall (Riall and Hunt in prep), and mantel-beams at Gwernfyda, Llanllugan and Llwynmelyn, Trewern, Montgomeryshire; Green farm, Winnington, Wollaston, Shropshire.  In all cases a Welsh influence may be detected (P. Smith, Houses of the Welsh Countryside, 2nd ed. HMSO (1988), 258a, b; C. S. Sykes, Ancient English Houses 1240-1612, Chatto & Windus (1988), 84, 85; N. Hills, The English Fireplace, Quiller Press, (1983), 28). Dating commissioned by Nicholas Riall who is researching renaissance carvings in early Tudor England, at the University of Wales, Swansea. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 142)

CLUN, Timber Croft, Pentre Hodre, Chapel Lawn (SO 326 768)

Felling dates: Spring 1461, Winter 1464/5, and Winter 1465/6

Crucks 1460(31¼C), 1420; Stud 1464(31C); Tiebeam 1430(h/s); Purlins 1464(23C, 28C, 36C).  Site Master 1189-1465 PENTREH (t=10.9 SALOP95; 8.5 TYMAWR1; 8.5 WALES97)

‘Timber Croft’ is an upland isolated farmhouse, derelict in 1990 but now restored.  It contains the remains of a two-bay open hall of cruck construction in which the central truss has a ‘low’ or mantel-beam (VA 26, (1995), 33-38).  This beam is chamfered on both sides, whereas the king-strut above is chamfered and stopped on only the upper face.  A ‘hewing’ mark is present on one of the cruck blades of the truss.  The blades are substantial, measuring nearly two feet (0.61m) at the elbow, but are straighter than the majority of Shropshire crucks.  One bay of the hall was destroyed some time after insertion of a large stone-built chimney stack against the central truss. The present stone walls post-date the crucks.  Dating commissioned by English Heritage in support of the Shropshire Dendrochronology Project, see Worthington, M J, and Miles, D W H 2001  The Tree-Ring Dating of the Timber Croft, Pentre Hodre, Clun, Shropshire, Centre for Archaeol Rep, 58/2001. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 109)

CLUNBURY, Dutch Cottage (SO 371 807)

Felling date range (OxCal modelled): 1560-72 (unrefined 1560-80)

All timbers (7/10) Principal rafter 1530(5); Post 1534(H/S); Mid-rail 1539(H/S); Purlins 1505+c41(H/S), 1540(H/S); Ties 1546(H/S), 1549(H/S). Site Master 1424-1539 DUTCHCOT (t = 14.1 CLNGNFRD; 12.1 SALOP95; 11.6 BRYNCAM)

The two-bay box-framed house originated as an open hall and parlour, with all three trusses remaining, and with a large chimney-stack in an added half bay beyond the hall, of similar form to the main side-purlin roof. A later roof now extends to the west of this old truss.  One wall of the parlour is decorated with acanthus leaves in black distemper on plaster. Dating partly commissioned by the owner. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 180)

CLUNBURY, Holland House (SO 370 806), One rafter pair           

Felling date: Winter 1595/6

   All timbers (2/9):  Principal rafters 1570(3), 1595(28C). Site Master  1483-1595 chh1a2m (t = 6.9 WIGALL46; 5.7 CGFB; 4.7 CGFD)

The three primary bays comprise a floored hall, service bay and parlour wing, with a fourth bay added at the north end. The framing is of simple square panelling, three panels from sill to wallplate, with a long straight tension brace to the southern front corner. The house has been stylistically dated to c. 1640-50, so the dated rafter pair may be re-used.  Dating partly commissioned by the owner. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 180)

CLUNBURY, Llan Farm House, Twitchen (SO 352 793) 

Felling dates: Spring and Summer 1739; Spring 1740; Winter 1740/41

Transverse beams 1740(27C), 1739(40¼C, 39¼C, 34¼C), 1738(30½C), 1712(5); doorstud 1738(26¼C); Principal rafter 1730(26). Site Master 1544-1740 LLANFMHS (t = 8.8 CLUNBY3; 6.3 WALES97; 6.3 HANTS02)

An isolated upland farmhouse of three bays with end stacks. The house is stone-built in uncoursed limestone rubble but has timber-framed partitions. Because the land slopes, the two bays to the west are three-storied while the eastern bay containing the house-place and staircase is two-storied. It seems clear that the lower level accommodated animals. An extra-wide doorway gives access at ground level and then an internal flight of stone steps leads up to the house-place. Thus the house functioned as a longhouse variant. Each roof truss has a tiebeam and two collars, but no windbraces. Description by Madge Moran; dating supported by the owner. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 192)

CLUNBURY, Yews Cottage (SO 371 805) 

Felling date: Winter 1646/7

All timbers (4/8) Sill 1627(8); Rails 1616(+19NM), 1645(7); Strut 1646(25C). Site Master  1540-1646 YEWSCOT (t = 12.7 CGFB; 9.4 STOKE5; 8.4 E.MIDLANDS)

Yews Cottage comprises a front brick-built range of possible mid-19th century origin, with a timber-framed rear range. This rear range is jettied, and continues as Jasmine Cottage, and it was this part of the building that was of interest to this study. The range is listed as three or four bays long, and of late-16th or early 17th century, with a suggestion that the eaves had been raised. The frame has now been exposed, showing that this is not the case, and that a decorative rail caused this confusion. The bressumer beam of the narrow jetty has a double ovolo and quirk moulding and the studs above it have complex assembly marks. The roof of this range has large principal rafters with empty trenches for purlins, and small struts from the tie. Dating partly commissioned by the owner. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 180)

CLUNGUNFORD, Abcott Manor (SO 392 787)

(a)     Hall range

Felling date: Spring 1541

(b)     Cross wing

Felling dates: Spring 1543, Summer 1546, Spring 1546 - Summer 1547

(a) Collar 1540(22¼C); Purlin 1508; Principal post (0/1). (b) Rafters 1542(24¼C), 1545(16½C); Principal rafter 1541(9+c9¼C); Ridge 1545(23½C). Site Master 1422-1545 CGFA (t = 12.7 SALOP95; 11.1 NORTH; 11.1 MASTERAL)

Abcott Manor is a complex building of several phases. The first phase is a hall range of 1541, and the second a wing dated to 1546-7. It has the remains of a star-shaped stack at one end but, as there is evidence for a smoke louvre in the roof, the stack presumably post-dates the original building. The small differences in date between hall and wing suggests they were part of an extended building programme. Both ranges have soot-encrusted roof timbers. They were framed independently, as evidenced by the two large sill beams (not suitable for sampling). The third phase (added to the wing) comprises a timber-framed parlour block with a cellar, elaborate plasterwork in the upper chamber, and a large external stone stack with twin, ribbed, brick shafts joined by open zigzag brickwork. The parlour block was not sampled but can be dated stylistically to c.1620-30. Finally, hall and cross wing were brick-cased in a variety of bonds. Abcott was one of the possessions of the powerful Prynce family of Whitehall, Shrewsbury (Owen & Blakeway, History of Shrewsbury 2 (1825), 140). (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 128)

CLUNGUNFORD, Church Farm (SO 395 786), Cross wing

Felling date: Summer 1598

V-Strut 1597(26½C); Longitudinal beams 1595(35), 1597(33). Site Master 1443-1597 CGFD (t = 9.6 WALES97; 9.2 CRAWLEY2; 9.1 CGFB)

This building stands opposite the church and comprises a hall and three-bay cross wing. Only the latter was dated, to 1598. The trusses have typical V-struts in the apex, and the ground-floor ceiling comprises heavily-chamfered twin longitudinal beams which, with the transverse beam, divide the ceiling into square panels. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 128)

CLUNGUNFORD, Bird-in-the-Rock Tea Rooms (SO 392 786)

Felling date: Winter 1653/4

Principal post 1596(57C); Stud (0/1); Rails (0/2). Site Master 1471-1653 cgfc1 (t = 6.1 YORKS2; 5.3 NORTH; 5.0 WALES97)

Formerly named the Rocke Arms, this boxed-framed building is of two storeys. Surviving wall framing is of small square panel variety. Two rails sampled clearly originated from the same tree, but failed to date. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 128)

CLUNGUNFORD, Church of St Cuthbert (SO 394 787)

(a)     Chancel roof

Felling date: Winter 1328/9

(b)     Nave roof

Felling date: Winter 1338/9

(a) Rafters 1236, 1285(h/s), 1294(h/s), 1305(h/s), 1325(32), 1328(40C). (b) Arch braces (4/5) 1301(h/s), 1304(h/s), 1333(36), 1338(41C); Rafter (0/1). Site Master 1120-1338 STCTHBRT (t = 14.9 STOKE2; 13.0 PLOWDEN1; 10.3 STOKE1)

(c)     North vestry roof

Felling date range: 1513-17

Principal rafter 1489(h/s+26±2C NM). Site Master 1378-1489 scc17 (t = 7.2 CALLGHTN; 6.0 GIERTZ; 5.8 SALOP95)

The church of St Cuthbert consists of a large nave with a chancel to the east, a side chapel to the north of the chancel, and a tower dating to 1895 to the north of the nave. D. H. S. Cranage (An Architectural Account of the Churches of Shropshire, 5 (Wellington: 1901), 389-94) proposed a 13th-century date for the stonework of the nave and north vestry chapel, one between 1305-15 for the chancel including the roof, and a similar 14th-century date for the nave roof. Both nave and chancel have waggon roofs, with arch braces meeting in slightly pointed arches. Internally, both roofs have cornices with scroll moulding above, and the undersides of the arch braces are boarded. It was not possible to determine accurately the configuration of the lower braces from the inner wall plate to the rafters. The chancel has a central wall plate set in from the outer face of the wall, as visible in the north vestry chapel, while the nave has an external wall plate more in line with the outer ends of the sole pieces. The arch-braced rafter couples of the chancel originally extended to the outer faces of the east and west walls, the timbers from the east face being in situ until their replacement in stone in about 1895.

The few precise felling dates obtained pose problems. Cranage interpreted the stonework of the nave as 13th century, predating the early 14th-century chancel stonework, although he thought that the nave roof had been replaced in the 14th century. The felling dates of 1328/9 for the chancel and 1338/9 for the nave support Cranage’s view that the roofs are 14th century, but the dendrochronology clearly suggests that the chancel roof predates the nave. This is supported architecturally by two pieces of evidence: first the existence of a buttress on the south-west corner of the chancel abutting the south-east corner of the nave; logic would suggest that if the chancel was constructed against an existing nave, then a buttress at the junction would be superfluous. Secondly, the westernmost rafter-couple of the chancel, now enclosed by the nave roof, is heavily weathered. Clearly this could not have occurred if the nave roof was earlier than the chancel. Furthermore, the degree of weathering is much greater than would be expected during a single decade. In some places, the arrises of the timbers have been eroded back 5-10mm, degradation which would generally take 25 years or more, even in an exposed western position. Therefore, either the weathered chancel rafter-couple was constructed of second-hand timbers (unlikely given its exposed situation), or the nave roof was constructed later, perhaps after 1350, using stock-piled timbers. This hypothesis is indirectly supported by the dendrochronology. The chancel roof is mainly constructed from a homogenous group of timbers from a slow-grown forest situation; the arch braces from the nave (the only timbers dated) are predominantly from young, fast-grown trees. Furthermore, the condition of the sapwood on the arch braces suggest a degree of degradation consistent with stock-piling. Thus, while the nave roof was certainly not constructed earlier than 1339, it might well have been built sometime after 1350.

Although the stonework of the north vestry chapel is thought to date from the 13th century, Cranage considered the roof to be an excellent example of the Perpendicular style. This is a lean-to roof of three bays with two intermediate principal rafters laid on top of the rafters of the chancel. Several of the timbers have double ogee chamfers, and there are three rows of wind braces forming quatrefoils. The lowest portion of the roof is coved and panelled. The dating of 1513-17 lies just within the date range of 1370 to 1520 predicted by Cranage. M. J. Worthington and D. W. H. Miles, ‘The Tree-Ring Dating of the Church of St Cuthbert, Clungunford, Shropshire’, Centre for Archaeol Rep 81/2001. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 128)

CLUNGUNFORD, Clungunford Farm (SO 397 787)

(a)     Cross wing

Felling date: Winter 1591/2

(b)     Hall range

Felling dates: Winter 1627/8, Winter 1628/9 Spring 1628 - Spring 1629

(a) Stud 1559(h/s+25C NM); Principal post 1591(63C). (b) Principal post 1628(58C); Tiebeam 1627(23C); Door post 1621(15+ c 6¼C); Rail 1610(2+ c 15¼C); Principal rafter 1617(14). Site Master 1273-1628 CGFB (t = 9.8 BEDSTONE; 9.7 SALOP95; 9.6 GIERTZ)

This H-shaped farmhouse stands on a down-hill site. Externally the only visible framing is on the north wing, dated 1591/2, which has plain square framing with V-struts in the gable. It is jettied, with joists tenoned into the back of the bressumer and boarded underneath; the upper post is tenoned into both bressumer and girding beam (the ‘Clun Valley’ jetty type). The wing contains a labelled cheese-room. The 1629 hall roof has interrupted tiebeams and doorways between the trusses. It is notable for a post containing over 355 rings, one of the longest-lived trees found in this part of the country. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 128)

CLUNGUNFORD, Rowton Grange (SO 409 802)

(a)     Hall range

Felling dates: Summer 1571, Winter 1571/2

(b)     Cross wing

Felling dates: Winter 1596/7, Summer 1598

(a) Purlin 1570(28½C); Tiebeam 1571(25C). (b) Stud 1596(35C); Purlin 1597(23½C); Rafter (0/1). Site Master 1407-1597 CGFE (t = 9.8 WALES97; 8.8 SALOP95; 8.2 NORTH)

This is at present a U-shaped farmhouse, but remodelling has obscured its origins. The hall of 1571/2 has great cambered tiebeams. A wide cross passage suggests that the house had longhouse origins. The cross wing of 1598 has smoke blackening in both bays. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 128)

CLUNGUNFORD, Sycamore Cottage (SO 397 788)

Felling date: Winter 1652/3

Principal posts 1622(h/s), 1652(31C). Site Master 1435-1652 CGFF (t = 7.8 ALCASTON; 6.9 NORTH; 7.8 WALES97)

Formerly called Sycamore House, this now comprises an original centre bay with later reconstructed bays at either end. The centre section has also had the roof raised, incorporating the earlier roof trusses within the new loft area. Little wall framing survives, but the two rear principal posts provided sequences of over 200 years, giving a felling date of 1652/3. Dating commissioned by Mr Brian Taylor. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 128)

CONDOVER, Condover Court (SJ 495 060)

Felling dates: Spring 1442, Spring 1443, Spring 1445

Cruck blades (1/2) 1441 (11¼C); Purlins 1444 (16¼C), 1444 (18¼C), 1442 (26¼C).  Site Master 1318-1444  CONDOVER (t=7.8 EASTMID; 6.3 37BSBOAT; 6.0 UPWICH2)

Condover Court, formerly known as ‘The Small House’ is, perhaps, the archetypal pre-Reformation copyhold house in the area, albeit the largest.  It may have served as the home farm to the manor, which would explain its name.  The Gosnell family were prominent copyholders in Condover from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries and Gosnells occupied The Small House for many years.  A T-shaped structure, it consists of a hall and service range containing four pairs of crucks and a contemporary solar cross-wing in box-framing.  There is no spere truss or clearly-defined screens passage; entrance is straight into the lower bay of the hall.  Two service bays are provided, and over these, there is a single tier of plain curved windbraces.  The central truss is very well carpentered, but perfectly plain; the decoration in both the hall and the cross wing is confined to the cusping of the windbraces, of which the hall has a double tier. The smoke louvre is framed into the roof structure on the upper side of the open truss, the inserted fireplace perpetuating the position of the open hearth, while a secondary ‘planted on’ louvre position was noted just inside the lower end of the hall.  See: The Victoria History of the Counties of England, Shropshire, Vol. 8 (1968), 33, 37, 47. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1993, VA 24, list 54)

COUND, Fulway Cottage (SJ 553 036)

(a)     Primary phase

Felling dates: Late spring 1603, Summer 1603

Studs (4/5) 1533, 1573 (+27NM), 1602 (24¼C), 1603 (18½C).  Site Master 1397-1639 FULWAY (t=8.7 GOLDING; 8.6 MASTERAL; 7.4 OXON93)

(b)     Inserted floor

Felling dates: Summer 1639

Axial beam 1639 (17½C).

Fulway Cottage, Cound, is a small single-cell open-hall house,with walls of continuous uprights forming very close studding. It was thought to be of medieval date, but is now shown through dendrochronology to be of 1603. Its original function is still not known, but it received an inserted ceiling in 1639; this may have been when another One-up, one-down cottage was added. The latter is in square framing, two panels high. (See VAG Conference Programme 1982, 11.) (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1994, VA 25, list 56)

COUND, Golding Hall (SJ 544 035)

(a)     Main range

Felling dates: Winter 1659/60, Late spring 1660

Corner posts 1658 (45), 1659 (42C); Principal post 1659 (44¼C); Rail 1659 (31¼C); Stud (0/1).  Site Master 1491-1666 GOLDING (t=9.6 MASTERAL; 8.1 OXON93; 8.0 EASTMID)

(b)     Cross wing

Felling dates: Summer 1666

Principal rafter 1666 (27½C).

Golding Hall, Cound, is a fine brick farmhouse with a symmetrical front, but recently a close-studded timber frame has been uncovered, and this encompasses the east wing and the hall area. When built in 1660 the house had a hewn jetty which was carried around the end of the hall range, and a lobby entry. It appears that almost as soon as it was finished it was decided to add a prestigious brick-built parlour wing on the western side. This has a date stone of 1668 which accords well with the felling date of 1666 for a roof timber.  Later the framed units were cased in brick and the whole house given symmetrical front and back elevations. Thomas Langley, a wealthy barrister and a freeman of Shrewsbury, was responsible for the addition of the parlour wing, but his father Edward must have commissioned the earlier units.Many members of the family were lawyers and held Golding until 1820. (See VAG Conference Programme 1982 and Trans Shrop Archaeol Soc 4th series 8, 1920-1, 78-82.) (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1994, VA 25, list 56)

DITTON PRIORS, Botwood stable (SO 607893)  

Felling date range: 1681-92

Cross beam 1651(h/s+29 NM); Purlins (0/2). Site Master 1572-1651 dps25 (t= 6.6 PEGGS; 5.5 BROOKGT; 5.4 DITTONPR)

Botwood farmhouse is built of local dhustone, a hard carboniferous black basalt used in virtually all the stone buildings in the village. It was originally a two-up, two-down with an end baffle entry and has a good oak winding staircase and a similar one in stone for the cellar. Timbers in the house proved undatable, but cores were taken from a stable, which stylistically matches the earliest phase of the house. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 155)

DITTON PRIORS, Botwood barn (SO 607893)     

Felling date: Spring 1477

Crucks 1456(h/s), 1476(17¼C); Brace 1469(h/s); Collar (0/1). Site Master 1350-1476 DITTON3 (t= 7.7 ASTNEYRE3; 7.4 MOATHSE1; 7.2 CRESSETT)

An outbuilding at Botwood contains the remains of two cruck trusses, one of which has arch braces. The crucks dated to 1477 and may have formed part of a two-bay open hall. These were the only crucks found in Ditton Priors. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 155)

DITTON PRIORS, Chapel Cottage (SO 605 889) 

Felling date ranges: 1553-78; 1560-85

Principal rafters 1537(h/s+14NM), 1538(1+14 NM); Brace 1544(h/s+15 NM). Site Master 1404-1544 DITTON2 (t= 8.6 WALES97; 8.5 PENIARTH; 7.7 CLUNBY)

Two original timber-framed cottages, later encased in dhustone (now one house). At the west end is evidence for a crogloft, identifiable from the bevelled edges of the former door posts. There are two corner fireplaces and other features include plank and muntin doors, a bread oven, a stepped cyma stop on a spine beam, a pyramid and lamb’s tongue stop in the end room, and a mitred soffit shoulder joint on a ceiling beam. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 155)

DITTON PRIORS, Church Farm (SO 605 893)     

Felling date: Winter 1578/9

Purlins 1542(2+30 NM), 1578(32C); Tiebeam 1553(h/s); Longitudinal beam 1560(18); Transverse beam 1559(h/s); Collar 1514(+14 NM to h/s); Principal rafter 1554(h/s); Wall post (0/1). Site Master 1437-1578 DITTON5 (t= 11.9 WALES97; 9.3 WHITNGTN; 9.1 NORTH)

It is likely that this was the original manor house as it stands on an ‘island’ site which until the nineteenth century contained only three buildings – the church, the vicarage and this house, thus fulfilling the saying that on such sites are found ‘God’s house, the lord’s house and the priest’s house’. The house was timber framed but is now encased in dhustone. It has the remains of a wall painting which once filled the whole of the first-floor solar; the bold scroll design is found in many Shropshire farmhouses (K. Baird, ‘An overview of secular wall paintings….in the Welsh Marshes’, VA 34 (2003), 59, 61). The eastern end of the house was formerly an open hall ceiled in the mid seventeenth century; the western end was a two-storied structure from its inception. The date of 1578 suggests that the house was built by Humphrey Pakington, the grandson of the Humphrey Pakington who bought the manor after the Dissolution. The island probably existed much earlier, so it is likely that an earlier dwelling stood on the site. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 155)

DITTON PRIORS, The Hall Farm (SO 605 888)   

Felling date: Summer 1627

Principal rafters 1622(17¼C+1-5NM), 1626(26½C). Site Master 1554-1626 DITTON1 (t= 6.1 WALES97; 5.8 STOKE5; 5.2 NORTH)

Now a farmhouse built from local dhustone, this house was owned by the lords of the manor at the end of the seventeenth century. Catherine Barker, (d.1700), extended the house in 1693 (evidence from an eroded sandstone plaque). Her work included a staircase with splat balusters and two attics, and the addition of a partially subterranean dairy typical of the larger farmhouses in the parish. An inventory of 1704 describes the layout, which has changed little. The attics, which contain much reused timber, were for male and female servants and were self-contained. Features include two wall paintings, plank and muntin doors with pin and thimble hinges, and lamb’s tongue stops to the beams. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 155)

DITTON PRIORS, The Orchards (SO 606 889)    

Felling date: Spring 1761

Principal rafters (1/2) 1760(16¼C), Cross beam (0/1). Site Master 1689-1760 dps83 (t= 5.7 DETTON2; 5.3 MAMBLE_C; 4.7 NORTH)

In the nineteenth century this dhustone farmhouse was part of a larger complex known as Ditton Farm, the demesne farm of the manor. It has a partially subterranean dairy, and a detached kitchen. The original entry faced the road but was later blocked and replaced by a new door at the rear. Features include a cruck-like apex to a main roof truss and a planked fruitwood door. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 155)

DITTON PRIORS, Middleton Priors, Home Farm (SO 624 904) 

Felling date: Spring 1612

Ceiling beams 1595(1), 1611(24¼C); Sole plate 1577(h/s). Site Master 1315-1611 DITTON4 (t= 8.6 EASTMID; 8.3 HANTS02; 8.2 BROOKGT)

Home Farm is totally encased in the larger Middleton Lodge (a stone-built three-storey house). It was probably a service unit for an earlier house. It retains some timber framing internally with lath-and-plaster infilling. Two large spine beams are chamfered with stepped stops. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 155)

DITTON PRIORS, Middleton Priors, Hyde Farm (SO 625 902)

          Felling date: Winter 1547/8

Principal rafters 1525(h/s), 1530(2), 1532(h/s), 1547(24C); Purlin 1534(h/s). Site Master 1442-1547 DITTON6 (t= 9.2 NORTH; 9.1 SALOP95; 8.3 BUILSWS2)

Box-framed throughout in square framing, three panels high, this four-bay house is single-storied with two dormer windows. It has a large central chimney stack with star-shaped shafts which  bears the crest of the Canning family, lords of the manor in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The west room has a remarkable ceiling, chequer-boarded and moulded in a similar manner to that at Wolverton in Eaton-under-Heywood parish, with which there were family connections (Vernacular Buildings of Shropshire, 70, 311, and passim). (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 155)

DONINGTON, Humphreston Hall (SJ 819 051)

(a)     Main range

Felling date: Winter 1471/2

Intermediate posts 1435 (h/s), 1471 (10C); Principal posts 1450 (h/s), 1468 (17).  Site Master 1385-1471 hh1+4 (t= 8.5 MC16; 8.5 NORTH; 7.9 SALOP95)

(b)     West Wing

Felling dates: Winter 1475/6, Spring 1476

Tiebeams 1444 (h/s), 1475 (17C); Axial beam 1475 (18¼C); Principal post (0/1); Stud (0/1); Girt (0/1).

(c)     Rebuilt end of West Wing

Felling date: Spring 1499

V-strut 1498 (17¼C); Queen strut 1479 (h/s). Site Master 1419-1498 hh16+17 (t= 6.0 OLDFIELD; 5.6 SALOP95; 5.2 MASTERAL)

(d)     East Wing

Tiebeams; V-strut; stud; joist (0/5)

Humphreston Hall, Donington, is a large multi-phased timber-framed house with a central core and two wings.  The main block dates to 1471/2 and is of four bays, the southern end being jettied and encompassing a first floor hall or chamber with original side stack.  The first bay of the west wing is also floored, and dates to 1476.  An interesting feature is a stud with a squint cut in it looking down into the next bay which was probably a kitchen.  This is a double bay with an open tiebeam and collar truss with inclined struts.  Structurally, the western two bays encompassing the kitchen are awkwardly joined to the previous bay, and dendrochronology has shown that some of the timbers in this section are re-used whilst others date from 1499, suggesting a reconstruction of the kitchen at this date.  That this end had been used even after this reconstruction as an open kitchen is evidenced by the substantial deposits of soot on the timberwork.  The east wing of the house is structurally similar to the other two phases dating from the 1470’s, but none of the samples from this end dated.  The section seemed to provide a screens passage with three door openings having four-centred door heads to the centre block, the middle of which gave access to a passage running through to the west wing.  Beyond the floored cross-passage and the richly moulded spere-truss was a two-bayed hall with evidence for a louvre, but with little smoke blackening, suggesting that at that point in time the comfort of the first floor chamber was preferred.  The hall was soon afterwards floored over in the sixteenth century.  The dating was commissioned by Arrol & Snell on behalf of the owners, Messrs Eaton, all of which have defaulted in paying. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1996, VA 27, list 73)

EASTHOPE Cottage Farm (SO 565 953)

(a)     Hall

Felling dates: Winter 1429/1430, Late spring 1430, Late summer 1430, Late spring 1431

Aisle tie 1429 (14C); Arcade brace 1396 (1); Arcade plate 1429 (22¼C); Rafter 1430 (14¼C); Tiebeam 1430 (12½C).  Site Master 1308-1454 EASTHOPE (t=8.1 MASTERAL; 6.9 CRESSETT; 6.5 SENGLAND)

(b)        Cross wing

Felling dates: Late summer 1448, Late summer 1449, Late summer 1452, Late summer 1454

Collar 1452 (17½C); Purlin 1404 (H/S); Tiebeam 1448 (15½C); Transverse beam 1449 (8½C); Wall plate 1454 (14½C).

Cottage Farm, Easthope, is currently used as a farm store and is sited some distance from the present farmhouse. In many ways the hall is similar to Upton Cressett inasmuch as the roof is of crown-post construction with two aisled trusses remaining, both dating from 1431. Both the halls, however, have been truncated, leaving no evidence as to whether they were fully aisled or of base-cruck construction.  At Easthope one of the aisled trusses is clearly a spere truss and the other is a lower-end hall truss. The latter has an unusual feature in the form of a central continuous post between sill beam and tiebeam. The spere truss incorporates a low beam, above which is a central post with side-to-side dowel holes which could relate to a method of louvre control.  (See N. W. Alcock & M. Moran, ‘Low Open-Truss Beams:  Problems of Function and Distribution’, VA 15, 1984, 47-55.)  There is little decoration, with no provision for lateral bracing to the crown-post, and cusping is no more than a token, occurring only on the longitudinal braces. The arcade plates each display scarf joints, one is edge-halved with bridled butts and four edge-pegs, the other with sallied and bridled butts as well as two edge-pegs and one face-key.  Two small excavations were carried out in the hall area, one by R. Meeson and the other by N. Baker, with the object of finding archaeological evidence for the form of the hall. Neither dig was conclusive, but the second uncovered a paved floor of stone slabs set in ‘jigsaw’ fashion, The 1454 two-bayed cross wing, replacing the old service end, has intermediate trusses dividing the roof into four sub-bays. These trusses are of open arch-braced collar construction, while the central truss is of queen-post form.  Well-defined cusping occurs on the V-struts and on both tiers of windbraces. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1994, VA 25, list 56)

EATON-UNDER-HEYWOOD, New Hall (SO 490 892)

(a)     Primary phase – hall and cross wings      

Felling dates: Winter 1562/3; Summer 1563; Winter 1563/4; Winter 1564/5

(b)     Reconstruction of hall roof          

Felling date: Summer 1702

(c)     Reconstruction of south cross-wing roof 

Felling date: Summer 1753

(a) Purlins 1537(2), 1562(22C); Queen strut 1562(33½C), 1564(29C); Principal rafters 1562(9+2C NM), 1563(27C). (b) Purlins (1/2) 1701(22½C); Reused rafter (0/1). (c) Purlins 1752(25½C, 27½C); Ridge 1752(16½C). Site Masters (a) 1390-1564 NEWHALL1 (t= 10 WALES97; 8.8 WOLVERTN; 8.4 CALLGHTN); (b, c) 1606-1752 NEWHALL2 (t= 8.4 NORTH; 7.9 EASTMID; 7.9 THAXTED3)

This is a fully developed H-plan building comprising a central three-bay hall range, with three-bay cross wings at the north and south ends. Although little external wall framing survives, it is clear that close studding was used at ground-floor level, lozenge-work at first-floor level, and lozenge-within-lozenge in the gables of the wings. The west wall is now encased in red brick and the end walls have lost their framing. The roofs have queen-strut trusses, originally with trenched single purlins on each side, changed to double purlins during later repairs. Internally, a number of contemporary wall paintings survive including a hunting scene in the hall and three full-sized figures, two female and one male, in the east wing. Dating commissioned by English Heritage. M. J. Worthington and D. H. Miles, The tree-ring dating of New Hall, Eaton-under-Heywood, Shropshire’, CfA report 2/2004. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 154)

EATON-UNDER-HEYWOOD, Wolverton Manor (SO 471 879)

(a)     Primary phase - Hall range

Felling dates: Summer 1472, Spring 1473, Summer 1474, Summer 1475

Aisle ties 1474 (22½C), 1474 (27½C); Purlins 1467 (23), 1472 (27¼C); Principal rafter 1472 (29½C); Tiebeam 1474 (19½C); Windbraces 1402, 1474 (27½C).  Site Master 1325-1580 WOLVERTN (t=8.3 BROOKGT; 6.1 AYDON; 6.1 EASTMID; 5.9 ENGLAND)

(b)     Smoke-hood

Felling date range: 1557-1589 subsequently revised to 1558-1585

Tiebeam 1557 (13); Studs 1512, 1513.

(c)     Inserted kitchen ceiling

Felling date: Spring 1570

Joist 1569 (30¼C); Half-beams 1524, 1560 (H/S).

(d)     Cross-wing

Felling dates: Summer 1580, Summer 1581

Tiebeam 1580 (28½C); Corner post 1580 (36½C) Solid stair-tread (0/1); Sill beam 1579 (24½C); Wall plate 1579 (21½C).

Wolverton Manor incorporates a two-bay hall in which the central truss is of a variant form of base cruck, the blades terminating just above the collar and the truss continuing with curved principals: in effect a two-tiered cruck.  Two others of a similar type but with straight principals are known in Shropshire. Cusping occurs on the spere truss and on the windbraces.  The 1557-89 (subsequently revised to 1558-85) date relates to the insertion of a smoke hood, and the 1570 date to the insertion of a ceiling into one of the service bays.  Another inserted ceiling in the upper bay of the hall has chequerboard joisting with mouldings based on the ogee; this is probably part of the same improvement programme of c. 1570.  The 1581date relates to an added cross wing which employs re-used crucks. (Paper by M. Moran forthcoming). (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1993, VA 24, list 54)

HABBERLEY, Habberley Hall (SJ 397 035)

          Felling dates: Spring 1554, Spring 1555

Principal rafters (1/2) 1554 (21¼C); Lower purlins 1553 (27¼C), 1554 (35¼C).  Site Master 1386-1554 HABBERLY (t=10.5 BROOKGT; 10.3 NORTH; 10.1 MASTERAL)

Habberley Hall is thought to occupy a castle site.  A large 19th century brick wing is a prominent feature, but piecemeal development is evident everywhere.  The original hall here dated to 1555 is a box-framed structure which was jettied on all four sides.  The central section was left open for the provision of a smoke-hood to carry the emissions through two stories.  Later an outbuilt stack was provided at the rear of the hall and the area floored over.  Two box-framed cross-wings were added by William Leighton in 1593, according to the replica of the inscription which reads 'This hous was builded as you see AD 1593 by W.L.'  The same date and initials were recorded on a bed-head which had the inscription 'God bles us al' (VCH 1968, 240), see also Trans. Shrop. Archaeol. Soc. 1st ser. viii (1885), 196-7. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part III)

HABBERLEY, The Old Mill (SJ 403 036)  

Felling dates: Spring and Summer 1576

Purlins 1575(17¼C, 18½C); Cruck 1528; Packing piece (0/1).  Site Master 1355-1575 HBBRLYML (t = 9.5 SALOP95; 8.5 WALES97; 8.0 CLNGNFRD)

The mill was reconstructed in 1839 (V C H (Shropshire) vol 8 (1968) pp 239, 241-2), but on the north side is a single bay of cruck construction, originally hipped at either end which was presumably accommodation for the miller,.  This has what may be an original fireplace, above which, on the western purlin, is a row of 22 hook-pegs.  Similar rows have been noted in a few other Shropshire houses and these have been interpreted as housing pegs for the control of the louvre opening, but here the sheer number seems excessive.  In the seventeenth century a kitchen bay with a pantry was added to the north end, and the open hall was floored over.  The date of 1576 for the cruck unit makes it the latest dated example of cruck construction in Shropshire. The crucks are plank-like, only 6” thick. Dating commissioned by the owner. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 142)

HIGH ERCALL, High Ercall Hall (SJ 595 173)

Felling dates: Winter 1607/8, Spring 1608

Purlins(4/5) 1586(h/s), 1593(20), 1605(33¼C±1), 1607(44¼C); Upper crucks 1574(h/s), 1587(2); Principal rafters 1569(h/s), 1607(21¼C, 50¼C); Wall plates 1607(28¼C, 38C); Stair post 1579(h/s); Newel post 1574(h/s). Site Master 1390-1607 HIERCALL (t = 10.7 SALOP95; 10.0 MASTERAL; 9.5 OLDHLLFM)

Several questions remain unanswered regarding this complex building. It is reasonably certain that a large house of 1617-20, the property of Sir Francis Newport, was demolished after the civil war (when High Ercall was an important royalist garrison), although some fragments of it survive. The present house is a substantial L-shaped stone-built structure, with three projecting brick-built gable wings on the north side. One of these bears a datestone of 1608, recording the builder as Sir Francis Newport. Internally, the roofs have principal rafter trusses with straight soulaces and ashlars, with the exception of the western end of the north range which is intersected by the roofs of the west range and the western north front gable. Here a lack of wall plates necessitated using three upper-cruck trusses, continuing the same roof line internally. Felling dates of 1607/8 from both ranges are consistent with the 1608 datestone, although the brickwork to the walls below show a more complicated building chronology. Dating funded by Channel 4 as part of a Time-Team programme. See F. Stackhouse-Acton, The Garrisons of Shropshire During the Civil War, 1642-48, (1867) 44-8; and The Castles and Old Mansions of Shropshire (1868) 48-9. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 128)

HODNET, 19-21 Drayton Road (SJ 614 286)

Felling dates: Spring 1467, Summer 1467

Cruck blade 1467 (22½C); Joists 1434 (H/S), 1453 (H/S), 1466 (21¼C).  Site Master 1333-1467 HODNET (t=5.1 NAGSHEAD; 5.0 PLOWDEN2; 4.6 BROOKGT)

The three cottages at 19, 20, and 21 Drayton Road, Hodnet, represent subdivisions of a single-bayed cruck-built hall-house which has a contemporary box-framed solar cross-wing.  Both produced felling dates of 1467.  The hall cruck had a lap-jointed tie and yoke but a tenoned collar; the tiebeam probably supporting a 'croggloft' at the low end.  The apex is a type 'A' variety (Alcock 1981, 96) which supported a diagonally set ridge.  The hall had all of the rafters and ridge destroyed in a fire.  The cross-wing had large curving wall-braces and large joists laid flat. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part III)

HOPTON WAFERS, Catherton Cottage (SO 654 783)

Felling dates: Summer 1484, Summer 1485, Spring 1486

Purlin 1484 (22½C); Collar 1485 (21½C); Principal rafter 1485 (14¼C).  Site Master 1390-1485 CATHRTN (t=5.9 MDM11x; 4.9 QUEEN2; 4.9 HABBERLY)

Catherton Cottage, Hopton Wafers, is set in an area dominated by old bell-pits and squatters’ cottages.  Dating to 1486, this cruck-built cottage has an unpretentious exterior which is at variance with the richness of the central truss.  In this the tops of the crucks are cusped, matching the cusping on the V-struts and the cambered collar-beam to give a quatrefoil flanked by two trefoils.  Each arch-brace has two non-structural pegs driven through from the face side.  Their function is somewhat obscure, although they could have held suspended pots over the open hearth.  The hall is one-and-a-half-bayed, has a moulded wall-plate, and evidence for a low beam on the central truss.  The cottage has a long-house form and may have been the home of an early ironmaster.  (See Moran 1987, 45-9; Alcock and Moran, 1984, 47-55). (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1996, VA 27, list 73)

KEMPTON, No. 25 (SO 357 831)

(a)     Primary phase

Felling date: Winter 1476/7

Cruck 1476 (27C); Purlin (0/1).  Site Master 1362-1476 kemp1 (t=7.6 SALOP95; 7.1 neu4; 6.8 NORTH)

(b)     Replacement rafter

Felling date: Spring 1578

Rafter 1577 (24¼C).  Site Master 1508-1577 kemp3(t=7.2 BEDSTONE; 6.1 SALOP95; 7.2 BEDSTONE)

Of cruck construction, 25 Kempton is a small two-bayed hall-house with its arch-braced collar-beam exposed.  On this the crucks are crow-stepped above the collar-beam level.  They also have small half-lapped spurs resembling butterfly hinges which are similar to those noted on Bedstone Manor (see VAG Newsletter 30 Jan. 1996, 5).  Though mutilated, it is possible that there was a cruck spere-truss. (See VAG Conference Programme 1982, 4, 28; for Bedstone dendro see Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, 69-71). (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1996, VA 27, list 73)

LEIGHTON, Home Farm (SJ 616 053), Cross wing

Felling date: Winter 1358/9

Principal post 1340(h/s); Brace 1346(h/s); Collars (3/5) 1331(h/s), 1334(h/s), 1346(h/s); Crown post 1358(11C); Collar purlin (0/1); Transverse beam (0/1). Site Master 1285-1358 LEIGHTON (t = 7.9 NORTH; 7.7 UPWICH3; 7.4 raven6)

Situated just above the flood plain of the river Severn on the edge of the Severn Gorge, Home Farm has a hall and cross-wing plan. No timbers show externally and the hall has been rebuilt. The wing of 1358/9 contains two bays of a crown-post roof, but only the central truss is reasonably intact. In this the crown post clasps the collar purlin, the lateral braces are plain and down-swinging, and the longitudinal braces are cusped and chamfered. The collar purlin is chamfered with run-out stops, and the tiebeam is canted and chamfered. An ogee arch is formed by the arch braces to the tiebeam and the in-swinging lateral crown-post braces, a feature noted in other early Shropshire crown-post structures. Home Farm is the sixth earliest crown-post roof in Shropshire, and  resembles Home Farm, Attingham of 1385/6 (VA 29, List 92). The two-bay hall has a central truss of tiebeam construction with queen struts, wind braces, and V-struts above the collar. Dating funded by the Marc Fitch Fund. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 128)

LONGNOR, Moat House (SJ 494 002)

Felling dates: Spring 1463, Spring 1465, Winter 1466/7, Spring 1467

Principal rafter 1466 (19¼C); Stud 1466 (20C); Purlin 1464 (22¼C); Brace 1462 (20¼C).  Site Master 1391-1466 MOATHSE1 (t=7.5 EASTMID; 7.1 MC16; 6.4 KINGPYON)

Moat House is a box-framed manor house of very fine quality. Most of the hall, spere truss, screens passage and service end remain, but the solar end or wing is missing.  The exterior has plain close-studding, but the interior is lavishly decorated with moulded and jowled posts, embattled ornament, carved heads and cusping.  The trusses have a rhythm of one tiebeam truss to two arch-braced collar-beam trusses, and the roof has queen struts and cusped V-struts above, whose cusping combined with that of the principal rafters forms quatrefoils.  There are three tiers of cusped windbraces and the roof covering was originally of stone slabs of subquadrate limestone.  The house was probably built by Thomas Acton (d. 1480), and two of the carved heads may represent him and his wife, Joan; a third head has been removed.  See: VCH Shropshire, Vol. 8 (1968), 108-9 and VAG conference booklet (1982).  This short report aims to correct information given in both those publications. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1993, VA 24, list 54)

LUDLOW, Barnaby House, Ludlow College (SO 511 743)

Felling dates: Winter 1450/51

Rafters (2/3) 1448 (13); 1450 (29C); Purlin 1438 (3); King strut 1438 (8); Brace 1435 (2). Site Master 1372-1448 LUDLOW8a (t=6.2 MILKST2; 6.0 SHERNAVE)  Site Master 1317-1438 LUDLOW8b (t=8.2 WICK; 6.8 SENGLAND)

By tradition Barnaby House, Mill Street, Ludlow, has its origins as a staging post for pilgrims on their way to north Wales to visit the holy well of St Winifred.  At present part of Ludlow College and formerly used as the gymnasium when the school was Ludlow Grammar School, Barnaby House is a large stone-walled building backing onto Silk Mill Lane.  Thomas Barnaby held high office under the Mortimers, the last of whom was the father of Edward IV, and had married the daughter of Thomas Whitgreve, the owner of the property and official at the castle.  Although truncated, the walls have 13th century features and retain mouldings of that date, but the present roof dates from 1450/51, although this may have re-used from elsewhere.  It is five-bayed and of tie-and-collar-beam construction with a king-strut and raking queen queen-struts in each truss.  Two of the trusses have V-struts above the collar.  The tiebeams fit well over the wall-head, but only single wall-plates on the outer edge of the wall-head are used.  There is no ridge-purlin and the side-purlins are threaded through the principals.  The windbraces vary with two tiers in either slope and for the most part they are cusped members, a double tier to either slope, but in three bays the upper tier is both cusped and set upwards to form a wide quatrefoil pattern.  There is no record of the provenance of the roof, but in many ways it is similar to but less elaborate than that which covers the Guildhall, also in Mill Street.  Dating was commissioned by the Ludlow Historical Research Group. See V.C.H. (Shropshire) 2 (1973) 150; D.J. Lloyd, Country Grammar School, Studio Press 1977, passim; R.K. Morriss, ‘Barnaby House, Ludlow’ Hereford Archaeology Series 98 (1991). (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 83)

LUDLOW, Bodenham’s, 20 King St / 1 Broad St (SO 512 746)

Felling dates: Spring 1403, Spring 1404

Principal posts 1402 (28¼C), 1403 (20¼C); Rafter (0/1).  Site Master 1324-1403 LUDLOW4 (t=7.0 BEDSTONE; 5.8 FORESTR1; 5.5 LUDLOW3)

Nos. 20 King Street & 1 Broad Street, Ludlow is a three-storied corner property which is box-framed, double-piled and jettied.  It represents a street encroachment of four shops by the powerful Palmers' Guild of Ludlow in 1404, consolidating in permanent fashion what had been market stalls or ‘seldae’ which, in 1392, had no living accommodation above.  The crown-post roof structure incorporates lateral braces set down-swinging in a convex arc, and a plain crown-post, jowled at the head to clasp the collar-purlin.  As such it differs from the majority of Shropshire crown-post roofs and is similar to many found in York.  There were trading associations with York at that time, which may account for the design.  A splayed scarf with sallied abutments-joint on the collar purlin is cleverly contrived to allow the central tenon on the crown-post head to act as a key to secure both halves of the joint and is additionally secured by the crown-post extended 'ears' continuing up to the collar into which it is tenoned and, on one side, pegged.  Bull-nosed joists define the jetties; the basic framing consists of rectangular panels divided by a horizontal rail with struts set in lozenge fashion.  The main corner-post is missing, but one with the carved ornament was found elsewhere whose measurements fitted the corner site.  This is now housed in the local museum (Lloyd and Moran 1978) and (VAG Conf. Prog. 1982, 6-7). (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part III)

LUDLOW, 3-4 Broad Street (SO 512 746)

Felling date: Winter 1358/9

Crown post braces 1334 (33), 1358 (50C).  Site Master 1175-1358 LUDLOW5 (t=6.1 THRONE; 5.8 PLOWDEN1; 5.4 LUDLOW2)

Nos. 3 & 4 Broad Street, Ludlow, represents the original eastern end of Broad Street before the encroachment Nos 20 King Street and 1 Broad Street (cf) took place.  If the interpretation of the surveyors is correct (Shoesmith and Morriss 1988), the building was two-storied, three-bayed and was open at ground level with a chamber above.  It may have been a guildhall of some kind.  Though later fitted with a side purlin roof, two original crown-post trusses remain.  The crown-posts have unjowlled heads which are tenoned into the collar purlins.  In both trusses the lateral braces up-swing to the collar.  Only two other cases of upswinging laterals are known in Shropshire, and these here dated to 1358/9 are the earliest.  Regrettably the roof structure was sandblasted during the recent restoration works and there remains the possibility that a ring or part of a ring may have been lost, pushing the felling date to 1360. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part III)

LUDLOW, 53 Broad Street (SO 512 745), front range

Felling dates: Winter 1597/8; Spring 1598

Axial beam 1558(h/s); Studs 1554(h/s), 1570(h/s), 1597(46C); Rail 1597(35¼C). Site Master 1410-1597 LUDLOW13 (t = 8.8 DUTCHCOT; 8.8 CLNGNFRD; 8.6 BAYTONPF).

This three-bay range fronts the two-bay medieval hall of 1459-60 (VA 34, 115-16). Jettied at two levels and with a central entrance, the range has uninterrupted close studding to the ground floor, close studding with a mid-rail to the first floor, and lozenge work to the second floor. Later roof-raising has added another half-storey. The northern ground-floor parlour has a painted overmantel with the arms of James I, no doubt added when the house was occupied by Robert Saunders, an ironmonger and three times bailiff. See Ludlow Research Paper 3 (1979); dating commissioned by the owner.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 205)

LUDLOW, 53 Broad Street (SO 512 745), Rear range (hall)

(a)           Primary phase    

Felling dates: Winter 1459/60

Rafter 1459(37C); Strut 1459(27C);  Principal rafter 1459(26C); Collar 1429(h/s).  Site Master 1358-1459 LUDLOW9 (t = 12.7 HERECB2; 12.4 WALES97; 12.1 SALOP95)

(b)          Replacement rafter         

Felling date range: After 1584

Rafter 1573. Site Master 1500-1573 ludi2 (t = 5.9 BEWDLEY; 5.8 GIERTZ; 5.1 NORTH)

Behind a seventeenth-century three-bay street range is a well-preserved two-bay medieval hall which has a central truss of arch-braced collar-beam construction with tenoned purlins, large plain curved windbraces, and evidence of a louvre opening.  A closed truss demarcates the end of the hall, but, less than three feet from its main post, is another into which a brace and a transverse beam are tenoned.  Dating commissioned by the Ludlow Historical Research Group. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 142)

LUDLOW, 62 Lower Corve Street, The Merchant’s House (SO 512 753)

(a) Primary phase                         Felling date range: 1472-1502

(b) Reconstruction of bay 3          Felling date: Winter 1585/6; Spring 1586

(a) Principal post 1455(2); Studs 1459(h/s), 1461(h/s), 1470(h/s). Site Master 1374-1470 LUDLOW14 (t = 8.1 CLUNBY; 7.4 HYDE1; 7.3 WALES97). (b) Inserted stud 1585(29C); Beam 1585(27¼C). Site Master 1479-1585 LUDLOW15 (t = 7.2 REDGRAN; 7.1 TUHWNT; 7.1 VICTWHF).

This box-framed town house of three stories has a continuous jetty to the street with close-studding above. It is of four bays, with the fourth, solar, bay contained within the neighbouring house (No. 58) to the south. The date range of 1472-1502 relates to the original build and the 1586 date to a remodelling when the entrance at the lower end of the hall was changed and the hall ceiling raised. Features include a rear chimneystack, two service doorways with shaped heads, and roll-and-hollow moulding on the spine-beam in the solar. With the decline of the woollen cloth industry after c.1600, this area of Ludlow supported a community of glovers, the Corve river at the rear ideal for the tanning process, and No. 62 still has a timber-framed workshop attached to the house at the rear. Dating commissioned by the owner.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 205)

LUDLOW, The Rectory, 4 College Street, Front wing (SO 512 747)

Felling date ranges: 1312-1341, 1313-1328 subsequently revised to 1313-1326

Collar 1274 (H/S + c. 30C NM); Rafters 1312 (16), 1242, 1227, 1223.   Site Master 1139-1274 LUDLOW2 (t=10.5 GTOXNBLD; 8.4 REF75; 8.3 EASTMID)

Ludlow Rectory is the oldest domestic building known in the town.  It consists of three distinct units: a pair of two-bayed units set parallel to the street and divided by a cross wing set gable-end onto the street.  The cross-wing and the northern range are of one build and relate to the 1313-28 date (subsequently revised to 1313-1326).  The cross wing was a large timber-framed two-bayed cart entrance with an upper chamber jettied at either end.  The wall plate has the remains of a stop-splayed scarf joint with two edge-pegs, and the rafters have rafter holes.  The northern range has a stone-walled ‘undercroft’ at ground level with an open-roofed chamber above.  Both units have a collar-rafter roof.  The framing of the third unit has a sixteenth-century form with the ground-floor room containing a double-chamfered spine beam with double pyramid stops.  An unusual feature of the southern range is the second floor which had been framed with wide joists and window openings but never finished, remaining as a very large and inaccessible roof-space. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1993, VA 24, list 54)

LUDLOW, The Guildhall (SO 510 745)

Felling dates: Summer 1411

Common rafters 1411 (10½C), 1411 (31½C); Collar 1367; Principal rafters 1401 (11), 1385 (H/S).   Site Master 1296-1411 LUDLOW3 (t=8.2 PLOWDEN2; 6.3 WOLVERTN; 5.9 KINGPYON)

The Guildhall was the property of the powerful Palmers’ Guild, founded in the mid-thirteenth century and dissolved in 1552.  It was a quasi-religious body, concerned at first with pilgrimages and soul-saving but later involved with commercial enterprises and real estate.  The Guildhall was thoroughly remodelled in the eighteenth century, but the form of the timber-framed building is still discernible.  This was a fully aisled building, the only one as yet positively identified in Shropshire.  The roof has the standard rhythm of one tiebeam truss to two arch-braced collar-beam trusses and there is much cusping, carving and ogee ornament For an account of the Palmers’ Guild see: M. Faraday, Ludlow 1085-1680, Phillimore, (1991), 77-95. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1993, VA 24, list 54)

LUDLOW, 14-16 King Street (SO 513 746)

(a)     Rear range

Felling dates: Spring 1467

Joists 1466 (18¼C); 1463 (10); Middle rail (0/1). Site Master 1392-1466 ludf2 (t=6.9 COATSFM; 6.7 SALOP95; 6.3 FORESTR1)

(b)     Front range

Felling dates: Winter 1473/4; Winter 1474/5; Spring 1476

Rafter 1474 (18¼C); Axial beam 1474 (22C); Tiebeam 1473 (16C).  Site Master 1412-1474 ludg3 (t=7.4 KINGPYON; 7.0 NGH1125; 6.8 BAYTON)

The sub-division of nos.14-16 King Street Ludlow has resulted in a complicated pattern of ownership, but historically the block should be regarded as a two-bayed, double-piled, box-framed structure.  The rear unit was the first to be built, in or shortly after 1467, and is set partially underground in a manner reminiscent of a medieval undercrofted building.  The undercroft has intersecting spine-beams chamfered and stopped in such a way as to suggest that it contained a large samson-post or pillar supporting an open hearth in the chamber above.  That the upper chamber was an open hall is suggested by the arch-braced collar-beam construction of the central truss.  In this the arch-braces swing low beyond wall-plate level.  Present also are jowled posts and two tiers of plain curved windbraces.  When seen some years ago, smoke-blackening was present on the roof timbers.

The front unit, an addition of 1476, is also timber-framed and was jettied at the upper level.  It also has jowelled posts, though these are less pronounced than those in the rear unit.  The roof is of tie, collar, and raking queen-strut construction.

The block is particularly interesting for its development sequence.  It is known that the south side of King Street which contains 14-16 represents the colonisation of an originally wide High Street which ran as a spine along the ridge from the castle to Old Street.  Temporary market stalls became incorporated into permanent structures encroaching onto the street.  This had taken place by 1330.  In 1459 Ludlow was ‘sacked’ by the Lancastrian armies during the wars of the Roses, and although the extent of the destruction is not known it is possible that the dates obtained for 14-16 King Street represent re-building after the conflict and in anticipation of peace under Edward IV who had Ludlow’s interests at heart.  It is also known that the front unit was Palmers’ Guild property while the rear unit was freehold.  (Info. from .J. Lloyd, Ludlow Research Group.  The entry in the Palmers’ Guild rental is for ‘two shops and solars’)  Nos. 14-16 makes an interesting comparison with 20 King Street (Bodinham’s) which is wholly Palmers’ Guild encroachment of 1403/4.  (See D. Lloyd and M. Moran, The Corner Shop, Ludlow Research Paper 2 (1978); VA 26 (1995), 69-71.  Dating was commissioned by the Ludlow Historical Research Group. (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 83)

LUDLOW, Old Gatehouse, Old Street (SO 513 745)         

Felling date: Winter 1441/2

Tiebeam 1441(14C); Windbrace 1427(H/S); Purlin 1413(H/S?); Raking strut 1404(H/S); Posts (0/2). Site Master  1303-1441 LUDLOW11 (t = 9.6 MEREHALL; 7.4 BOWER1; 7.1 WGATE1)

The Old Gatehouse and the adjoining Lane’s House were used as a Workhouse and House of Correction from 1676 until 1837, after which they were known as Lane’s Asylum and used as almshouses; Thomas Lane (d.1676) was one of the town’s benefactors (D Lloyd & P Klein, 1984  Ludlow, a Historical Town in Words and Pictures, 90). Some stonework in the Old Gate probably relates to the early twin drum-tower defence system but the bulk of the structure accords well with the dendro date of 1441/2. The roof system is of tie beam and collar construction with large raking queen-struts and large curved windbraces.  The house is four-bayed and the two eastern bays were probably open to the roof from first-floor level. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 180)

LUDLOW, Lanes House, 56 Old Street (SO 513 745)       

Felling dates: Winter 1619/20 and Spring 1621

Carved bracket 1621(22¼C), Stud 1619(51C); Longitudinal beam 1616(21); Wall-plate 0/1; Posts (0/2), Tiebeam (0/1). Site Master  1483-1620 LUDLOW10 (t = 7.0 NEWHALL; 6.8 WAR; 6.7 WALES97)

Lane’s House to the north of the Old Gatehouse and fronting onto Old Street has a stone ground floor with two timber-framed stories above, the top storey carrying two large dormer gables, one of which bears the date 1621.  This agrees with the felling date derived from an internal carved bracket, thus identifying the date when the roof was raised and the house re-fronted in a mixture of close-studding, herring-bone work, and large diamond-strutting.  The bulk of the framework seems to be of the mid-16th century and the main posts have thickened heads.  Samples from these timbers failed to date.  There are carved wood Tudor roses on the outside and the main ground-floor room has moulded plaster-work and a coat-of-arms with the initials E.R., this may refer to Elizabeth I or, more likely, to Edward VI.  The moulding is repeated on the ceiling in the room above. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 180)

LUDLOW, Reader’s House (SO 512 746)              

(a)     Tiebeam (reconstruction phase 1)           

Felling date: Summer 1553

(b)     Rear stud (unidentified repair phase)       

Felling date: Winter 1598/9

(c)     Porch and reconstruction of roof 

Felling dates: Summer 1614 and Winter 1614/15

(a) Tiebeam 1552(30½C). (b) Stud 1598(37C). (c) Purlins 1613(40½C), 1614(32C); Principal rafter (0/1); Stud (0/1). Site Master (a) 1447-1552 ludl4a2 (t = 5.7 CGFA; 5.5 EASTMID; 5.3 LLWYN); (b) 1431-1598 ludl5 (t = 7.5 CLNGNFRD; 6.7 WIGALL46; 6.4 NEWPORT2);  (c) 1406-1614 LUDLOW12 (t = 8.8 WALES97; 8.4 DORE2; 8.1 UPWICH3)

The Reader’s House is located on the north-eastern side of the churchyard. In 1330 it was described as ‘2 solars under 1 roof with a lantern’ and in the 15th century it was owned by the Palmers’ Guild and accommodated the Grammar School.  In the eighteenth century, the house became the official residence of the ‘Reader’, one of the church curates. The house has four bays now dated to c. 1553 but it is thought that a further bay to the north has been destroyed. In 1616 Thomas Key, chaplain to the Council of the Marches added a fine three-storied jettied timber-framed porch to its stone-built rear wall, allowing access directly onto the churchyard. The 1553 date seems to relate to a remodelling by the Council of the Marches, and the 1614/15 date from the purlins indicates that the house was re-roofed when the porch was added. It is jettied at two levels, square-framed with long angle braces and with a large dormer-gable which has diagonal strutting.  The bressumer moulding is of triple-ovolo-and-quirk form.  Internally there are good double-ovolo-and-quirk mouldings on the door-frames, daisy-wheel graffiti on a fireplace lintel, plaster mouldings including a fleur-de-lis. See Ludlow Historical Research Group, Some Ludlow Buildings, 1982; VAG Shropshire Conference Handbook, 1982, 18-19; D Lloyd & P Klein, op. cit., 119. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 180)

LUDLOW, Palmers’ Guild College (SO 512 747)

Felling date: Spring 1393

Moulded dais beam 1392 (24¼C).  Site Master 1318-1392 LUDLOW1 (t=4.7 SENGLAND; 4.7 WICK; 4.6, UPWICH2; 4.2 LUDLOW2)

The Palmer’s Guild College: Here a moulded beam, thought to have come from a spere tress, was retrieved when the building, later the cottage hospital, was stripped out recently.  Previously it had been thought that nothing remained of the medieval building, but several details have been uncovered.  This was the only timber remaining to sample and it yielded a date of 1393, which relates closely to the expansion of activities and the rising fortunes of the Guild around that time.  See: VCH Shropshire, Vol. 2 (1973), 134-40. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1993, VA 24, list 54)

LYDBURY NORTH, Gravenor House (SO 349 860)

(a)     Re-used timbers in roof  

Felling date: Spring 1433

(b)     Present structure

Felling date ranges: 1607-37; 1637-57

All timbers (3/6) (a) Re-used principal rafter 1432(36¼C); (b) Post 1602(6); Longitudinal beam 1625(9+12NM). Site Masters 1250-1432 lyda6 (t = 7.1 PLOWDEN2; 7.0 YORKS2; 6.7 LUDLOW9); 1492-1625 LYDBURY1 (t = 10.2 CLNGNFRD; 8.1 WALES97; 7.5 SALOP95)

Gravenor House is of box frame construction, later encased in stone. It has a timber framed gabled cross-wing (not sampled). (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 192)

LYDBURY NORTH, Brook House (SO 351 860)  

Felling dates: Winter 1594/5; Winter 1595/6; Winter 1596/7; Spring 1597

Post 1593(31½C); Rails 1595(22C), 1596(33¼C); Corner post 1596(26C); Joists 1595(27C), 1596(37¼C). Site Master 1412-1596 LYDBURY2 (t = 9.6 WIGALL46; 9.2 WALES97; 9.0 BEDSTONE)

Brook House is of box-frame construction, with the timbers visible externally. It uses wall framing three square panels in height. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 192)

LYDBURY NORTH, 10-11 Lydbury North (SO 350 862)

(a)     Main structure    

Felling date range: 1555-87

(b)     Ceiling   

Felling dates: after 1584, after 1612

All timbers (3/6). Stud 1547(3); Axial beam 1573; Joist 1601. Site Masters 1496-1547 lydc2 (t = 6.5 BADESLY3; 5.5 SHAW1; 5.5 GREENHAM); 1475-1573 lydc3 (t = 6.1 WALES97; 5.9 LEA3; 5.8 HEREFC); 1418-1601 lydc5 (t = 8.4 CLNGNFRD; 7.7 SALOP95; 7.7 WALES97)

Externally, 10-11, Lydbury North appears as a stone built house with a square framed timber porch, but was originally box-framed. The original structure appears to be of the later sixteenth century, with a ceiling inserted some time after c.1612; however, the early stud might be reused. The house has suffered from a severe fire at some point, as charring is evident on the ceiling timbers. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 192)

LYDBURY NORTH, Long Thatch (SO 351 861)

(a)     Cruck phase      

Felling date range: (OxCal modelled) 1557-71 (unrefined 1554-84)

(b)     Inserted floor in cruck range       

Felling date ranges: 1616-25; 1624-51

(c)     Western extension          

Felling date and range: Winter 1626/7; 1631-61

(a) Collar 1540(h/s); Wallplate 1545(h/s); Tiebeam 1547(2); (b) Joist 1615(31); Longitudinal beam 1610(h/s+13NM); (c) Longitudinal beams 1621(1), 1626(25C) Site Masters 1479-1547 LYDBURY3 (t = 7.7 CLNGNFRD; 6.8 HGROVNR9; 6.0 WOLVETN); (b, c)1424-1626 LYDBURY4 (t = 8.9 WALES97; 8.8 WIGALL46; 8.7 CLNGNFRD)

Long Thatch was the only building identified in the survey of cruck construction. In 1626/7 the house was extended to the west, and the felling date range of 1624-51 for a longitudinal beam for the inserted floor in the original part of the house probably relates to the same phase of building. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 192)

LYDBURY NORTH, Old Farmhouse (SO 351 860)          

Felling dates: Winter 1657/8; Winter 1658/9

Principal post 1602(32+30NM); Longitudinal beams 1654(36), 1657(40C), 1658(35C); Corner post 1658(31C); Transverse beam 1658(38C). Site Master 1363-1658 LYDBURY5 (t = 12.1 WALES97; 11.7 CLNGNFRD; 11.5 WIGALL46)

The Old Farm-House stands on the northern edge of the village. The farm-yard buildings are now separate properties. Externally the house, which has had alterations, appears as a two-story rendered building. Internally, however, its square-panel box-frame structure is still apparent. This is the latest of the buildings sampled within the village. It is notable that some of the trees used in the building were over 300 years old when felled. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 192)

LYDBURY NORTH, Plowden Hall (SO 375 866)

(a)     Hall range

Felling dates: Winter 1299/1300, Spring 1300, Spring 1301, Spring 1302

Aisle rafter 1301 (34¼C); Arch brace 1300 (48¼C); Arcade brace 1299 (32¼C); Brace 1299(25C); Tiebeam 1272 (H/S); Base cruck 1210.  Site Master 977-1301 PLOWDEN1 (t=13.5 EASTMID; 10.7 GTOXNBLD; 10.1 ENGLAND)        

(b)     Solar wing

Felling dates: Spring 1454

Collar 1453 (18¼C); Tiebeam 1453 (28¼C); Principal rafter 1428.  Site Master 1330-1453 PLOWDEN2 (t=9.6 GIERTZ; 8.5 ENGLAND; 8.2 LUDLOW3)

Plowden Hall in the parish of Lydbury North has a history of continuous occupation by the Plowden family. It is a multi-phased complex, the core of which is a two-bay base cruck hall with crown post roof.  On the aisled truss at one end of the hall, presumably the spere truss, the crown post is plain and the lateral braces are short straight members engaging the tiebeam.  On the base-cruck truss the crown post has a crude square base with notched decoration, above which the shaft is octagonal in form up to the springing of the braces which up-swing to the collar.  At a later date brick piers were inserted which effectively turned a base-cruck hall into an aisled hall, thus reversing the more usual building sequence.  A solar wing with two vigorously-cusped open trusses and attached garderobe was added; this yielded the date of 1454.  Later additions include a parlour wing added by ‘Lawyer Plowden’ of ‘the case is altered’ fame.  See: M. Moran, The Medieval Parts of Plowden Hall, Trans Shrop Archaeol Soc 59 (1973/4), 264-71. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1993, VA 24, list 54)

MARKET DRAYTON, Cotton’s House, 57 Shropshire Street (SJ 673 339)       

Felling date: c1600

All timbers (4/9); Stud 1562; Purlin 1584(H/S); 1572(H/S+26NM); Post 1572(H/S+27½NM).  Site Master  1416-1584 COTTONHS (t = 6.6 NGH1125; 6.5 E MIDLANDS; 6.3 AYDON).

This is a timber framed house on a dressed grey sandstone plinth with a baffle-entry E plan with three framed bays, including a narrow central chimney bay. The ground floor has obscured close studding with cusped tension braces, and the first floor has a middle rail. The attic is jettied with moulded brackets, close studded to the side and with a single tier of squared panels to the front, with straight corner struts. The gable to the front has 3 tiers of small square panels with curved corner struts and curved V-struts in the apex. The roof has tie beam and collar trusses, single purlins, and straight windbraces. Dating commissioned by the owner. (Miles and Worthington 2005, VA 36, list 166)

MONKHOPTON, Great Oxenbold (SO 594 920)

(a)     Primary phase

Felling dates: Spring 1242; Winter 1246/7; Spring 1247

Undercroft beams 1241 (14¼C), 1241 (34¼C); Transverse beams at roof level (4/5) 1246 (26¼C), 1216 (H/S), 1246 (28C), 1246 (38C); Beam with fleur-de-lis stop 1226 (H/S).  Site Master 1081-1246 GTOXNBLD (t=11.8 EASTMID; 10.7 PLOWDEN1; 10.5 LUDLOW2; 9.9 ENGLAND)

(b)     Second phase roof

Felling date range: 1510-1545 subsequently revised to 1511-1541

Wall plate re-used as purlin in phase 3 roof 1501 (1).   Site Master 1420-1501 grtox4 (t=8.9 MC16; 7.8 EASTMID; 7.8 NEWPORT2)

Great Oxenbold in the parish of Monkhopton is a stone-built complex which belonged to Wenlock Priory from the early thirteenth century until the 1530s when it had become part of the estate of Henry Norris, who was executed for his alleged relationship with Anne Boleyn. Now a farmhouse, it is almost certainly incomplete. The two units which remain can be identified as a hall or chamber block of some kind and an attached chapel which is probably later than the hall, both retaining thirteenth-century features.  The hall is at first-floor level on the entrance side only and there is an undercroft with massive cambered ceiling joists.  Similar beams one foot square, including a half-beam, are found reset in the roof and no longer functional, although one appears to be still in situ just below eaves level. It has been suggested that these formed the flooring or a private solar or camera at one end of the hall, but their cambered appearance (made up with tapering planks where the camber is not sufficiently pronounced) may have related to some early form of fiat lead roof. The soffits of these beams are decorated with large chamfers with stepped run-out stops, a pair of these in the centre of each beam giving an unusual pointed effect. One timber re-used in the roof has a wide hollow chamfer with a fleur-de-lis stop. A purlin in the present roof was found to be a re-used wall plate which dated to 1510-45 and probably related to a re-roofing at that time. (Paper by M. Moran forthcoming). (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1993, VA 24, list 54)

MORETON SAY, Bletchley Manor (SJ 622 335)

Felling date: Summer 1594

All timbers (7/8); Purlins 1575(H/S), 1576 (5+16NM), 1585(H/S+7NM), 1588(11), 1593(15½C); Principal rafters 1578(H/S), 1582(5+9NM).  Site Master 1481-1593  BLTCHMNR (t = 8.7 SALOP95; 7.5 BEARSTP; 7.4CHERGTN).

The primary build comprises two parallel 2-bay ranges, each of two storeys with an attic. The roofs have single staggered purlins and straight windbraces. The panelling is of mid-17th century style and the heraldic stained glass is dated 1639 – previously thought likely to be the date of the primary phase. Dating commissioned by Marches Archaeology. (Miles and Worthington 2005, VA 36, list 166)

MORETON SAY, Oldfields Farm, Rebuilt service end (SJ 629 364)

Felling dates: Late spring 1573

Aisle wall-plate 1562 (6); Principal rafter 1572 (30¼C); Rail (0/1); Stud 1546 (H/S); Transverse beam 1548 (H/S).  Site Master 1404-1572 OLDFIELD ( t=9.9 MASTERAL; 9.3 OXON93; 9.0 EASTMID)

Oldfields Farm, Moreton Say, is an isolated farmhouse in North Shropshire with a two-bay base-cruck hall which did not date. The upper parts of the hase-cruck structure had as much as 8mm of soot encrustation. An unusual feature was the later insertion of a squint, or more likely a vent, in what might be interpreted as the dais truss. It is a wide strut between tiebeam and collar and is pierced with a pair of chamfered slots, the heads of which rise symmetrically to form a pointed head. If the dais truss has been correctly identified, then the dated timbers relate to a rebuilt solar end with a divided service below, all of 1573. The 1567-1601date range for the wall plate in the hall indicates that it too may have been repaired at the same time. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1994, VA 25, list 56)

MUCH WENLOCK, Barclay’s Bank, 15 High Street (SO 623 998)

Felling dates: Spring 1405, Winter 1407/8

Arcade post 1407(26C); Tiebeam 1404 (19¼C); Principal rafter 1378.  Site Master 1290-1407 MWNLOCK2 (t=6.2 BOWHILL; 6.0 CRBCR3; 5.5 UPWICH2)

Barclay’s Bank, Much Wenlock, incorporates a two-bay hall of base-cruck construction which has a crown post roof.  One aisled truss, that at the dais end of the hall, is reasonably intact and there are remains of another at the opposite end of the hall.  The service end of the house has been replaced by a seventeenth-century unit, currently in use as the bank  Spurs with slip-tenons effect the connection between the posts and the base crucks, which have an ogee moulding that continues into the arch braces.  The soffit of the tiebeam has a more elaborate version of the same moulding. The crown post has cusped lateral braces which down-swing to the tiebeam, and the sole remaining longitudinal brace is similarly cusped.  The position of the louvre is discernible through the trimming of the roof timbers immediately to the upper end of the open truss.  The hall has an inserted ceiling above with a floor of lime plaster laid over oak laths See: S. R. Jones, ‘Tir-y-Coed’, Trans Shrop Archaeol Soc 56 (1957-60), 149-57. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1993, VA 24, list 54)

MUCH WENLOCK, 23 Barrow Street (SO 624 999)

Felling date range: 1327-1330

Cross-wing braces 1316 (22+11/13C NM), 1324(25), 1306 (H/S); Hall arcade plate 1286.  Site Master 1161-1324 MWNLOCK1 (t=7.8 COXWELL; 7.0 ASTON; 6.6 REF75)

23 Barrow Street, Much Wenlock, contains a two-bayed hall of base-cruck construction and a contemporary solar wing, jettied towards the street and set parallel with it.  At present the original timbers of the hall effectively terminate at the base-cruck truss and therefore evidence of the service end and screens passage has been lost.  The hall appears to have had a roof of crown post construction originally, but this has been replaced.  The base-cruck truss at tiebeam level and below is reasonably intact and well carpentered, with timbers of large scantling. The tiebeam is chamfer-rebated and steeply cambered so that it fits over the base-cruck blades and, in effect, gives them extra height. In the middle of the truss there is evidence for a decorative boss of some kind set facing towards the dais end.  The blades are hollow-chamfered on both edges and the arch braces have a double-roll-and-fillet moulding.  The cross wing is box-framed and has a central axial jowled post which supported the floor beam which, in turn, supported the joists.  The implications of this are discussed in: H. Hand, ‘The Axial Jowled Post in Shropshire’, VA 20 (1989), 38. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1993, VA 24, list 54)

MUCH WENLOCK, 25-28 Barrow Street (SO 624 999)

Felling dates: Late summer 1435

Arch brace 1435 (21½C); Purlin 1435 (20½C).  Site Master 1320-1435 MWNLOCK5 (t=6.3 UPWICH2; 5.5 MWNLOCK2; 5.3 CRESSETT)

25-28 Barrow Street, Much Wenlock is so far unique in the corpus of cruck construction, being a five-hayed terrace, hipped at either end, whose origins are not known. The cluck trusses are of a variant of type 'H' with a short king post between the blades. It is suggested that the terrace represents speculative building of shops/workshops/cottages, or a row of chantry priests’ houses, or is the row of medieval almshouses to which Hugh Wolmer left money in his will of 1485. In view of the positive date of 1435 the last seems increasingly likely. (See M. Moran, ibid, 10-14.) (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1994, VA 25, list 56)

MUCH WENLOCK, 14 Callaughton (SO 618 974)

Felling dates: Winter 1569/70; Spring 1575-7

Purlin (reset) 1576 (36¼C±1); Joist 1569 (20C); Transverse beam 1561 (12); Principal rafters 1532 (H/S); 1518 (H/S) Tiebeam             1503. Site Master 1335-1569 CALLGHTN (t=13.0 SALOP95; 10.9 BROOKGT; 10.9 GTBINNAL)

No. 14 Callaughton, Much Wenlock, is basically a simple two-storied, two-bayed house with a lobby-entry.  It presents an asymmetrical front elevation because it is remodelled around two internal timber-framed trusses at right-angles to each other.  One incorporates re-used timbers which were not sampled, but the other, aligned in the same plane as the roof, consists of primary-use oak providing a standard tie-and-collar truss with queen-struts.  This central truss forms one wall of the house-place, the ceiling of which was originally of fully chequer-board design, each joist chamfered and stopped.  The house is stone-walled with a local friable mud-stone instead of the expected Wenlock limestone.  The timbers sampled are all consistent with the felling dates of 1569/70 and 1575-7, although some of the timbers exhibited a sapwood inclusion, giving an earlier heartwood/sapwood boundary date than might otherwise be expected.  The dating was part commissioned by the owners, Mr & Mrs A Ketchen. (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 83)

MUCH WENLOCK, 16-18 High Street (SO 622 228)

Felling dates: Spring 1461, Winter 1462/3, Spring 1464, Spring 1465, and Winter 1465/6

Purlins 1465(29C), 1464(29¼C), 1463(23¼C), 1462(25C); Collar 1462(35C); Crucks 1460(37¼C), 1459(22+1 NM), 1441(h/s); Rafters 1458(19), 1437(1). Site Master 1316-1465 MWNLOCK7 (t = 13.0 CALLGHTN; SALOP95 11.5; CRESSETT 10.4).

For details of the building and its interpretation, see Moran, this volume, pp. 45-51. (Miles and Bridge 2010, VA 41, list 224)

MUCH WENLOCK, Prior’s Hall, Wenlock Abbey (SJ 625 000)

(a)     Hall range

Felling date ranges: 1407-1437, 1410-1440 subsequently revised to 1409-1439

Arched principal 1396 (H/S); Ashlar piece 1399 (H/S).   Site Master 1304-1425 MWNLOCK3 (t=9.3 MWNLOCK5; 7.8 MWNLOCK4; 7.0 CRESSETT)

(b)     Abbot’s parlour

Felling date range: 1412-1442

Rafter 1401 (H/S).

(c)     North apartment

          Felling dates: Summer 1425

Soulace 1425 (30½C).

(d)     Gallery

Felling dates: Late spring 1425

Rafter 1424 (21¼C).

The Prior’s Hall, Much Wenlock, is a well-known building and features in many text-books. In their assessments all writers have repeated the first suggested date of circa 1500, but dendrochronology has shown the hall and the two units to either side of it to be contemporary with each other and much earlier than the presumed date. The timber vaulted roof of the first-floor hall is very elaborate, with trefoiled ornament, brattishing, cusping and carving. There are overtones of crown-post construction with the inclusion of a collar purlin, but this is accompanied by open arch-braced collar-beams.  That it functioned as a hall is evidenced by an open hearth supported by a massive stone pillar with a louvre above.  Both the solar and the north apartment which flank the hall are unbayed and of plainer form. The solar has straight soulaces while the apartment has a mixture of both straight and curved which were probably the left-overs from timber cut for the hall and solar roofs.

The range is served by an upper and lower gallery on the front. Here the outer stone wall is pierced by two rows of trefoil-headed windows, set as twin lights, originally 62 openings in all. Though conventional in form, with a continuous central mullion and unpierced spandrels, the gallery has a remarkable profusion of lights. At the rear there are fewer openings because there are no galleries, and the design of the windows differs slightly. Here the central mullion is more pronounced, the heads are almost triangular and the spandrels are themselves equilateral triangles. The date of 1425 seems early for such lavish fenestration and, of course, the stone wails may not be contemporary with the roof, although there is no structural indication that they are later, and dendrochronology has established that the pentice roof of the upper gallery is coeval with the hall, solar and apartment. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1994, VA 25, list 56)

MUCH WENLOCK, 55 Sheinton Street (SJ 625 001)

Felling date ranges: 1246-1280, 1255-1289 subsequently revised to 1251-1281

Axial beam 1083; Bolster 1235 (H/S); Lintel 1224; Samson post 1244 (H/S).  Site Master 881-1235 MWNLOCK6 (t=10.7 MASTERAL; 10.2 ENGLAND 9.4 EASTMID)

55 Sheinton Street, Much Wenlock: the felling dates here refer to an ornate octagonal samson post (1255-1289) with an equally elaborate bolster (1246-1280) (the average of the two subsequently revised to 1251-1281) supporting two axial beams which are jointed above. The floor structure consists of flat five-inch thick planks running transversely and lodged on the axial beams; above them is a solid masonry floor at least six inches thick. Although no other timberwork survives above, the stone ground-floor front wall survives, with in- situ window and lintel, as does the whole of the rear wall to full height, with a central corbelled chimney stack serving the upstairs solar. It has the remains of at least two arched doorways, one of which probably led to a staircase to the solar from the hall. Creasing for the demolished hall roof is clearly evident on the rear wall of the house, which would have been either aisled or of base-cruck construction. This building has long been referred to as Bastard Hall after Richard le Bastard who was the Prior's attorney in 1267. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1994, VA 25, list 56)

MUCH WENLOCK, 56 Sheinton Street (SJ 625 001)

Felling date range: 1474-1507 subsequently revised to 1474-1502

Re-used bressemer 1473 (12).  Site Master 1388-1473 mwg1 (t=4.8 ASHWOOD; 4.7 MC16; 4.5 MOATHS1)

56 Sheinton Street, Much Wenlock: a re-used beam in the rear wing of another part of Bastard Hall has been dated to 1474-1507 (subsequently revised to 1474-1502). This was probably a re-used bressumer. It has a roll-and-hollow moulding and showed evidence of close studding. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1994, VA 25, list 56)

MUCH WENLOCK, St Owens Well House (SJ 623 000)

Felling dates: Winter 1414/15, Late spring 1416

Crucks 1415 (20¼C, 25¼C); Ogee doorhead 1414 (24C); Stave 1407 (11).  Site Master 1315-1415 MWNLOCK4 (t=7.8 UPWICH2; 7.4 KINGPYON; 6.6 LIONTAP)

St Owen’s Well House, Much Wenlock, is basically a two-bayed cruck house with type  ‘L2’ apexes and dated to 1416, with a later addition of a box-framed bay. One of the cruck bays was an open hall, while the bay nearest the road appears to have been a solar above two service rooms. A cross passage separated the service rooms and the hall, while an ogee-headed doorway (reputed to have been an insertion but here proved to be coeval) led from the solar above, giving access to the hall presumably via a staircase. In 1546 William Corvehill a priest serving the Guild of Our Lady, was living in the block. Whilst he could not have built the cruck unit, he might have been responsible for the (undated) extension. (See M Moran, ‘A Terrace of Crucks at Much Wenlock’, VA 23, 1992, 13.) (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1994, VA 25, list 56)

MYNDTOWN, Asterton, Home Farm House (SO 398 911)

(a)     Cruck phase      

Felling date: Winter 1479/80

(b)     Rebuilding phase

Felling dates: Winter 1608/9; Winter 1609/10

(a) Arch brace 1479(29C); Purlins 1461(h/s), 1458(h/s), 1452(h/s); Crucks 1342, 1310; Reset ridge (0/1). (b) Longitudinal beam 1609(38C); Studs 1608(43C), 1598(40?C), 1567(11+28NM); Intermediate beam 1559(h/s). Site Masters (a) 1179-1342 ASTRTN1 (t = 7.5 WIGALL46; 7.5 WALES97; 7.3 PLOWDEN1); 1389-1461 ASTRTN2 (t = 7.0 WIGALL46; 6.7 COATSFM; 6.4 CLUNBY); 1375-1479 hfast1 (t = 5.9 SHOOTRPH; 5.2 NHRA; 5.1 BOWER1; 4.8 BAYTON); (b) 1437-1609 ASTRTN3 (t = 10.8 CLNGNFRD; 10.7 HABBERLY; 10.6 SALOP95)

Home Farm House  stands on the edge of the Long Mynd. The first phase is represented by a single cruck truss, truncated at the top, with a fragment of a second blade built in to the rear wall. The crucks themselves had no heartwood/sapwood boundary, and the last measured ring dates of 1310 and 1342 should not be taken as an indicator of date, despite the presence of heavy gouged assembly marks. The date of 1479/80 produced by an arch brace, and supported by felling date ranges from the reset purlins would instead suggest that 100 to 150 outer rings have been trimmed off the crucks during conversion. The cruck blades themselves are only 6 in thick, but almost 2 ft wide, again suggesting they are coeval with the 1479/80 felling date for the arch-brace. The second phase of 1609/10 involved truncating the first cruck, removing the other cruck trusses, raising the walls, and inserting a first floor with very heavy chamfers on twin longitudinal beams. At the lower, western, end of the house, the longitudinal beams are supported on an internal jetty, with the bay beyond possibly serving an agricultural function. Dating commissioned by the owner. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 192)

NEEN SAVAGE, Detton Hall (SO 666 795)

(a)     Jettied cross-wing

Felling dates: Spring 1573; Winter 1575/6

Purlins 1575 (45C); 1540 (H/S); Door post 1572 (17¼C).  Site Master 1342-1575 DETTON1 (t=10.8 SALOP95; 10.6 MASTERAL; 9.7 NORTH)

(b)     Hall range

Felling date range: 1625-1655

Principal rafter 1614 (H/S); Studs (0/3); Principal posts (0/2). Site Master 1520-1614 dh6 (t=5.0 TREES3; 4.7 SALOP95; 4.6 EASTMID)

(c)     Stone refacing of hall

Felling date range: Winter 1779/80

Purlins 1779 (14C; 17C); 1778 (10).        Site Master 1702-1779 DETTON2 (t=6.9 BAREFOOT; 6.8 MASTERAL; 6.5 NORTH)

Detton Hall, Neen Savage, is a large farmhouse representing classic piecemeal development.  The earliest unit is a two-bayed jettied cross-wing at the west end which produced a felling date of 1575/6.  It was served by a large outbuilt stone and brick chimneystack which incorporates diaper-work and has four tall star-shaped shafts.  The jetty encompasses three sides and has a moulded bressumer and two dragon-beams.  The unjettied long side is now an external wall but was clearly once an internal partition wall relating to a vanished range beyond.

At right-angles to the crosswing is a two-storied two-bayed hall range with close-studded and tension-bracing matching the basic pattern of the crosswing.  One principal rafter gave a felling date range of 1625-55  which is consistent with the block as a whole.  The purlins, however, have been reset and replaced as part of a refurbishment programme which probably included the application of stone casing to most of the house.  One of the purlins bears what appears to be a crude date inscription of MDCI, but cannot relate to any constructional phase, and the timber in which it was carved was felled in 1779/80, dating this reconstruction work.  The hall range terminates with a gable-stack which has three star-shaped shafts very similar in style to those adjacent to the western cross-wing.

Connecting the western crosswing to the present hall range is a unit which includes an entrance hall and an open well staircase which rises through two stories.  There are no balusters, their place is taken with flat panels pierced by almost haphazard geometric jig-saw like shapes.  Although one sample was taken from this block failed to date, it is probably contemporary with the seventeenth-century hall range.

Beyond the hall the house is further extended by a continuation to the hall range and an eastern crosswing.  These units which proved to be undatable, are stone-built and clearly designed for service purposes.  They are served by an outbuilt stone rear stair-turret which houses an oak spiral staircase.  The ‘mens room’ is at first-floor level and has its own fireplace and contains a separate compartment, perhaps for a senior member of staff or for use as a sick-room.  The chimneystack is again built to match the others.  Although the dendro-dating was limited and only partially successful due to the distressed nature of some of the timber, it is probable that when the jettied west wing was left standing, the whole of the new building programme was completed within fifty years.  What makes Detton Hall particularly interesting is the care that was taken to match features like the framing, the chimneystacks, and the roof heights in with the part that was retained.  Only the very latest extension beyond the eastern service crosswing has a lower roof-line.  The whole is a superb example of piecemeal development and shows how a successful farmhouse could be altered and extended to meet new requirements without wholesale destruction of the existing structure.  The dating was part-commissioned by the owners, Mr and Mrs E. Ratcliff. (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 83)

NEWCASTLE-ON-CLUN, Lower Spoad Farm (SO 257 820)

(a) Western range (house) Felling date range: 1507-13
(b) North-eastern range (barn) Felling date range: 1499-1529

(a) Crucks 1423, 1477(h/s), 1487(32+20C NM), 1488(30+19C NM); (b) Wall plate 1483(h/s); Post 1488(h/s); Crucks 1484(h/s), 1490(h/s), 1495(h/s). Site Master 1310-1495 LWRSPDFM (t = 9.1 CLUN; 8.6 WIGALL46; 7.4 CGFB)

This house is reputed to be the ‘castle’ of Newcastle-on-Clun and is situated on Offa’s Dyke. The original house comprised three north-south bays with four cruck trusses. Bay I (N) was originally floored. It has studs for a first-floor window in the north end truss, and a first-floor doorway in truss 2 (presumably accessed by a ladder stair from the hall). Truss 2 also includes a plank and muntin screen with evidence of the fixing of a dais bench. The central truss of the two-bay hall has an arch-braced collar, and the roof shows limited smoke-blackening. In 1546 (VA 34 (2003), 115), a vast stack was inserted in bay II (serving bay III) with a notable carved mantelbeam depicting a hunting scene, and a ceiling was inserted in this bay, comprising two intersecting beams with mouldings and diagonally-set joists. The house was extended to the south in the later sixteenth or seventeenth century with a box-framed upper-end crosswing which has its own garderobe; this has slightly truncated the southern bay of the hall (timbers with too few rings to sample).

The east-west barn range of two bays (three cruck trusses) is separated by a small gap from bay I of the house. It now incorporates the northern end of the house (bay I and part of bay II). This range had eaves set at a lower level to those of the house (both now raised). Although the two ranges are structurally independent, they are of similar construction, with all the crucks having type B apexes, and it is possible that they are contemporary. Dating commissioned by Madge Moran as part of the Shropshire Dendrochronology Project. (Miles and Bridge 2011, VA 42, list 240)

NEWPORT, The Guildhall (SJ 746 188)

(a)     Main range

Felling dates: Spring 1487

Principal rafters (1/3) 1486 (19¼C); Studs 1470, 1446; Purlin, Collar (0/2).  Site Master 1366-1486 NEWPORT1 (t=5.8 BROOKGT; 5.3 HENLEY; 4.8 EX198HS)

(b)     Wing

Felling dates: Spring 1546

Posts 1545 (24¼C), 1515 (H/S); Mantel beam 1463; Centre rail, Lower tie (0/2).  Site Master 1361-1545 NEWPORT2 (t=8.9 YORKS2; 8.2 BROOKGT; 8.0 EASTMID)

(c)     End bay partition

Felling dates: Spring 1562

Head beam 1561 (16¼C).  Site Master 1423-1561 ngh4 (t=7.7 NEWPORT2; 7.0 EASTMID; 7.0 GIERTZ)

The Guildhall, Newport is a four-bayed box-framed range set gable-end onto the street. Both end bays were floored but the two central bays were open. The central truss is very fne, with stub-ties above jowled posts and a deep-swinging arch brace fashioned in one enormous cusp. There are moulded wall plates and the windbraces are cusped, chamfered and pierced, set to form perfect quatrefoils. The 1546 date relates to an extension set parallel to the street and the 1562 date to the insertion of a partition in the westernmost bay of the hall range. (Paper by M. Moran forthcoming). (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1993, VA 24, list 54)

OSWESTRY, Old Grammar School, Church Street (SJ 288 294)

(a) Primary phase Felling date: Winter 1541/2

(b) Crosswing extension Felling date range: 1563-1593

(a) Corner post 1540(30); Tiebeam 1541(21C); Transverse beam 1541(25C). (b) Tiebeam 1500(H/S), Transverse beam 1552(h/s). Site Master 1356-1552 OSWSTRYGS (t = 8.4 MILKST2; 7.7 SALOP95; 7.7 ARDEN2).

The school was founded by 1407 by David Holbach, a local lawyer. It moved to a larger site in 1776. This building, sited close to the church, is the earliest secular school building in Shropshire. The main two-storey range is of two bays, jettied on three sides with moulding combining ovolo, dentil, and cavetto mouldings. The extension has idiosyncratic framing with queen posts, a central strut, and lozenge work, the principal rafters used as part of the lozenges. A tiebeam produced a felling date range consistent with the first phase work, suggesting that it was reused from part of the building when it was extended. At some stage a pair of upper crucks was inserted, however these were of reused timbers and did not have enough rings to warrant sampling. Dating commissioned by the Friends of the School.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 205)

PLEALY, Brookgate Farm (SJ 424 068)

(a)     Hall range

Felling dates: Spring 1487, Spring 1488, Summer 1488, Winter 1488/9, Spring 1489, Winter 1489/90, Summer 1490

Cruck blades 1490 (34½C), 1489 (19C), 1487 (31¼C), 1486 (22¼C); Arcade post 1489 (28½C); Collar 1488 (17¼C); Purlin/arcade plate   1488 (10C); Aisle tie 1487 (17½C).  Site Master 1362-1611 BROOKGT (t=10.6 GIERTZ; 9.3 EASTMID; 9.0 YORKS2)

(b)     West wing

Felling date ranges: 1533-1568, 1546-1581 subsequently revised to 1541-1571

Rail 1536 (H/S); Stud 1523 (H/S).

(c)     East wing

Felling dates: Spring 1612

Studs 1611 (26¼C), 1583(H/S)²; 1551; Rails 1599 (27), 1582 (H/S).

Brookgate Farm is an unusual concept inasmuch as it has a single-bayed hall of cruck construction and no outstanding merit apart from the close-studded screen at the dais end, coupled with an elaborate spere truss whose posts are jowled both ways, cusping on the V-struts and on the aisle braces, and a carved central boss. The dendrochronology has here shown all these features to be of a single build of 1490.  The 1533-81 (subsequently revised to 1541-71) date relates to an added wing with close studding at the high end of the hall, but there was a functional change in 1612 when a parlour wing in square framing replaced the old service end of the hall and the old solar bay became a service area.  A cast-iron fireback was found bearing the date 1638 and the initials R. P. E.  (Richard and Elinor Peers). See: VCH Shropshire, Vol. 8  (1968), 255. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1993, VA 24, list 54)

PREES, Manor Cottage (SJ 557 335)

Felling dates: Spring 1551, Summer 1551, Winter 1551/2, Winter 1553/4

Cruck blades 1551 (17C), 1553 (17C); Joist 1550 (21¼C); Tiebeam 1551 (11½C); Transverse beam 1553 (22C).  Site Master 1421-1553 MCPREES (t=6.6 MASTERAL; 6.6 EASTMID; 6.6 NORTH)

Manor Cottage, Prees, is situated close to the church and is here dated to 1553/4.  It is the site of the manor house, but the cottage represents a rebuilding exercise one hundred years after the lord of the manor, the bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, had been granted permission to demolish many of his unwanted palaces.  Manor Cottage incorporates a two-bay hall of cruck construction.  The lower end has a contemporary first floor and the end gable is box-framed.  It is likely that there was a solar end beyond the hall, but nothing remains of it.  Much of the original walling survives, and contrary to accepted dicta, continuous verticals occur at the floored end and rectangular framing in the open bays.  The central truss has arch-braces, a type 'A' apex, and rests on stylobates, while the lower-end truss has a type 'D' apex (Alcock 1981, 96) and the crucks are tenoned into the sill-beam.  Both crucks have raking struts from the collars.  No smoke-blackening is present and there is evidence for a smoke-hood or fumbrell against the central truss which was replaced by the present chimneystack.  No signs of either a spere-truss or a screens passage are present; entrance was, presumably, directly into the lower bay of the hall.  An interesting scratched mark was noted on the back side of the lower end tie which may have been a ritualistic or 'runic' charm.  It is hoped to include Manor Cottage in a publication of the work of a Keele University extra-mural class. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part III)

PREES, Providence Grove (SJ 553 334)

Felling dates: Spring 1468, Summer 1468

Floor joists (2/3) 1476 (21¼C), 1476 (15½C).  Site Master 1378-1467 PROVIDNC (t=6.5 MASTERAL; 6.2 YORKS2; 6.1 SENGLAND)

Clearly of two distinct builds, Providence Grove, Prees, is aligned gable-end onto the street.  The later bay faces the street and has an applied date of 1611.  Here the framework has strong overtones of the Cheshire school of carpentry with a jettied gable, herring-bone work, coving and quatrefoil panelling.  The older range behind it produced the date of 1468, but this was from the lodged floor joists which measure 4” x 7”.  Although the floor could have been a later insertion, there is little smoke blackening in the roof and the structure is not consistent with that of an open hall.  Admittedly the older phase may not be complete, but it appears that it was built as a two-bayed floored hall from the start.  It is hoped to include Providence Grove in a publication of the work of a Keele University extra-mural class. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1996, VA 27, list 73)

RUSHBURY, Coats Farm (SO 525 926)

Felling dates: Summer 1486

Principal rafters 1437, 1485 (18½C); Wall plate 1477 (16); Stub-tie 1468 (h/s).  Site Master 1346-1485 COATSFM (t=12.9 SALOP95; 11.3 FORESTR1; 10.0 MASTERAL)

Coats Farm, Rushbury is a box-framed farmhouse dated to 1486.  At some point the service end was replaced with a parlour wing (undated), and it is possible that the external kitchen was incorporated into the complex at the same time.  The two-bay hall remains and is noticeable for the central truss which has low-swinging arch-braces and spurs, both unusual features in Shropshire timber-framing.  There seems to have been provision for a decorative boss.  The screens passage with opposing doors is clearly defined, and is functional.  Some components of the spere-truss are also present.  When the hall was given an inserted floor, chequerboard joists were used.  A deed of 1487 describes John Leyton as ‘of Cotys, gent’ (see VAG Conference Programme 1982, 21). (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1996, VA 27, list 73)

SHAWBURY, 122 Church Street (SJ 558 212)

Felling date: Winter 1682/3

Purlins 1682(18C), 1682(10C); Post 1682(17C). Site Master 1578-1682 SHAWBURY (t = 6.8 OLDHLLFM; 6.5 MEESON; 5.7 MILLEYS1).

Originally a two-bay cottage with central doorway, with an outbuilt stack, it later acquired a lean-to at the back and two dormer gables. The walls are square framed and down-curved windbraces are used in one of the roof bays. Throughout, the timbers are substantial. Dating commissioned by the owner. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 205)

SHAWBURY, Lane End Cottage, Muckleton (SJ 594 213)

Felling dates: Winter 1367/8, Winter 1371/2

Collar purlin 1338(h/s); Crown post 1367(21C); Principal post 1371(28C); Braces (0/2). Site Master 1225-1371 MUCKLTON (t = 7.3 EASTMID; 7.3 MEESON; 7.2 BROOKGT)

The house is of hall and cross-wing plan. The wing, of 1371/2, has large curved angle braces to each of two storeys and a crown-post roof. The straight lateral braces down to the tie and slightly curved longitudinal braces conform to Shropshire typology, and the date puts it towards the middle of the range. The collar purlin has a stop-splayed scarf joint with two face-pegs. The hall was rebuilt in 1621 (inscribed date) with a lobby entry, a hewn jetty on three sides, close studding with a mid rail, and pyramid stops to the spine beam. Dating funded by the Marc Fitch Fund. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 128)

SHREWSBURY, 18-21 Abbey Foregate (‘The Peach Tree’) (SJ 498 125)

a)       West building, 18 & 19 Abbey Foregate

Felling date: Spring 1408

Principal post 1407(21¼C); Cruck 1405(20);  Stud (0/1); Collars (0/2). Site Master 1277-1407 PEACH1 (t=6.3 OWSTON1; 5.4 NEWDIG1; 5.0 ODIHAMOV)

b)      East building, 20 & 21 Abbey Foregate

Felling dates: Winter 1430/31 and Summer 1431

Braces (1/2) 1430(17C); Crucks (2/3) 1430(31½C2); King strut 1424(21); Collar (0/1). Site Master 1300-1430 PEACH2 (t=7.5 MASTERAL; 7.1 NOSTELL1; 6.9 LONDON)

This range comprises two two-bay cruck units of similar construction, each truss having an arch-braced collar-beam; however, they differ by 20 years in date, 1408 for the west and 1430 – 31 for the east building; it is not known whether the trusses incorporated ‘low beams’.  The whole range appears to be part of a terrace of crucks, perhaps similar to that identified at Barrow Street, Much Wenlock (VA 23 (1992), 10-14); they were presumably connected with the nearby Benedictine Abbey.  A gap of only 6 ins (0.15m) separates the two units, raising the question of how the later cruck truss was ‘reared’ against the existing one.  Dating commissioned by the Shrewsbury Civic Society. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 109)

SHREWSBURY, Abbot’s House, Butcher Row (SJ 493 124)

Felling dates: Summer 1457, Late spring 1458

Brace 1457 (17¼C); Corner post 1457 (25¼C); Jetty joist 1450 (19); Post 1457 (21½C); Studs (1/2) 1448 (11).  Site Master 1348-1457 ABBOTSHS (t=7.3 KINGPYON; 6.8 MASTERAL; 5.8 CRESSETT)

The Abbot’s House, Butcher Row, Shrewsbury, is another well-known building which features in many publications  Box-framed and jettied, it is three storeys high and of L-shaped plan. The ground floor consists of a row of small shops which have (restored) medieval shop windows and a cart-entry to the rear. Above the shops are chambers. The quarters on the third storey encompass both ranges, providing a spacious three-bayed open chamber and smaller private rooms. The building can thus be seen to have fulfilled the requirements of a visiting dignitary, as tradition maintains. The roof in both ranges is of queen-strut construction, and the windbraces are plain curved members, decoration being confined to the exterior. Here the corner posts are richly carved, and the tiebeam has a design of interlaced arches, with quatrefoils, knopped colonettes, brattishing and moulding, all seemingly in advance of their time. A row of mortices on the top storey suggest that a continuous oriel window was a prominent feature of the front elevation. Dendrochronology has established that both ranges are contemporary, and were constructed in or immediately after 1458. This accords with documentary evidence which pinpoints a building ceremony in 1459 attended by the Abbot of Lilleshall, his carpenter, and borough officials. (Salop R.O. 3365/387 mid. Ref. Owed to W. A. Champion.) (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1994, VA 25, list 56)

SHREWSBURY, Bear Steps, St Alkmond’s Square (SJ 493 125)

(a)     12a Butcher Row / 12 Fish St

Felling date: Winter 1358/9

Crown braces 1358 (21C); 1329 (H/S); Crown post 0/;1 Rafter 0/1; Corner post 0/1; Transverse beam 0/1.  Site Master: 1224-1358 BEARSTP1 (t=6.3 STOKE2; 6.1 PLOWDEN; 16.0 SALOP95)

(b)     Bear Steps Hall

Crown braces 0/2; Collar purlin 0/1; Tiebeam 0/1; Principal rafter 0/1

(c)     Bear Steps Gallery

Felling dates / date ranges: 1567-1576; Winter 1576/7; Winter 1607/8

Purlin 1576 (23C); Balcony posts (1/2) 1566 (31); Axial beam 1607 (29C).

(d)     The Orrel

Felling dates: Winter 1600/1; Spring 1601

Rafters (1/2) 1600 (30¼C); Purlins 1600 (13¼C); 1600 (13C); Principal rafters 1594 (1/2). Site Master: 1478-1607 BEARSTP2 (t=9.1 SALOP95; 8.8 BROOKGT; 8.4 MASTERAL)

Bear Steps complex, Shrewsbury, occupying a strategic position in the centre of the town, is a development consisting of one long jettied range which originally looked out over the churchyard and market-place.  Phase 1 dating to 1358/9 is a range on the corner of Fish Street and Butcher Row which incorporates a crown-post roof with cusped longitudinal braces.  Cusping also occurs on the quatrefoil panels of the framing above the jetty, making this building the earliest example of developed cusping in Shropshire by almost half-a-century.  Phase two saw the addition of an unjettied open hall (Bear Steps Hall) set tightly against the jettied front of the earlier building, thus obliterating its outlook.  The Hall also has crown-post roof construction, but of a plainer form. Despite reasonable ring counts, this phase failed to date through dendrochronology.  Some time later, an extension towards Fish Street was constructed with a side-purlin and windbraced roof, one of the purlins dating to 1576/7.  Paradoxically, an axial beam from the same structure dated to 1607/8. However, this is probably an insertion as an external gallery added to overlook Fish Street had a principal post which produced a felling date range of 1567-1576, although some of the gallery timbers were re-used.

The last phase to be sampled is the block known as ‘The Orrel’ which dated to 1601 or just after.  This range incorporates shops at two levels with chambers above, and is reminiscent of the Chester Rows in basic design.  It is thought to be known as the ‘Orrel’ because it formed the entrance to what was then the town centre.  ‘The Orrel’ is linked to the Phase 3 extension to Bear Steps Hall through a small stone-built block which contains a fireplace with 16th century moulding.  In the early 1960’s Bear steps Hall and ‘The Orrel’ were restored by F.W.B. Charles.  (See M. Moran and N. Miller Bear Steps, Shrewsbury Civic Society, 1982; F.W.B. Charles Conservation of Timber Buildings, Hutchinson, 1984, 216-8).  Notes by Madge Moran. (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 81)

SHREWSBURY, Clive House (SJ 491 124)

(a)     Primary phase

Felling date range: 1504-1534

(b)     Later extension

Felling dates: Winter 1590/91, Spring 1591

(a) Collar 1438; Principal rafter 1493(1); Purlin 1504(10). (b) Corner post 1581(h/s); Purlin 1590(28C); Tiebeam 1590(18¼C). Site Master 1385-1590 CLIVEHS (t = 10.0 COUNCLHS; 9.4 BROOKGT; 9.4 SALOP95)

The house is so called because of its occupation by Lord Clive of India in the late 18th century. A fashionable six-bay brick block of the 1750s forms the garden front, but the site is part of the College of St Chad, established in the 12th century. The outlines of a medieval timber-framed house can be discerned within the building, including the remains of a spere truss, a lower-end truss, and part of the hall, all dated to 1504-34. Two doorways with elaborately carved heads of 15th-century style are believed to have been brought in. The 1591 dendro date relates to an extension which may have served as a kitchen, its later function. In 1965 the house was purchased by the Corporation of Shrewsbury for use as a museum, but was sold in 2001 and is now in private hands. Dating funded by the Shrewsbury Civic Society. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 128)

SHREWSBURY, The Council House (SJ 495 127)

(a)     North cross-wing

Felling date ranges: 1459-1489; 1460-90; 1465-75; 1466-91

Rafters 1462 (12); 1450 (H/S); 1465 (15); 1461 (11); 1449 (H/S) Collar 1448? (H/S); Purlin (0/1). Site Master 1368-1500 COUNCLHS (t=8.2 BROOKGT; 7.9 SALOP95; 7.9 NGH1125)

(b)     Hall range

Felling dates: Winter 1500/1501; Spring 1501

Principal rafters 1500 (20¼C); 1500 (18C); King strut 1476 (H/S); Queen strut 1481 (1); Intermediate rail 1482 (2).

Built within the outer bailey of the Castle, The Council House was the headquarters of the historic Council of the Marches when it sat at Shrewsbury.  Normally based at Ludlow, it was formed during Edward IV’s reign, ratified by Henry VII, and finally abolished in 1689, it was both a judicial and administrative body, virtually governing Wales and the border counties to the west of Offa’s Dyke.  Although the house has extensions of the seventeenth century and later, the core comprises two phases.  The first is a crosswing with a felling date range of 1465-75 and comprises a roof of tie and collar-beam construction with one open arch-braced collar-beam truss, and another of lesser importance.  The windbraces are thick, short and cusped, with the spandrels reduced to a minimum.

The ‘hall’ range dates to 1501 with a roof containing two tiers of slightly-cusped plank windbraces with a nick cut in to the backs.  It seems clear that the hall range with its higher roof line was designed to make use of the roof-space as it has a fully-framed floor at second floor level and a framed door giving access from the older crosswing which was, presumably, partially floored across at this time.  The ‘hall’ was truncated at some time ad subdivision of the whole complex has led to difficulties of interpretation, but the felling date of 1501 coincides with a deed dated 18th September 1500 which specifies a transfer from Elizabeth Kynaston to Peter Newton.  He was Chancellor to the Council under Henry VII and it seems likely that he built or re-built the hall against the earlier solar wing.  (Shropshire Records and Research, 6000/9391; H. Owen & J.B. Blakeway, History of Shrewsbury, vol 1, (1825), 272,3)  Dating was commissioned by the Owen Family Trust. (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 83)

SHREWSBURY, 91 Frankwell (SJ 488 129)

Felling date: Summer 1447

Principal post 1428(h/s); Wall plate 1435(h/s); Transverse beam 1446(15½C). Site Master 1389-1446 FRANK91 (t = 7.4 SMMRSFRM; 6.7 LATTON; 6.7 MOTISFNT)

When Drinkwater Street was cut through in 1882 (J. L. Hobbs, Shrewsbury Street Names (1954), 46) it left part of a box-framed building on the north side (No. 91). This building appears to be the rear wing of a street-facing property, and although nothing remains internally of medieval date, the external framing is noteworthy for its large open rectangles with large curving wall braces at bay intervals, now dated to 1447. Dating commissioned by the Shrewsbury Civic Society. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 128)

SHREWSBURY, 127 Frankwell (Lyth Hudson’s) (SJ 488 128)

Felling dates: Winter 1609/10 and Spring 1610

Purlins (2/3) 1609(30C, 16¼C); Principal rafters 1609(15¼C), 1582(3+21CNM); Principal posts 1609(19¼C), 1594(5).  Site Master 1511-1609 HUDSON (t=7.1 EASTMID; 6.8 WALES97; 6.4 SALOP95)

This house comprises a three-storied box-framed range of three bays, jettied at both main floor levels and incorporating close-studding with a mid-rail, moulded bressumers, and S-braces demarcating the main bay divisions.  The ground floor may always have been shops, as at present.  The roof is of queen-post construction and what was presumably a ‘great parlour’ at first-floor level has the remnants of an elaborate plaster ceiling.  The date of 1610 makes it a late example of the work of the ‘Shrewsbury school of carpentry’ whose great flowering was in the last quarter of the 16th century.  Dating commissioned by the Shrewsbury Civic Society. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 109)

SHREWSBURY, 165 Frankwell (SJ 489 128)

Felling dates: Winter 1601/2 and Spring 1603

Purlins 1602 (41¼C), 1601 (24C), 1575 (+24-30C); Strut 1567 (H/S).  Site Master 1387-1602 FRANK165 (t=11.0 SALOP95; 10.3 EASTMID; 9.7 UPWICH3)

A shop built in 1603, 165 Frankwell (Ashley Lighting), was given an improved trading position when the Welsh bridge was re-aligned in the 17990’s. Although containing much early 20th century work, the structure is notable for its original over-size scantling which includes two spine-beams with lambs’ tongue stops and a bressumer with triple ovolo-and quirk moulding.  The roof bressumer is of principal rafter and queen-post design.  Included in the twentieth-century remodelling is the framed and jettied gable on the northern side.  Dating was commissioned by the Shrewsbury Civic Society. (Miles and Worthington 2001, VA 32, list 118)

SHREWSBURY, Henry Tudor House, Wyle Cop (SJ 493 125)

Felling dates: Winter 1430/31

Collars 1410 (3); 1430 (23C); Wallplate 1429 (25+1NM).  Site Master 1275-1430 HTUDORHS (t=5.7 MASTERAL; 5.6 YORKS1; 5.2 SENG1)

Henry Tudor House, Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury, is a large three-storied box-framed and jettied town property, set parallel to the street and divided by a wide cart-entry into two halves, one domestic and one commercial.  The frontage is reasonably regular with traceried windows in the upper stories, coving, exposed bull-nosed joists and some cusped braces.  The roof is of side-purlin construction, with cusping on the windbraces.  Tie-and-collar-beam trusses have central king-struts and raking queen-struts which support the purlins directly.  This contrasts with the crown-post roof contained in the back building, now known as the Lion Tap (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1994, 32-5) which had a felling date of 1426.  As both buildings were clearly part of the same complex, the dates suggest that re-building after the fire of 1392 began with the industrial range (the Lion Tap) and finished with the street-facing units here dated to 1430/31.  Henry VII, when duke of Richmond, is reputed to have stayed in the house whilst on his way to Bosworth where he defeated Richard III. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part III)

SHREWSBURY, The King’s Head, Mardol (SJ 489 127)

Felling dates: Summer 1403, Spring 1404

Tiebeam 1403 (16½C); Wallplate 1403 (12¼C); Corner posts (0/2); Stud (0/1).  Site Master 1353-1403 KINGSHD (t=6.5 UPWICH2; 6.1 MASTERAL; 6.1 BOWHILL)

Situated close to the Welsh bridge and the quayside, The King’s Head is a three-storied structure of double pile form jettied at each floor level and with open framing which includes cusped braces in the end panels.  Two six-light windows with ogee tracery in the heads are a feature of the second storey, and bull-nosed joists are exposed at each floor jetty level.  The double-jowl post, indicative of a double pile form, would have had greater prominence when the roof was twin-gabled.  At present there is a continuous roofline and the roof structure relates to the alteration.  Originally there may have been crown-post construction in each gable.  In a rear wing the room at ground level, which appears to have been a hall, contains a brick-built chimney on which there is a recently-discovered medieval painting of the Last Supper, the Annunciation and a third register which is difficult to decipher.  The painting may be coeval with the framing, or applied soon after the framing was completed in 1404.  See reports to Arrol and Snell from the School of History & Archaeology, University of Wales, Cardiff (1989); the Conservation of Wall Painting Dept. (1987), Courtauld Institute; and a report by Jim Davis (1988). (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part III)

SHREWSBURY, The Lion Tap, Wyle Cop (SJ 493 125)

(a)     Primary phase

Felling date: Late spring 1426

Arch brace 1425 (29¼C); Tiebeam 1423 (13).  Site Master 1353-1425 LIONTAP (t=8.9 BROOKGATE; 8.5 MASTERAL; 7.9 KINGPYON)

(b)     Rebuilt end

Felling date: Summer 1599

Corner post 1599 (29½C); Rail 1570.  Site Master 1432-1599 LIONTAP2 (t=7.0 CALLGHTN; 6.9 Yorks2; 6.8 NORTH)

The Lion Tap, Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury, is so called because at one time it served as the taproom to the Lion Hotel. It is a long three-storeyed jettied building with a crown-post roof, and runs back at right angles from the street-facing range which is known as Henry Tudor Home, on account of the legend that Henry stayed there overnight on his way to fight Richard III at Bosworth. The Lion Tap was probably associated with industry of some kind, possibly wool processing, and was clearly part of a larger complex. The crown posts, at 5ft, are the tallest in Shropshire. They are cruciform in section, with two of the ‘arms’ carried down for six inches to clasp the tiebeam, with the other pair clasping the collar purlin above. This is a common Shrewsbury practice. The lateral braces are down-swinging and concave and there is no decoration of any kind. (See VAG Conference Programme 1982, 14, where the building is called the Trotting Horse.) While the felling date of 1426 refers to the primary phase, the side purlins and the braces between the tiebeam and the principal rafters are later additions, as is the end wall, to which the later date of 1599 refers. At this time the building changed from an industrial to a domestic role and was divided into three dwellings. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1994, VA 25, list 56)

SHREWSBURY, The Nag’s Head Hall, Wyle Cop (SJ 494 124)

(a)     Hall range

Felling dates: Summer 1420, Spring 1421, Summer 1421, Spring 1422

Joists 1420 (13¼C); 1421 (20½C), 1421 (29¼C); Doorpost 1420 (10¼C); Tiebeam 1420 (28½C); Principal rafter 1418 (17); Principal post 1399 (H/S).  Site Master 1313-1421 NAGSHEAD (t=8.3 LIONTAP; 7.7 MASTERAL; 7.6 CRESSETT)   

(b)     Front range

Felling dates: Spring 1419

Cornerpost 1418 (21¼C).

The Nag’s Head Hall, Wyle Cop, is situated at the rear of the public house and between the inner and outer town wall, is incomplete.  The hall was demolished in the 1950s, leaving exposed the spere truss, the screens passage and the service end.  The spere truss is of tripartite form but without continuous aisle-posts.  It is richly  decorated with cusped panels, brattishing and moulding, and it retains a crown-post roof truss in which there is six-way bracing.  All the braces are cusped, two of the laterals down-swing to the tie in normal Salopian fashion, but a further pair up-swing to the collar.  The crown-post is typical of the Shrewsbury style in being cruciform in plan, the limbs extending to straddle the tiebeam, thus effecting a strong joint and giving a decorative impression.  The three service doorways have ogee-heads, and independent access to the gallery above the passage was via an external staircase, through an arched doorway at first-floor level and an inner doorway which has a decorative head.  It is likely that the solar was above the service rooms; there would have been insufficient space beyond the hall.  The Nag's Head itself produced a 1419 felling date and is linked to the remains of the hall house which dated to 1422.  In 1392 a fire is recorded as having destroyed much of Wyle Cop (VA conf. Prog. 1982, 16). (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part III)

SHREWSBURY, The Old Mansion, St Mary’s Street (SJ 493 126)

(a)     Primary phase

Felling dates: Summer/autumn 1366

Rafters (2/4) 1359 (6); 1365 (16½C); Posts 1355 (h/s); 1353 (h/s); Stud (0/1).  Site Master 1299-1365 OLDMANS1 (t=6.6 LLANSHAY; 6.2 LUDLOW4; 6.1 PLOWDEN2)

(b)     South-west Range

Felling date range: 1615-1649 subsequently revised to 1615-1645

Centre post 1606 (2); Tiebeam, purlin, stud, principal rafter (0/4).  Site Master 1514-1606 om14 (t=5.4 MASTERAL; 5.1 OLDHLLFM; 5.0 LANGLEY)

The Old Mansion is a II* listed house hidden away in a courtyard within Shrewsbury town centre.  The original part of the complex is situated to the NE corner of the block and consists of two complete bays of an open hall, here dated to 1366, with evidence for a further bay to the west separated by remains of an original smoke-blackened daub partition.  There is an extensive stone undercroft approached via a stone spiral staircase which may relate to an earlier, thirteenth century, building.  The original roof structure remains in the eastern two bays and is virtually complete above collar level.  Three crown-posts were found, with down-braces to the tiebeam. The line of these braces is followed beneath by the braces from the tie to the principal posts, creating an overall ogee effect.  Evidence for up-braces to a collar purlin was noted, but only one section of collar purlin survives in situ.  One soulace was found, again in situ, with evidence of others in all the other common rafter couples, a feature hitherto unrecorded in this roof type in the county.  Some first-floor framing survives to the rear (south) wall, including a window opening. No original framing was visible at ground-floor level.

The hall range was later extended to the south with an in-line extension to the west, incorporating the remains of the third bay from Phase 1. Both these extensions are likely to be early post-medieval in date.  The final phase, to the south-west, consists of a pair of timber-framed gables facing south, and houses the main staircase as well as subsidiary rooms.  The wall-frame is close-studded, with straight up-braces and V-struts over the gable windows.  The early to mid seventeenth-century designs of the carved finials and flat balusters of the staircase, an ovolo-moulded window, and the timber framing are confirmed by the dating of 1615-1649 (subsequently revised to 1615-1645).

It is thought that the Old Mansion might be the property known as ‘Jones’ Mansion’ owned from the end of the sixteenth century by the Jones family.  In the early seventeenth century Jones’ Mansion was owned by Thomas Jones, an influential individual who served from 1601 as Bailiff, was appointed Sheriff in 1624, became the first Mayor of Shrewsbury in 1638, and was host to Prince Rupert during the civil war.  An eighteenth-century plaque hanging in the present stairhall commemorates these appointments, and this plaque was described by the antiquary H. Owen in 1808 as hanging in the old hall of Jones’ Mansion.  However, there is some question as to which of the group of buildings in Church Street was actually Jones’ Mansion.

Now unoccupied, a substantial course of repairs to The Old Mansion is proposed, and in association with this, a thorough analysis of the building has been carried out by Richard K. Morriss, with a preliminary report produced in April 1995 (Morriss 1995).

The main objectives of the dendrochronological study are to confirm the fourteenth-century date for the important roof structure of the original Hall, and by dating the last phase of building to the south-west, to provide an end date for the sequence of buildings on the site.  For further details see Miles, D H,  1996  The Tree-ring dating of the Old Mansion, St Mary’s Street, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, Anc Mon Lab Rep, 24/96 (Miles 1996, VA 27, list 70)

SHREWSBURY, 2 Milk Street (SJ 492 124)

(a)     Rear range

Felling dates: Spring 1467

Purlins (1/2) 1466 (25¼C); Tiebeam 1466 (18¼C); Raking strut 1445 (7); Collar 1446 (h/s); Wallplate 1446 (13); Doorpost, window jamb (0/2). Site Master 1353-1466 MILKST1 (t=5.9 MASTERAL; 5.5 SHERNAVE; 5.5 SALOP95)

(b)     Front range

Felling dates: Spring 1566

Rafter 1565 (22¼C); Posts 1544 (18); 1538 (8); V-strut 1555 (4); Purlins (1/2) 1538 (h/s); Principal rafter 1542 (h/s); Doorpost (0/1). Site Master 1392-1565 MILKST2 (t=10.1 SALOP95; 9.6 MASTERAL; 9.6 NORTH)

(c)     Reconstruction of front range roof

Felling dates: Spring 1655

Upper ‘cruck’ principal rafter 1654 (25¼C); Post (0/1).  Site Master 1529-1654 ms19 (t=6.1 MASTERAL; 5.5 OLDHLLFM; 5.2 OXON93)

No. 2 Milk Street together with No. 3 form a group of three buildings on the east side of Milk Street.  The main range of 2 Milk Street is three bays running parallel to the road and including an original driveway to the rear courtyard.  The building is timber-framed and was originally jettied. When built about 1566 it was of two stories, but subsequently had another half-storey added to it about 1655. This included three gables with some ornamental blind windows and star panels with spikes flanking the main windows at the front.  The close-studding continues below the new wall plate.  At the rear, however, the raised section has diamond bracing between the studs. In a drawing dated 1821, there were two large box oriels at first-floor level.

To the rear is a single-bay jettied building dating to 1467, fronting onto the courtyard with remains for a shopfront consisting of a door and window, with evidence for a second window to the west.  The north elevation is close-studded above the shopfront, whereas the back wall is close-studded at ground-floor level, but large-panel with one midrail at first-floor level.  This range may have continued to the east, and may lie encased in the buildings belonging to the present public house, previously the Old Post Office Hotel.  A feature is the roll-and-hollow form of the jetty bressumer. The block is very similar in form and date to the better-known block that comprises The Abbots House in Butcher Row.

For most of this century the property has been known as Proud’s Mansion, presumed to have been built for a wealthy draper, George Proud, in 1568 (Forrest 1912).  However, this has been dismissed by later writers on the grounds that the building was not of the same quality as other fine town houses of the period, and that it more than likely occupied the site to the north at the junction with the High Street (Morriss 1994).  The dendro date of 1566 would however accord well with the Proud’s building.

The dendrochronology was undertaken to try and give a chronology to the development of the site, and to determine if the rear building predated the front range, and when and to what extent the main range was heightened (Miles, D H,  1996  Tree-ring dating of 2 Milk Street, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, Anc Mon Lab Rep, 25/96). (Miles 1996, VA 27, list 70)

SHREWSBURY, Rigg’s Hall (SJ 493 128) 

a)       South end fragmentary truss

Felling date range: 1413-1443

Crown post 1407 (H/S); Principal rafters 1403 (3), 1400 (H/S).

b)      Solar wing

Felling date range1405-1435

Collar purlin 1398 (H/S); Stud 1389 (H/S); Centre wall post 1395; Principal rafter (0/1). Site Master 1325-1407 RIGGSHAL (t=9.7 KINGSHD; 8.8 LUDLOW4; 7.4 NAGSHEAD)

Rigg’s Hall is one of a group of buildings, once housing Shrewsbury School but now used as Shrewsbury’s Public Library.  The unit known as ‘Rigg’s’ and interpreted as a solar block has a stone ground-floor storey surmounted by timber-framing.  The framed part has crown-posts in the end trusses but the central truss is of arch-braced collar-beam construction.  The collar-beam has a central mortice to allow the collar-purlin to be purposefully threaded through; it is not dropped into a trench cut at a later date.  Thus, two techniques are skilfully combined, perhaps indicating a transitional phase but more likely to acquire an open truss in the centre, dispensing with intrusive crown-posts.  The crown-posts are of T-section with the limb extending down the tiebeam, normal for Shrewsbury, and the lateral braces are down-swinging and cusped.  Cusping also occurs on the external angle-braces, both up and down, and similarly on the transverse trusses.  This unit has produced a felling date range of 1405-1435.

At right angles to that unit is a linking block of indeterminate date ending in a truss which also displays crown-post roofing, but this time with a plane crown-post and short straight down-braced laterals.  Its nature has led to its being regarded as a relic from an earlier phase, but the dendrochronology has produced a similar felling date range of 1413-1443.  This means that the published account stands in need of revision and that the probable interpretation is that of an open hall unit with plain crown-post roofing and a solar cross-wing of more advanced and decorative design (M O H Carver (ed), Two Town Houses in Medieval Shrewsbury, T.S.A.S. Vol LXI (1983), p 67-8).  In 1401-2 David Holebatch, a prominent lawyer and bailiff of Shrewsbury in 1413-13 was granted leave to build on this site (Bod. Lib, MS  Gough Shropshire 12, fo. 98, reference kindly provided by Bill Champion).  There may have been an interval before the permit was taken up but the documentry evidence points to an earlier rather than later date within the felling date ranges.  Dating was commissioned by the Shrewsbury Civic Society. (Miles and Worthington 2001, VA 32, list 118)

SHREWSBURY, Shrewsbury Castle (SJ 495 128)

(a)     Stairway lintels plus one reset timber       

Felling date range (OxCal modelled): 1233-45 (unrefined 1234-49)

(b)     Ground floor and Hall Screen     

Felling date:  1647-8

All timbers (20/32): (a) Reset door lintel 1173(7); Lintels over stairs 1192, 1193, 1208(H/S), 1213(H/S), 1214(H/S), 1215(H/S), 1216(H/S), 1223(H/S);  (b) Ground floor beams 1620(11), 1622(H/S), 1625(H/S), 1626(H/S), 1630(+17C); Screen timbers 1626, 1632(8), 1636(14).  Site Masters (a) 1058-1223 SHRWCST1 (t = 7.7 ENGLAND; 7.4 NANTWICH; 7.1 WALES97); (b) 1498-1647 SHRWCST2 (t = 9.5 GOLDING; 9.3 E.MIDLANDS; 9.0 SALOP95)

Shrewsbury Castle was founded shortly after the Norman conquest. After the pacification of the Welsh in the late-thirteenth century it fell into decline. It was refortified in the Civil War, and then became a private dwelling in the eighteenth century, being largely remodelled by Thomas Telford. Surprisingly little is known about the history of the existing fabric, and dendrochronological investigation of the Hall range was requested in order to inform on-going conservation plans.  Construction of the Hall was thought to have begun in AD 1164, although it is commonly accepted that the Castle was rebuilt c AD 1280 by Edward I as part of his campaign to fortify the Welsh Border (M. Moran pers comm).  It was subsequently enlarged in AD 1596. Dating commissioned by English Heritage. M. Bridge and D. Miles, ‘Tree-Ring Analysis of Timbers from Shrewsbury Castle, Shrewsbury, Shropshire’, CfA report, 57/2005. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 180)

STOKESAY, Stokesay Castle (SO 436 817)

(a)     First phase

Felling dates: Winter 1261/2 and Winter 1262/3

South Passage: joists 1262 (29C); 1261 (14C); 1230 (H/S);  1218.  Solar Undercroft: inner door posts 1245 + (16C±1NM); 1242 (2); Inner door plank 1192. Site Master: 1088-1262 STOKE1 (t=12.2 STOKE2; 9.4 PLOWDEN1; 8.9 GTOXNBLD)

(b)     Second phase

Felling dates: Spring 1285 through Spring 1290

North Tower Undercroft: Door plank 1241; Main beams 0/2; Bolsters 0/1; Braces 0/1; wall post 0/1; Joists 0/2; First floor: Brace 1286 (29¼C); Main beam 1280 (28); Wall post 1254; Floor boards 1279 (16); 1118; Second floor: Joist 1289 (29¼C); Wall plate 1247 (H/S); Posts 1262 (H/S); 1240; 1174; Great Hall: Crucks 1283 (31¼C); 1284 (25¼C; 49¼C); 1289 (30C); 1267 (H/S); Principal rafter 1289 (20¼C); Rafter 1284 (17¼C); Arch braces (2/3) 1287 (23½C); 1288 (23½C); Arcade plate 1242 (H/S); Solar Undercroft ceiling: Main beam 1242 (H/S); Bolster 1264 (5) +25±1NM; Hall roof: Rafters (1/2) 1288 (47½C).  Site Master: 1046-1289 STOKE2 (t=13.0 MASTERAL; 12.6 SOUTH; 12.1 NORTH)

(c)     South Tower

Felling date ranges: After 1535, after 1541

Door panels 1524; 1530.  Site Master: 1390-1530 STOKE3 (t=9.2 GIERTZ; 9.1 NORTH; 8.7 SALOP95)

(d)     North Tower 2nd floor

Felling date: Summer 1578

Stud to NW projection 1577 (35½C)

(e)     South Tower Inserted floor

Felling dates: After 1595; Winter 1640/41

First floor main beam 1640 (22C); Joists (1/2) 1584.

(f)      Gatehouse

Felling dates: Summer 1639; Winter 1639/40; Winter 1640/41

Axial beam 1638 (23½C); Purlins (2/4) 1639 (35C; 31C); Rafters (2/3) 1640 (34C; 38C); Panelling: Panels (2/5) 1415; 1628; Main gate: Boards (1/2) 1472+138NM. Site Master: 1449-1640 STOKE4 (t=8.7 BEDSTONE; 8.6 SALOP95; 8.4 NORTH)

(g)     Solar panelling

Felling date range: After 1639

Panels 1628.

(h)     Gatehouse alterations

Felling date: Summer 1652

Inserted door to attic 1651 (20½C)

(i)      Solar Undercroft cellar

Felling dates: Winter 1661/2; Winter 1662/3

Main beams 1662 (13C; 14C); Joists     1661 (27C); 1662 (23C); Partition soleplate (0/1) Site Master: 1463-1662 STOKE5 (t=9.9 SALOP95; 9.4 MASTERAL; 8.9 NORTH)

(j)      Miscellaneous re-used timbers

Great Hall:

Felling dates: Spring 1606; 1630-1660

Strut under staircase 1605 (33¼C); Centre string lower staircase 1619 (H/S).

South passage roof:

Felling date ranges: 1271-1301; 1280-1310

Collar 1151; Rafters 1260 (H/S); 1269 (H/S)

Unprovenanced timber

Felling date range: After 1044

?Rafter 1033 Site Master: 925-1033 sc2 (t=8.3 NORTH; 8.3 MASTERAL; 7.9 STAFFORD)


Felling date range: 1601-1631

?Rafter 1590 (H/S)

Stokesay Castle on the Welsh Border is one of England’s finest examples of a medieval fortified manor house.  The earliest phase identified dates from 1262/3 and includes the lower part of South Passage Block, as well as a re-set door and frame in the Solar Undercroft.  It had been suggested that the lower storey of the North Tower was earlier, but none of the timber comprising the North Tower undercroft ceiling was suitable for dating.  However, floor boards immediately above this ceiling were found to be coeval with the upper floors of the North Tower, Solar Undercroft and roof, and the Great Hall roof, with latest felling dates of 1290.  The Hall roof is a remarkable construction consisting of a hybrid mixture of raised crucks, aisled end trusses, and an unusual example of collar-purlin without crown posts.  The floors in the North Tower and Solar are supported on substantial beams on massive brackets.  The original roof of individual rafter couples with soulaces and ashlars, hipped with gablets at each end, survives over the Solar, but has been replaced in outline on the North Tower.  The archaeological evidence, as postulated by R. A. Cordingley,  supports the Hall, Solar and North Tower as being of one phase, and this has been confirmed by the dendrochronology. Subsequent alterations identified in the North Tower included a northward extension to the jettied top storey shortly after 1578, and the Solar Undercroft floor being replaced in or shortly after 1662/3.

The Gatehouse is an elaborately carved and jettied structure, and was found to date from 1640/41, just as the Civil War was beginning.  A door jamb in the attic dated to 1652, indicating an alteration to the staircase to the top floor.  Fragments of panelling originating from the Gatehouse as well as the Solar were found to have been felled after 1639 and may be part of the 1640’s phase. No original timberwork survives in the South Tower, but a replacement first floor ceiling with moulded beams was found to date from 1640/41, obviously part of the same building campaign as the Gatehouse.  Fragments of the external door to the South Tower was found to have been felled after 1541.

Photographs taken by John Bailey of the Ancient Monuments Laboratory of the faces of doors and underside of floorboards from the Solar and North Tower undercrofts has enabled the dating of these features which would have otherwise been impossible to sample non-destructively.  The dating was arranged by Tony Fleming and Dr Glyn Coppack of Historic Properties Midlands. (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 81)

STOTTESDON, Hall Farm (SO 672 829)

(a)     Main range

Felling dates: Summer 1452, Spring 1454

Rafters 1430 (4+21½C NM), 1453 (17¼C); Purlin 1433 (h/s); Principal rafter (0/1).  Site Master 1391-1453 stt1 (t=6.0 TICKNHM1; 5.4 TYDDYN; 5.3 BOWHILL)

(b)     Inserted floors

Felling date range: 1534-1568 subsequently revised to 1534-1564

Tiebeam 1523 (h/s); Transverse beam (0/1).  Site Master 1420-1523 stt5 (t=9.6 MC16; 8.5 GIERTZ; 8.4 SALOP95)

The form of the house and its location close to the church suggest that Hall Farm Stottesdon had a dual purpose as a farmhouse and as an administrative building, perhaps where church courts were held.  The upper storey, which was open to the roof, consists of four bays, each fourteen feet long and covering the whole of the lower floor.  Clearly a hall of some kind, each truss has rebated purlins and principal rafters, giving chamfered fillets.  Where they meet a type of “masons’ mitre” employed.  It is possible that the upper storey was added at the time specified by the dendro-dating - 1454.  In the ground floor parts of the stone walls are four feet thick and there are some flat-laid joists.  A three-part medieval house-plan can be identified at this level and one room at the eastern end later received an elaborate ceiling and a chimneystack incorporating a dog wheel. A date range of 1534-1568 (subsequently revised to 1534-1564) can be assigned to an inserted tiebeam relating to an inserted ceiling upstairs. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1996, VA 27, list 73)

UPTON CRESSETT, Upton Cressett Hall (SO 656 924)

(a)     Hall range

Felling dates: Early winter 1427, Early summer 1431, Winter 1431/2

Arcade post 1413 (17); Principal rafter 1427 (21C); Rafters 1427 (16+4NM); 1430 (24¼C) 1431(25C).  Site Master 1298-1498 CRESSETT (t=10.9 MASTERAL; 8.3 SENGLAND; 7.6 OXON93)

(b)     Cross wing

Felling date: Late spring 1428, Late spring 1430

Principal rafter 1407 (1); Purlin 1427 (19¼C); Queen strut 1409 (H/S); Windbrace 1429 (16¼C).

(c)     Cross wing extension

Felling date: Summer 1498

Queen strut 1498 (21½C).

Upton Cressett Hall is part of a hilltop settlement mentioned in Domesday but now shrunk to the church, the Hall and its gatehouse. The hall has been truncated and, as with Easthope, this has removed vital evidence of its form, which may have been fully aisled but could equally well have been of base-cruck construction. Two aisled trusses remain, and the crown-post roof is typically Salopian with a short plain T-shaped crown post and down-swinging cusped lateral braces. Decoration occurs in the form of quarter-round moulding with a fillet on the arch braces and brattishing on the arcade plates, as well as a decorative boss. The four-bayed solar cross wing produced felling dates of 1428 and 1430 and appears to be coeval with the hall, which had dates ranging from 1427 to 1431/2. The cross wing has alternate queen-strut and open arch-braced trusses, with clasped purlins, plain curved windbraces and steeply cambered tiebeams. A long extension to the solar wing has a very plain queen-strut roof and was added in 1498. This whole range was cased in brick and given elaborate chimneystacks in 1580. Later still the hall too was cased in brick. The Gatehouse is brick-built and although not sampled it is likely to relate to the 1580s or shortly afterwards. (See VAG Conference Programme 1982, 9.) (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1994, VA 25, list 56)

UPPER MILLICHOPE, The Forester’s Lodge (SO 521 894)

(a)     First floor ceiling

Felling dates: Winter 1450/51

Joists 1450 (18C, 23C).  Site Master 1352-1450 FORESTR1 (t=8.8 MASTERAL; 8.5 NAGSHEAD; 8.1 PLOWDEN2)

(b)     Ground floor ceiling

Felling dates: Summer 1633

Joists 1633 (20½C², 22½C).  Site Master 1515-1633 FORESTR2 (t=6.7 EASTMID; 6.5 MASTERAL; 6.2 HABBERLY)

The Forester’s Lodge, Upper Millichope, is a stone-built first-floor hall-house which has six-foot thick walls, an internal spiral staircase, sitting-windows with nail-head ornament, draw-bars and monolithic central mullions, and other features which suggest a date of c.1280 or earlier (Moran and James).  The joists at both floor levels are made from whole or half-trees, roughly hewn and set closely (VAG Conf. Prog. 1982, 22).  It was hoped that the sampling would clarify the dating of the stonework but the dendrochronology has shown that the first floor ceiling joists were felled in 1450/51, and the ground floor ceiling joists felled in 1633.  It is clear that the whole of the north-west wall was rebuilt, and that this occurred at one of these two dates.  It is surprising that as late as 1633 the floor would be replaced in a manner which, if not identical to the original, was clearly in the medieval tradition. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part III)

UPTON MAGNA, Cruck Cottage, 12 & 13 Upton Magna (SJ 553 125)

(a)     Primary phase

Felling dates: Summer 1269

Cruck blades 1189, 1269 (13½C, 36½C).  Site Master 1128-1269 UPTNMAG1 (t=5.9 EASTMID; 5.7 COXWELL; 5.3 MASTERAL)

(b)     Reconstruction phase

Felling dates: Summer 1424, Winter 1425/6, Spring 1426

Purlin 1425 (21C); Windbrace 1424 (17½C); Cruck blade (0/1); Yoke 1425 (15¼C).  Site Master 1357-1425 UPTNMAG2 (t=8.2 MASTERAL; 7.1 FORESTR1; 6.3 NORTH; 6.0 KINGSHD)

Cruck Cottage, Upton Magna, was formally known as Nos. 12 & 13 Upton Magna.  Three cruck trusses are contained in the cottage.  Two are set inside the sill-beams and have features including redundant notch-laps which suggest that they are re-used timbers.  All four blades are wrought from whole trees, are roughly finished with an axe, and were supported on stylobates at or below the present floor level.  Both trusses gave a felling date of 1269 which, though not the earliest documented date for a cruck building in the British Isles, it is the earliest date obtained so far for crucks in a standing building.  Although the provenance of the crucks is not certain, they probably represent on-site remodelling.  When the redundant lap-joints are compared, a pattern of scissor-bracing on both trusses is suggested.  The 1426 date relates to features associated with this remodelling including the third, end cruck truss which was half-hipped and is fully integrated with the sill-beam and other components of the present structure.  The 1269 crucks were rejointed at this time with a type 'A' apex (Alcock 1981, 96) with a yoke. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part III)

WESTBURY, Upper Lake (SJ 371 068)

Felling dates: Summer 1545, Winter 1545/6, Spring 1546, and Winter 1547/8

Tiebeam 1542(10); Crucks 1543(17), 1546(23½C); Collar 1545(11C); Purlins 1545(24C), 1544(28½C);  Wall plate 1517(1); Cruck stud 1545(19¼C).  Site Master 1418-1546 UPRLAKE (t=11.7 BROOKGT; 10.5 SALOP95; 9.7 MALPAS1)

This former farmhouse is the sole remaining building in the hamlet of Lake.  Of piecemeal development, the oldest part of the complex is a cruck range of which three trusses survive, one of which was the central truss of a two-bay hall.  Two trusses have the expected L2 apex but the third has a type ‘G’ apex which is unusual for Shropshire.  The central truss retains evidence for a ‘low beam’.  A moulded re-used beam is thought to have come from a coved canopy over the dais.  The wall-plates are of a most unusual form, chamfered to such a degree as to make them almost of triangular section.  The felling date of 1547/8 identifies the builders as the Treves family who owned the medieval freehold between 1540 and 1691 (VCH Shropshire Vol. 8 (1968), 306).  Dating commissioned by English Heritage in support of the Shropshire Dendrochronology Project and as part of a dendrochronology training programme at Oxford University, see Worthington, M J, and Miles, D W H 2001  The Tree-Ring Dating of Upper Lake, Westbury, Shropshire, Centre for Archaeol Rep, 42/2001.  The house was recorded by the Whitchurch Buildings Recording Group. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 109)

WHITCHURCH, 28 Watergate (SJ 543 414)

Felling dates: Spring 1593 and Spring 1597

Corner posts 1592 (33¼C), 1577 (H/S); Studs 1592 (21¼C), 1596 (23¼C); Rails 1571 (1), 1567 (H/S), 1564 (H/S); Post 1581 (H/S); Brace 1513 (H/S); Tiebeam 1530. Site Master 1416-1596 WHGHWHIT (t=15.4 IGHTFELD; 13.7 SALOP95; 11.4 EASTMID)

This property borders the area of the old town pool and has the outward appearance of a double-fronted Victorian shop, but recent stripping-out revealed a box-framed structure, 2-bayed and with a large inserted stack and a contrived passageway from front to back.  Original features include an ogee-headed doorway and a small unglazed window with three short crudely-shaped mullions.  The original plan was of an open single-bayed hall flanked by a floored parlour bay.  The ground-floor parlour was embellished with wall-paintings of a simple floral type linked with banding to form lozenges.  The pigments have been analysed as indigo, red lead, natural ochre and charcoal, and show not only that the paintings were applied some time after the building had settled but were renewed thereafter at intervals (C. Hassall ‘Paint Analysis Report, no. W175c’ to North Shropshire District Council, 2000).  The two end trusses remain reasonably intact and include long tension-braces and jowled heads to the posts, the late date of 1597 compatible with what is known of timber-framing in north Shropshire and particularly with 17-23 Watergate (the old Raven Inn) opposite (M Moran Vernacular Buildings of Whitchurch and Area and their Occupants, Logaston Press (1999), 75-88), which produced a felling date of 1625 (VA 28, 168, 170) Dating commissioned by North Shropshire District Council. (Miles and Worthington 2001, VA 32, list 118)

WHITCHURCH, 60 High Street (SJ 541 417)

Felling date range: 1563-1597 subsequently revised to 1563-1593

Queen strut (0/1); Tiebeam 1552 (H/S); Collar (0/1); Ridge (0/1).  Site Master 1440-1552 by3 (t=8.3 NORTH; 7.9 GIERTZ; 7.3 MASTERAL)

No. 60 High Street Whitchurch is located on the western side of the High Street, and appears to be part of a larger medieval plot.  The bay nearest the street is an 18th century encroachment and contains stencilled wall decorations.  Running back from this bay are two bays and evidence in the form of an open arch-braced collar truss with chamfers on either side for a third bay, here dated to 1563-1597 (subsequently revised to 1563-1593).  The form suggests that the unit was originally jettied toward the street and at first floor level contained a room overlooking the High Street, with a two-bayed hall or solar behind.  The reason for indecision is that the adjoining property is inaccessible and it is thought that this would be the site of the ground-floor hall.  Two further properties of this kind have been identified in the High Street and seem to illustrate the persistence of the medieval house-plan, with variations, into the latter part of the 16th century. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part III)

WHITCHURCH, Alkington Hall, Alkington (SJ 531 393)

(a)     Main range

Felling date: Spring 1572

Studs 1534, 1571 (21¼C); Corner post 1538 (h/s).  Site Master 1421-1591 ALKINGTN (t=9.6 SALOP95; 9.0 NORTH; 8.2 UPWICH)

(b)     Phase 2

Felling date: Autumn 1591

Purlins (2/3) 1591 (19½C), 1574 (1); Principal rafter 1553 (h/s); Post 1569 (h/s).

Alkington Hall, Whitchurch, is a two-storied brick-built house with an almost square plan of double-pile form.  The brickwork contains diaper patterning on the front and on one side.  There is a central entrance and the form and position of the windows continue the symmetry.  These have Grinshill stone dressings, and mullions and transoms with ovolo-moulding.  At first floor level the great chamber has an elaborate plaster ceiling with many allegorical motifs, fleurs-de-lis and two human heads.  The room once had an independent approach from an external flight of steps at the front of the house, in addition to the normal access from the internal landing.  The front steps may have been contained within a two-storied porch.  At the rear is a square three-storied block containing one room at each level.  It appears to have been a self-contained living unit of some kind.  All this work was added to the remains of an existing timber-framed unit which produced a felling date of 1572.  There are many features of interest in the house, and its history shows it to have been built by Sir Allen Cotton, a wool merchant who became Lord Mayor of London in 1625.  The date of 1592 occurs on the house, a rare example of a date plaque in agreement with the dendro-date of autumn 1591.  It is hoped to include Alkington Hall in a forthcoming publication of the work of a Keele University extra-mural class.  The dating was part-funded by the owner, Mr Fearnall. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1996, VA 27, list 73)

WHITCHURCH, Alkington, Park Farm (SJ 523 389)

Felling dates: Winter 1554/5, Spring 1556

Principal rafters 1548 (26),1554 (21C); Brace 1555 (26¼C); Purlin (0/1). Site Master 1421-1555 PARKFARM (t= 6.7 ALKINGTON; 5.9 OLDHLLFM; 5.9 SALOP95)

A near neighbour of Alkington Hall, described above, and with which it has later tenurial links, Park Farm presents an unpromising brick exterior to the viewer, the only clue to the encapsulated timber-frame house lying in the asymmetrical arrangement of the external features.  One truss has been exposed internally and has some bark remaining on the principal rafters.  The tiebeam, posts and braces are equally crude, indicative perhaps of both the difficulty of obtaining good timber at that time and of the inferior quality of North Shropshire oak compared with that available south of the Severn.  There is evidence too of relatively crude carpentry, for example the apex of the principal rafters has a slip tenon instead of the normal mortice-and-tenon joint.  The farm buildings are dated 1883, have the initials MSW (Marianne Sophia Wood) and are laid out on model-farm lines.  One brick in the pigsties is stamped ‘Fenns Bank’.  This brickworks, now closed, must have produced millions of bricks, but this is the only known example to bear the name of the works. As with the other Whitchurch area buildings, Park Farm was recorded as part of the Keele University extra-mural class. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1996, VA 27, list 73)

WHITCHURCH, Broughall, The Old Hall (SJ 566 415)    

Felling date: Spring 1569

Axial beams 1501, 1535(h/s), 1568(44¼C); Transverse beam 1528; Front ceiling beam 1527. Site Master 1416-1568 BRHL (t= 7.7 IGHTFELD; 7.3 CALLGHTN; 6.7 WHGHWHIT)

Broughall is one of thirteen historic townships which make up present day Whitchurch. The Old Hall is sited less than a mile from the moated site of Blakemere, the original manor of Whitchurch, and this may have a bearing on the form of the house. Although remodelled with a lobby-entry plan in the seventeenth century and now clad in brick, two dragon beams and their corresponding chamfered and stopped joists in the room to the south, indicate a three-sided prestigious jettied solar cross wing. The quality of the work suggests a house of some status, and this is supported by the presence of three fish ponds in the garden. Recorded by the Whitchurch Buildings Recording Group. Dating commissioned by North Shropshire District Council. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 154)

WHITTINGTON, Halston Chapel (SJ 339 313)

Felling dates: Winter 1437/8

Tiebeam 1437 (12C); Queen post 1420 (H/S); Stud 1409; Wall plate (0/1); Principal rafters (0/2). Site Master 1322-1437 HALSTON (t=6.5 ABBOTSHS; 5.6 KINGPYON; 5.2 SALOP95)

A Preceptory of the Knights Hospitallers was founded at Halston between 1165 and 1187 and the isolated private chapel belonging to Halston Hall is the only building which predates the dissolution of the order.  It is one of only two surviving fully-framed churches in Shropshire but never became a parish church.  The pattern of the framing is that of close-studding divided by a mid-rail.  There is a two-light squint window either side of the entrance which is from an added brick tower at the west end.  At the east end the framed chancel forms a rectangular extension.  The corner posts of the chancel and the east end of the main body have jowelled feet.  The side windows have moulded timber frames and mullions, with ogee moulding matching that on the rafters.  Although the chapel was re-fitted in the eighteenth century, the original roof is covered over but intact and has three main trusses each of tie-and-collar-beam construction with V-struts which are cusped to match the cusping on the principals and the collar to form a quatrefoil flanked by two trefoils, very similar to the design at the Ludlow Guildhall, Moat House, Longnor, et al.  Cusping also occurs in the windbraces and the whole interior is lavishly decorated with carvings.  In the arch-brace spandrels of the main trusses are motifs which include various animals, faces, a mitred bishop, and - most controversial - a bear and ragged staff.  In 1552, the owner Edward Mytton married Ann, a daughter of Sir Edward Greville and, while it would be normal for the Myttons to wish to stress the Greville connection, the date is incompatible with the felling date of 1437/8.  (See V.C.H. Shropshire, Vol 2 (1973), 87, 88; E. Mercer, Soc. of Architectural Historians, Conference Booklet (1988), 27, 28). (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 83)

WHITTINGTON, Whittington Castle (SJ 325 312)

(a)     South (rear) range to south tower           

Felling dates: Spring 1477; Summer 1478

(b)     Main gates – north leaf, boards; reused mid rail   

Felling dates: Winter 1579/80; Winter 1485/6

(c)     North bastion – inserted floor     

Felling date range: 1477-1507

(d)     Cottage to rear of north tower    

Felling date: Winter 1628/9

(a) Joists (4/5) 1459(h/s), 1466(h/s), 1476(14¼C), 1477(13½C); Transverse beam (0/1). (b) Mid rail ?reused 1485(15C); Hanging stile 1561(+5 to h/s); Top curved rail 1569(13); Rail 1510; Muntin 1579 (27C). (c) Primary phase lintels (0/2); Inserted beam 1467(1+9 NM). (d) Transverse beam 1628(30C); Joists 1517, 1526, 1535, 1545, 1548, 1616(4); Floorboard 1554.  Site Master 1351-1628 WHITNGTN (t= 11 SALOP95; 10.6 MASTERAL; 9.8 HANTS02)

Two timber lintels over the cruciform arrow loops of the thirteenth-century north tower in the outer gatehouse were sampled but failed to date. The rest of the upper floors and the front roof were probably replaced in the early nineteenth century. To the rear of the south tower is an extension which served as the manor courthouse for many centuries. Above this a two-light window is thought to be Tudor in date and may well relate to the insertion of the floor tree-ring dated to 1478. In the north tower, the dated beam may relate to the same rebuilding phase as the south range.

The gates were clearly of two phases, the southern leaf being constructed of very fast-grown timber, but the north leaf of very slow-grown boards and framing. It is double-boarded, with a L-shaped hanging stile that includes the start of both layers of boards. To the rear of the north tower is a one-and-a-half storey timber-framed cottage (d) built onto the back of the tower. Dating commissioned by Purcell Miller Tritton on behalf of the Whittington Castle Preservation Trust. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 154)

WISTANSTOW, Church of the Holy Trinity  (SO 433 856)

(a)     North Transept roof primary phase

Felling date range: 1200-1222

Wallplate 1199 (19); Collar 1181 (H/S); Rafters 1169;1135; Soulaces 1178 (1); 1171.  Site Master 1069-1199 WSTNSTOW (t=12.9 STOKE2; 10.2 PLOWDEN1; 9.2 MASTERAL)

(b)     Repairs at south end of North transept

Felling date: Spring 1627

Rafter 1616 (39+10¼C NM).  Site Master 1451-1616 wstw7 (t=6.6 SALOP95; 6.5 BEDSTONE; 5.9, EASTMID)

Holy Trinity Church at Wistanstow is an interesting cruciform building with a substantial central tower.  The north transept still retains its original roof, which has here been dated to 1200-1221.  This originally consisted of seven individual rafter-couples with straight soulaces, ashlar pieces, and solepieces.  Two rafters were dated through photography of the exposed rafter ends. The southernmost rafter-couple had been replaced by two sets rafters of more slender scantling, one producing a felling date of 1627, possibly preceding the replacement of the chancel roof in 1630 (D. H. S. Cranage An Architectural account of the Churches of Shropshire,  part 3, (1897), bound Hobson & Co., Wellington, 1901, 168-172)  The roof of the north transept is more exactly detailed in Individual Case Studies (Miles 1997, VA 28, 105-106). (Miles, D, H, 1998 The tree-ring dating the north transept, Holy Trinity Church, Wistanstow, Shropshire, Anc Mon Lab Rep, 60/98) (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 81)

WHITCHURCH, The Raven, 17-23 Watergate (SJ 542 414)

Felling dates: Spring 1625

Post 1624 (21¼C); Purlins (1/2) 1582 (H/S); Studs (0/3); Transverse beams (0/2). Site Master 1449-1582 raven6 (t=6.5 MCPREES; 6.0 MILKST2; 5.9 NORTH)

Nos. 17-23 Watergate, Whitchurch, presently consists of two shops on either side of a cart entry and with chambers above.  Only two samples dated, one with a felling date of 1625. The deeds, however, suggest that the block is the long-lost hostelry called the ‘Raven’.  The framing on the front in the upper storey is of close studding divided by a rail slightly lower than mid-way.  This is repeated at the rear where the interstices are wider, and the same pattern occurs elsewhere in Watergate.  One ovolo-moulded three-light window survives in the rear wall.  Although the internal plan accords well with the functioning of an inn as opposed to a private house, it seems that Nos. 17 and 19 began as a barn-like structure with no internal floors or heating.  The whole block is first mentioned as an inn in 1667, and in type it is similar to the ‘George’ at Stamford.  It is unjettied and has tie-and-collar-beam roof trusses with irregularly-spaced uprights suggesting some degree of reconstruction.  An important feature is the remains of free-hand wall-paintings in two of the chambers.  Fruit and flowers, all with culinary and medicinal usages, are depicted, as well as some fragmentary classical details.  These are the only free-hand wall-paintings known in Whitchurch.  The deeds repeatedly mention a quince tree as a focal point in the garden.  It is hoped to include the property in a publication of the work of a Keele University extra-mural class.  (See W.A. Pantin, ‘Medieval Inns’, Studies in Building History, ed. E.M. Jope, Odhams, (1961), 187, 182-3, fig. 9.6). (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 83)

WOOLSTASTON, Bowdler’s House, 38 & 39 Woolstaston (SO 453 984)

(a)     Primary phase

Felling dates: Winter 1398/9, Winter 1399/1400

Crosswing crownpost 1398 (12C); Crosswing wallplate 1398 (13C); Hall collar 1399 (15C); Hall purlin 1399 (15C).  Site Master 1336-1399 BOWDLER1 (t=6.1 FORESTR1; 5.8 CRESSETT; 5.3 MWNLOCK4)

(b)     Lower end reconstruction

Felling dates: Spring 1537

Cruck blade 1536 (23¼C); Collar 1518 (1).  Site Master 1431-1536 BOWDLER2 (t=6.7 BROOKGT; 6.2 NORTH; 5.9 WOLVERTN)

Nos. 38 & 39 Woolstaston, now known as 'Bowdler's House' from a family of medieval freeholders (VCH 1968, 171), is a L-shaped house consisting of a two-bay cruck-built hall and a solar cross-wing which has crown-post roof construction.  The crown-posts are typically short and plain and clasp the collar purlin and have down-swinging lateral braces which are slightly cusped on the central truss (VA conf. Prog. 1982, 19).  A felling date of 1398/9 was obtained for the cross-wing, and it seems clear that the building programme continued in 1399/1400 with the attached cruck-built hall.  Here the crucks in the central truss have quarter-round moulding on the edges.  This is continued on the arch-braces and on the central strut which is set between the collar-beam and the low horizontal beam (Alcock and Moran 1984, 47-55).  The closed cruck truss at the end of the hall must represent a replacement of 1537. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part III)

WOOLSTON, St Winifred’s Well (SJ 322 244)

(a)     Primary Phase

Felling date range: 1478-1482

Studs (3/5) 1424, 1454, 1473 (46+5NM); Joists (1/3) 1457 (H/S); Post             1458 (H/S); Tiebeam 1458; Sill beam (0/l).  Site Master 1301-1473 WINIFRED (t=5.7 ACTON; 5.2 SENGLAND; 4.9 BOWHILL)

(b)     Later repair

Felling date range: 1597-1642 subsequently revised to 1598-1628

Sill beam 1587 (H/S).               Site Master 1460-1587 w20 (t=4.9 OXON; 4.8 YORKS2; 4.4 ENGLAND)

St Winifred’s Well is a rare surviving example of a timber-framed chapel built over a Holy Well.  It had a two-bay nave entered by a west door, and a slightly longer bayed sanctuary with priest’s door in the south wall.  The central bay of the north wall opened out into a side chapel which projected over the out/all of the wellspring.  The structure is close-studded with broad studs, the two internal roof trusses and the windbraces are cusped, and the general quality of the carpentry, which also includes moulded wall plates and door lintels, is high.  The chapel had fallen into disuse by the seventeenth century when the building became a bath house for the local gentry who had extended the Holy Well into a set of stone bathing pools.  Later used as a cottage dwelling, it underwent major repairs by the Landmark Trust in 1990/91 and is now holiday accommodation.  Dating commissioned by the Landmark Trust and arranged by Gwyneth Guy. (Haddon-Reece and Miles 1992, VA 23, list 43)

WORFIELD, Bradney Farm (SO 769 959)

Felling dates: Spring 1483; Winter 1486/7; Spring 1487

Cruck 1486 (12¼C); Rafters (3/5) 1486 (20C); 1474 (5); 1482 (17¼C); Purlin (0/1), Strut (0/1).  Site Master 1394-1486 WORFIELD (t=6.5 LLANSHAY; 6.3 SALOP95; 6.2 EASTHOPE)

Although modernised to a large degree, Bradney Farm, Worfield, still retains the central cruck truss of a two-bayed hall dating from 1487.  The building is more fully described in Individual Case Studies (Moran and Hand 1997, VA 28, 107).  The dating was commissioned by the owners, Mr and Mrs M. Barker. (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 83)

WROCKWARDINE, Leaton Grange (SJ 613 114)

(a)     Solar cross-wing

Felling date: After 1313

Centre hip rafter 1302; End hip brace, rafter (0/2). Site Master  1185-1302 lea1 (t=6.9 STOKE2; 6.6 UPTNMAG1; 6.4 SENGLAND)

(b)     Repair phase

Felling date: 1570-1600

Corner post 1559 (H/S) Site Master 1410-1559 lea3 (8.1 SALOP95; 7.8 EASTMID; 7.7 MASTERAL)

Several building phases are present in the complex at Leaton Grange, Wrockwardine, the earliest part of which appears to be a solar cross-wing relating to a (rebuilt) medieval hall.  The cross-wing contains two bays of crown post roof construction with a plain 3 ft 8 in long crown post with over-riding collar-purlin, down-swinging lateral braces, and plain curved longitudinal braces.  Whilst the central truss is unremarkable among Shropshire crown-post roofs, the main interest lies in the form of the end trusses, which indicate that the roof had hipped ends.  One truss includes a straight longitudinal brace with an additional cusped brace springing from it; the other is obscured, but is thought to match the first.  The only similar structure known is at Hookstone Farm, Chobham, Surrey (E. Mercer, English Vernacular Houses (1975), 205-6).  Unfortunately the only dateable timber lacked any sapwood, giving a terminus post quem of felling after 1313.   The dating also identified a phase of major repairs, in which the corner post and tiebeam was replaced in the period 1570-1600. For further information see Individual Case Studies (Moran 1998, VA 29, 88-9).  Dating funded by Lt Cdr. J Oldham-Malcolm. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 92)