BARKHAM, The Bailiff’s Cottage (SU 781 670)  

Felling date: Winter 1559/60

Floor joist (?re-used) 1559(20C); axial beam (0/1). Site Master 1470-1559 bcb1  (t=6.3 WC-KITCH; 6.2 HARCHRCH; 6.2 LONDON)

Only a single bay remains of the original core of Bailiff’s Cottage, now incorporated in a much larger house.  The first floor is constructed with an axial beam with stepped chamfer stops and joists mortices with diminished haunches.  A sample from this beam, despite having 69 rings and complete sapwood, failed to date.  A ceiling joist however did date, giving the felling date of winter 1559/60.  However, a number of joists were clearly re-used, and the one which was sampled, although having no obvious signs of re-use, did have some evidence of sooting on one face, suggesting that it might have originated from an earlier building.  Therefore, the date should be used with some caution in interpreting the date of the present floor frame.  Dating commissioned by Mrs Janet Firth. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 107)

BRIMPTON, Shalford Farm (SU 569 649)

a)       South-west range

Felling date: Spring 1430

Rafters (1/2) 1429(20¼C); Principal rafters (1/5) 1429 (13C+1NM); Collars (1/2) 1411 (H/S); Brace (0/1). Site Master 1365-1429 SHALFRD1  (t=6.0 SWANNINN; 5.8 HANTS97; 5.2 BRAMLEY; 5.1 GOLEIGH1)

b)      North range       

Felling dates: Winter 1580/81

Rails (1/2) 1580 (24½C); Stud 1580 (17C); Lower purlin 1556 (H/S); Post 1572 (8).

c)       South range re-used timbers       

Felling dates: Summer 1582

Re-used door jamb 1581 (23½C); Beam re-used as purlin 1581 (20½C); Re-used window jamb 1541; Re-used window head (0/1). Site Master 1403-1581 SHALFRD2  (t=8.7 WC_KITCH; 8.2 HANTS97; 7.8 SENG98)

d)      South-east range

Felling date: Summer 1745

Principal rafters 1744 (15½C), 1743 (12). Site Master 1694-1744 SHALFRD3  (t=6.5 OXON93; 6.2 MDM6; 5.5 HANTS97)

Externally, Shalford Farmhouse appears to be a four-square double-pile 18th house, but internally exposed timberwork suggests much earlier origins.  The oldest was found to be the western two-thirds of the south half which dated to 1430.  The roof is four bays originally with arch-braced collars clasping purlins, the end gables incorporating raking braces outwards towards the end of the collars.  The roof is lightly smoke-blackened, although this evidence is confused by later applications of dark creosote.  In 1581 the house was extended by the north range which was hipped at the west end.  Within a year or two the house was further extended by another wing as evidenced by the tree-ring dates of summer 1582.  All that survives of this range are re-used timbers in the south range such as door and window frames, and other timbers such as beams re-used as purlins.  Some of these timbers are incorporated in a two-bayed extension squaring up the south-east corner of the house which was dated to 1745 through the principal rafters.

The dendrochronology was commissioned by Videotext Communications Ltd for a pilot archaeology series. (Miles and Worthington 2001, VA 32, list 116)

BRADFIELD, Cripps Farmhouse  (SU 5905 7026)

Felling date: Spring 1599

Posts (1/2) 1598 (22½C).  Site Master 1543-1598  cfb2 (t=6.3 OXON93; 6.2 WHTOWER6; 5.7 ROSE; 5.2 BDLEIAN3)

Recent recording of this grade II timber-framed building illustrates the importance of carrying out a timely watching brief whilst repairs are in progress. Given to the National Trust in the 1930s, the building consists of three central bays of box frame construction with brick wings added at a much later date at either end. The original timber-framed section was thought to date from the 17th century but off-cuts arising from the repairs to the main frame posts were retained for tree ring dating and one gave a felling date of 1599. The panels between the frame members were originally in-filled with wattle and daub but this was subsequently replaced with brick. During the repairs the brick in-fill was removed from the upper part of the north elevation, revealing a series of holes and  grooves for wattle staves in the mid rail and wall plate. Gaps in the sequence of stave holes suggest the location of window and door openings, for example in the central bay of the first floor and the ground floor. A rebate cut into the underside of the mid rail of the east bay suggests the location of a door opening. A series of empty peg holes and mortices in the underside of the mid rail also confirmed that the original studs between the main frame posts extended to ground level and their former location corresponds with the position of the studs remaining at first floor. (Miles and Worthington 2001, VA 32, list 116)

COMBE,  St Swithun’s Church (SU 373 608), Timber-framed bell tower                                                                

a)       Primary construction phase

Felling date: c. 1440

Principal corner posts 1420, 1425 (H/S), 1435 (9), 1437 15+2-3C NM). Site Master 1330-1437 COMBE1  (t=5.4 ENGLAND; 5.2 GOLEIGH1; 5.2 BURCLER3; 5.1 WINDSOR2)

b)      Repair phase

Felling dates: Summer 1618, Winter 1618/19

Sole plate 1586 (H/S); Rails/beams 1577 (H/S), 1601 (H/S), 1617 (19½C); Timber re-used as brace 1618 (22C).  Site Master 1339-1618  COMBE2 (t=7.3 CHERGTN; 7.1 MC19; 6.8 MOTISFNT)

St Swithun’s is a small country church with nave, chancel, and timber-framed bell tower at the west end.  There was a church on this site in Saxon times, although the walls of the present nave were thought to date from the 12th century. The bell tower consists of four tapering corner posts 25’ high by 18” square at the base, tapering to 12” at the top.  These are supported by cruck-like buttresses on the north, south, and west sides which have evidence for a wall plate at low level.  All four of the main posts have dated to circa 1440, but there were too few rings in the crucks for them to be dateable.  A number of repairs have been executed at about the same time as the chancel was re-roofed, the main beams/rails on the east, north, and south sides giving a tree-ring date of summer 1618 and winter of 1618/19.  The sole plates have given similar dates, as has a brace in the north wall frame, which itself appears to have been re-used.  The dating has been commissioned by Josephine M Cormier to supplement a report on the tower frame. (Miles and Worthington 2001, VA 32, list 116)

GREENHAM, Greenham Mill (SU 478 673)

(a)     Head race framing

Felling dates: Winter 1569/70, Summer 1570

(b)     Later alteration/repair

Felling date: Winter 1589/90

(a) Beams 1547, 1561(9), 1562(12, 16), 1569(17C2), 1569(30½C). (b) Post 1589(23C). Site Master 1373-1589 GREENHAM (t = 10.1 HANTS97; 9.5 ABTSBRTN; 8.4 OVERTON3)

Excavations by Oxford Archaeology revealed a series of waterlogged oak timbers relating to the site of a post-medieval watermill near Greenham. These form a sluice arrangement comprising piles, sill beams, cross beams, and planking, and the carpentry details are of vernacular significance, including very late examples of notched-lap joints. Dating commissioned as part of a watching brief by Oxford Archaeology for the Environment Agency. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 126)

HAMPSTEAD NORREYS, Oakhouse Farm (SU 509 764)

(a)     Skeleton Barn (north end)

Felling dates: Winter 1794/5 and Winter 1795/6

(b)     Southern extension of Skeleton Barn       

Felling dates: Winter 1811/12

(a) Tiebeams 1793 (30); 1794 (16C); Purlins (2/3) 1790 (H/S); 1795 (23C); Transverse floor beams 1783 (H/S); 1794 (20).  (b) Purlins (1/2) 1811 (27C); Wall plates (1/2) 1811 (19C, 25C); Transverse floor beam1774 (H/S); Eaves plate (0/1); Tiebeam (0/1). Site Master 1722-1811 OAKHOUSE  (t= 7.3 BASING; 5.8 ORIEL1; 5.6 BLAG)

The open-sided thatched corn rick at Oakhouse Farm was a unique structure, the last surviving example of a building type which appears to have enjoyed a period of popularity during the Napoleonic wars.  It was of five bays, with two double 20 foot bays either side of an open centre bay of 15 feet, making a total length of almost 100 feet. Despite its ambitious widths and spans, it was constructed of timbers of slight scantling, making it a fragile structure.  In October 1987 part of this structure had collapsed in the Great Storm, and the remainder followed suit during the hurricane of January 1990.  The collapsed building has been recorded and the tree-ring analysis carried out as part of a thorough recording project initiated by David Brock for English Heritage together with the Eling Estate. During the analysis and recording it was found that the northern two double bays were built in 1795/6, and then the building was extended in 1811/12 by constructing another two double-bays to the south with a covered cartway.  The structure consists of a ‘nave’ of posts with tiebeams and queen-strut roof structure with clasped purlins, and with an extended eaves supported on gallows brackets from the wall posts.  Some of the principal timbers from the 1811/12 phase showed evidence of mechanical sawing.  See Miles, D W H 2001  The Tree-Ring Dating of the Skeleton Barn, Oakhouse Farm, Hampstead Norreys, Berkshire, Centre for Archaeol Rep, 16/2001.  (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 100)

MAIDENHEAD, Maidenhead Bridge (SU 901 813) 

(a)           Fifteenth-century bridge

Averaged felling date range: 1467-1493

Piles (2/3)  1452(H/S), 1458 (H/S). Site Master 1395-1458 MDNHEAD1 (t = 7.7 chd89; 7.6 WC_KITCH; 6.4 LONDON)

(b)     Eighteenth-century repairs          

Felling date ranges: 1684-1714 to 1751-75

Piles (4/5) 1681(8+2 NM), 1691(11+5NM), 1710(12+1NM), 1750(16). Site Master 1605-1750 MDNHEAD2 (t = 10.6 MASTERAL; 10.0 OXON93; 8.1 LONDON)

Works during 2002 revealed a series of timbers relating to the site of the medieval bridge at Maidenhead.  Tree-ring dating on salvaged piles gave dates for the primary construction and later repairs. Dating commissioned by the Environment Agency. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 140)

MAPLEDURHAM, Chazey Court (SU 692 752)

(a)     North range of farmhouse           

Felling dates: Winter 1609/10; Spring 1611 

(b)     Upper cruck range of farmhouse 

Felling dates: Spring 1610; Summer 1611

(c)     Stable range of farmhouse          

Felling dates: Summer 1614; Winter 1614/15

(d)     Barn      

Felling dates: Spring 1610; Summer 1610; Winter 1610/11; Spring 1611

(e)     Alterations to stables and barn    

Felling dates: Winter 1737/8; Summer 1737

(f)      Repairs to barn  

Felling date: Spring 1801

(a) Tiebeams 1609 (19C), 1610 (22¼C); Principal rafters (1/2) 1597(9+11½C NM). (b) Crucks (1/2) 1610 (17½C); Collar 1609 (16¼C); Transverse beam 1591(6); Principal rafter (0/1); Reused joist 1537(19). (c) Principal rafters 1613 (13½C, 16½C); Purlin 1613 (22½C); Tiebeam 1614(17C); Door post 1613(25½C); Wall post (0/1). (d) Tiebeams 1609 (14½C, 23¼C); Rafters 1589 (h/s), 1610(16C, 19C); Principal rafters 1609(25½C), 1610(24¼C); Purlin 1610(28C); Brace (0/1). (e) Infilling eaves plate to stables 1737(21C); Inserted window lintel to barn 1736(13½C). (f) Inserted tie at gable end 1800(16¼C). Site Masters (a-d) 1507-1614 CHAZEY1 (t = 11 OXON93; 10.2 WHTOWER6; 8.4 ROSE); (e) 1647-1737 CHAZEY2 (t = 11.6 HANTS02; 11.4 MASTERAL; 8.9 MDM6); (f) 1658-1800 chz13 (t = 5 MDM24; 4.9 OXON93; 4.4 STEPCOTT).

Formerly in Oxfordshire, this farm complex comprises a linear farmhouse set at right angle to a large barn. The house has four main elements, the first, to the north was probably constructed during 1611. It is of three bays and two storeys with a brick ground floor and timber above which includes serpentine decorative wall braces. The roof has two sets of butt purlins with wind braces to a diagonally-set ridge. To the south is a Victorian block replacing half of a seven-bay, storey-and-a-half range of upper-cruck construction. This was constructed probably during 1612 or 1613, the roof partially cutting across a south-facing attic window in the north range. The transverse beams supporting the first floor carry upper crucks and are braced from below with further serpentine braces. The upper crucks are well-elbowed and have type ‘E’ apexes (Alcock 1981), and both sets of trenched purlins, as well as the ridge, have wind braces. The range contains some reused timbers, including V-struts above the collars, and floor joists, one of which dated to 1538-59. The southern end of the range is of brick and has been identified as a chapel; it is actually a stable with a serrated brick cornice. It is of three bays with one tiebeam truss and an open truss with extended jowled posts. The double set of butt purlins and ridge are of similar construction as the north range, but only the ridge and lower purlins are wind-braced, the latter with down braces. Tree-ring dates suggest this range was constructed during 1615, with the eaves infilled with an additional internal wall plate c.1738.

The other major element of the group is the great grade I brick barn. It is of seven bays and the roof trusses are of tiebeam construction with queen struts meeting the principal rafters slightly below the collars. There are two sets of butt purlins, the upper in the plane of the rafters, the lower with rafters passing over them. Wind braces go down to the lower purlins and up to the ridge, as in the stable roof. In 1737 a window was inserted in the western gable of the barn, which was truncated in 1801 when tiebeams were inserted at the ends to rectify the spread of the corners caused by the thrust of the large roof.

Chazey Court, was historically known as Chausey Court, and is part of the manor of Mapledurham Chazey, purchased by Sir Thomas Blount in 1582 (now part of the Mapledurham Estate). His son, Sir Richard, embarked on massive estate improvements, including the completion of Mapledurham House (1612), the construction of Rose Farm (1613), and the rebuilding of Chazey Court (1611-15). These dates contrast with the RCHME 1975 interpretation which suggested that the cruck range was erected in the late sixteenth century and the barn and stable in the early eighteenth. Dating commissioned by Oxford Archaeology on behalf of the tenants. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 152)

NEWBURY, Shaw House (SU 476 684)      

Felling date: Summer 1579/Spring 1580

Floor beams (1/2) 1546; Purlins (1/2) 1566(7); Principal rafters (3/3) 1576(22), 1578(21½C, 24½C); Common rafter 1579(27¼C). Site Master 1391-1579 SHAW1 (t = 12.1 HANTS02; 11.9 GREENHAM; 10.6 ORACLE4)

A large red-brick H-plan house with stone dressings and a tiled roof. It has a basement, two main storeys, and an attic. Apart from overall style, the only clue to its date is 1581 carved on the porch. The hall ceiling was sampled and was shown to be contemporary with the primary building phase. Dating commissioned by West Berkshire Council. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 152)

Tours available at Shaw House

PEASEMORE, Peasemore House (SU 460 770)

Crown-post roof Felling date range: 1294-1308

(OxCal; unrefined 1288–1316) Crown post 1264(1); Collar 1267; Rafter 1279(h/s); Collar purlin 1284(h/s). Site Master 1173–1284 PEASMRH1 (t = 12.5 HANTS02, 10.4 WINCATH2, 10.2 PILGRIMS).

The house is rectangular in plan with two shallow curving bays on the south-east elevation. Fine vertical cracks in the north-west elevation give some evidence of the insertion of the central section of wall into this space. There are five pitched roofs, four running round the circumference of the building, all being hipped at the corners, and a fi fth running SW/NE in the centre of the building. The earliest roof runs SW/NE on the south-east side. This is a crown-post roof with straight braces and close-set rafter pairs. Along the north-east side of the building is a queen strut roof with clasped purlins and diminished rafters with some wind-braces remaining in place, which could not be dated. Both these roofs have been truncated by later roofs. Dating commissioned by Berkshire Archaeological Research Group.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2009, VA 40, list 212)

READING, 69 London Street  (SU 71825 73055)                                                                                          

Felling date: Summer 1579

Collar 1578 (21½C); Main beam 1554 (H/S); Windbraces 1558 (H/S), 1559 (H/S); Rail 1560 (H/S); Stud or post (0/1).  Site Master 1441-1578  READING3 (t=8.8 WC_KITCH; 8.3 OXON93; 7.8 WIMPOLE; 7.6 BDLEIAN4)

This is a two-storey timber-framed building which had collapsed about two years ago.  The façade had been refaced in brickwork, probably in the 18th century.  The recording of the collapsed timberwork was carried out by John Moore Heritage Services for the developers, Bellway Homes Ltd, in advance of residential development.  Few details of the building have survived the collapse and subsequent decay of the timberwork. (Miles and Worthington 2001, VA 32, list 116)

TILEHURST, Pincents Manor  (SU 649 719), Barn

Felling date range: 1434-54

Ex situ ?cruck blades (4/9) 1399, 1405, 1410, 1413(h/s), 1426(1), ?collar (0/1). Site Master  1316-1426 PINCENT1 (t = 8.6 OXON93; 8.2 ST HELEN1; 7.5 MDM)

The barn comprised five cruck-framed bays with a central wagon entrance on the west side and a half-hipped thatched roof. The arch-braced cruck frames had two collars and the roof had double purlins and wind braces. A serious fire in 2003 led to the barn being dismantled. Dating commissioned by West Berkshire Council. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 152)

WARFIELD, Hayley Green Farm (SU 886 714), Barn

(a)     Primary construction phase

Felling date ranges: 1443-75, 1454-78

(b)     Later boarding

Felling date ranges: 1536-68, 1572-1604

(a) Corner posts 1447(11), 1453(17); Stud (0/1); Ex situ boards (1/2) 1434(h/s). (b) Ex situ boards 1527(h/s), 1539, 1567(3). Site Master 1338-1567 HAYLYGRN (t = 12.9 LONDON; 11.9 WC_KIITCH; 11.9 OXON93)

The timber-framed barn at Hayley Green Farm is five bays long with a central outshot porch on the west side and modern leantos to each side of this. The barn is weatherboarded and has a half hipped roof. Each cross frame consists of end posts with jowled heads supporting wall plate and tiebeam. There are arched braces between posts and tie and between posts and wall plate. There is a single purlin to each slope clasped between principal rafter and a collar supported by queen struts. The framing is mostly of oak and of substantial construction with almost no reused timber. The roof is of a typical late-medieval type and the dendrochronological analysis confirmed this, providing felling dates from the third quarter of the 15th century for several posts and a similar date from one of the boards. Other boards dated a century later and probably relate to repairs. Dating commissioned by Oxford Archaeology as part of recording undertaken as a condition of planning permission for residential conversion. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 126)

WINDSOR, Windsor Castle, 8 Canons’ Cloister, Lower Ward (SU 968 770)      

Felling date range: 1483-8

First floor joists 1463(h/s+21C NM), 1467(h/s). Site Master 1342-1467 WINDSOR4 (t = 8.6 HANTS02; 8.4 SENG98; 7.3 WC_KITCH; 5.9 wcc10)

The core of No. 8 Canons’ Cloisters is part of the cloister range dated to 1352 (VA 37, 109) but it was substantially rebuilt in the 1670s, incorporating two first-floor joists from the building immediately to the west. That building was probably part of the crown-post range which still survives in the eastern part of No. 25 Canons’ Cloister, extending over the site of the twelfth/thirteenth century Great Hall that was demolished in the late 1470s. The rest of the range on the site of No. 8 was probably demolished during the Commonwealth in the later 1640s and 1650s. Dating commissioned by C4 Time Team; historical interpretation provided by Tim Tatton-Brown. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 189)

WINDSOR, Windsor Castle, Canons Cloisters (SU 968 770) 

(a)           Primary phase    

Felling dates: Spring 1351; Summer 1352

Rafters (1/2) 1351(18½C); Purlin 1350(22¼C); Door post 1337; Girt 1332(h/s); Joist 1333; Stud (0/1); Lintels (1/2) 1301; Posts (6/10) 1312, 1327(h/s2), 1329(h/s2,1); Beam (0/1). Site Master 1258-1350 WINDSOR3 (t = 7.3 HANTS02; 7.1 WINDSOR; 7.1 MASTERAL)

(b)     Cellar to east cloister      

Felling date: Winter 1439/40

Half-beam 1439(35C), axial beam 1412(14). Site Master 1299-1439 wcc21 (t = 6.5 WNCHSTR2; 5.7 LONDON; 5.4 OXON93)

(c)     Timber re-used in east cloister cellar       

Felling date range:  1476-1508

Ridge beam 1472(5). Site Master 1376-1472 wcc10 (t = 7.2 STHELEN1; 7.2 KITCHEN; 5.8 WINDSOR2)

The Dean and Canons have commissioned a survey of the fourteenth-century timberwork of the Canon’s Cloister at Windsor Castle (supported by the Marc Fitch Fund). Felling dates for the primary structure accord well with the documentary dates (June 1352 –  March 1353. T. Tatton-Brown, ‘the Canon’s Houses and Cloister at Windsor’, in the Report of the Society of the Friends of St George’s and the Descendants of the Knights of the Garter, 2001-2002, 121-5. Date (b), from two timbers in the cellar of the eastern cloister, is in a period when further building works were being undertaken by the Canons.  Date (c), from a ridge beam from a low-pitched roof re-used as a prop in a cellar, probably relates to the major rebuilding by Edward IV. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 140)

WINKFIELD, Kilbees Farm, North Barn  (SU 922 719)

Felling date: Summer 1587

Principal post 158(20½C); corner post 1537.  Site Master 1436-1586  KILBEES1 (t=5.9 FLWSGRN1; 5.3 BDLEIAN3; 5.2 CHAWTON3)

The north barn at Kilbees farm comprises four unequal bays, originally abutting the earlier gatehouse to the south.  The roof is constructed entirely of re-used timbers but has raking struts and a high collar.  There are two tiers of purlins, the lower ones are butted, into which the rafters are tenoned above and below, whilst the upper purlin is clasped over which the rafters pass to the ridgeless apex.  The wall panels were originally plastered in between the principal framing members and the two intermediate rails.  Again, the majority of the timbers are re-used, only two of the principal posts (clearly cut from the same tree) appearing to date from the construction of the present barn.  The date of 1587 accords well with an inscribed date of 1590 within the main house, suggesting that it was part of an ongoing building campaign on the site.  Dating commissioned by Mr Tony Pidgley. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 107)