Time and Place: Medieval Carpentry in Staffordshire
Author: Meeson, Bob
Source: Vernacular Architecture, Volume 27, 1996 , pp. 10-27(18)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:Two- or three-bay houses with square panel and straight braces in the walls, and side-purlin roofs with tiebeams and single collars trusses, were common in much of the post-medieval Staffordshire. Although such buildings are the predominant visible expression of structural carpentry in the county they are markedly different from surviving medieval buildings. The most common type of medieval building in the area is crucks-framed; approximately sixty examples remain, mainly in rural areas. With the exception of crucks and church roofs, which are largely beyond the scope of this paper, most of the surviving medieval carpentry was commissioned by people of high social status. West Bromwich Manor House and Handsacre Hall were built for well-connected patrons who could afford to employ the best, highly mobile carpenters; their aisled and base-cruck open halls were a polite veneer laid over the indigenous vernacular building traditions. Collar-purlin roofs and other box-framed structures in the county are generally older than those post-and-truss building which can be dated. However, post-and-truss building with sparse framing and timbers of poor scantling would be less durable than other structures; the absence of early examples does not disprove their former existence. A small group of collar-purlin roofs in an around Burton-upon-Trent might have been built by carpenters who came from outside the area in response to the demand generated by the abbey and the newly founded borough.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1996-06-01