CHESHIRE


GOOSTREY, Toad Hall, Blackden  (SJ 789 707)

Felling date: Winter 1551/2

Re-used cruck (1/2) 1551(22C); principal post (0/1); studs (0/2); ridge (0/1); purlin (0/1); tiebeam (0/1).  Site Master 1432-1551  toad8 (t=7.6 IGHTFIELD; 6.3 WALES97; 6.2 EASTMID)

Toad Hall (T’owd Hall) is a long range of three wide bays (18 foot, 19 foot, and 17 foot), each probably originally of six framing panels three squares high, with short straight corner braces. The framing survives well on the NE side but elsewhere was largely built away in brick during the mid-late 18th century; the house was divided into a pair of labourers’ cottages at the end of the 19th century. Bay 1 comprises a cross-passage and service room with an upper chamber and attic loft; bay 2 contains the hall (originally open) with inserted smoke hood and upper floor and bay 3 is a floored inner room. The end trusses are of post, tiebeam and rafter construction, but the two internal trusses have pairs of upper crucks standing on dropped tiebeams; one of the blades shows clear signs both of reuse from an earlier structure and of insertion into the present structure, presumably following the failure of the original blade. Pointers to re-use include the pegging (here single, as against double elsewhere), carpenter’s marks (position and form), secondary jointing and features of handling during erection, none of which are found elsewhere in the house.  Only eight dendrochronology samples were even marginally suitable, and the only datable sample was from this inserted blade. Since we do not know the duration of the cruck’s original career in the structure for which the timber was felled in 1551/2, the single date provides no direct terminus for Toad Hall’s primary fabric.  That fabric is likely to be older, although Toad Hall could have been built after 1552, between the felling date for the cruck and before its reuse in the house.  Dating commissioned by Richard Morris on behalf of the owners, Alan and Griselda Garner. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 107)


MALPAS, Overton Hall (SJ 471 484)

(a)     Cross wing

Averaged felling date range: 1589-1615

Moulded transverse beams 1564 (H/S), 1588 (4). Site Master 1389-1588 MALPAS1 (t=11.0 SALOP95; 10.4 NORTH; 10.0 MASTERAL)

(b)     Main range

Felling date: Winter 1615/16

Purlin 1615 (22C); Ridge 1615 (21C). Site Master 1499-1615 MALPAS2 (t=5.2 OXON93; 4.9 bry2; 4.8 NORTH)

Overton Hall occupies an old moated site and is a classic example of piecemeal development.  The solar cross-wing gave felling date ranges of 1575-1605 and 1595-1625 for the two dated beams; the felling date of 1615/16 from the hall range suggests a slightly later phase, though possibly coeval with the wing.  The cross-wing’s central truss (open from first floor level) has jowled posts, spur-ties, and deep-swinging arch-braces secured with slip tenons; a somewhat archaic form of truss for this time.  Both upper and lower chambers in the solar cross-wing were heated by large moulded stone fireplaces.  Also present is a first-floor ovolo-moulded window flanked by a doorway which must have been reached by an outside staircase.  This is similar to Alcaston Manor (Shropshire: 1, below).  Dating commissioned by the owners, Mr & Mrs R Barnett.  The house was recorded by an extra-mural class from Keele University. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 90)