DORSET


CHARD, Forde Abbey, The Refectory (Library) (ST 359 051)

Averaged felling date range: 1494-1517

Rafters (1/2) 1476 (4); Collars 1475 (1); 1474 (H/S); 1470; Principal rafter 1474. Site Master 1292-1475 FRDABBY1 (t=7.2 HANTS97; 6.9 SHERFLD; 6.8 ASTNEYR3);  Wall plates 1485; 1483 (H/S); 1414. Site Master 1386-1485 FRDABBY2 (t=6.1 OVERTON3; 5.5 KENT88; 5.4 HANTS97)

In 1521 the last Abbot of Forde Abbey, Thomas Chard, succeeded and embarked on an ambitious programme of restoration and improvements to the buildings which was cut short by the Dissolution in 1539.  In 1997 repairs were undertaken to the roof of the Library, converted from the monastic Refectory or Frater.  This roof comprises 13 arch-braced collar-trusses with curved V-struts alternating with straight cross-bracing, sitting on inner and outer wall-plates above which are four tiers of bare-faced butt purlins and a ridge piece.  The high quality of the carpentry is emphasised by the liberal use of mouldings and chamfers on all exposed structural members, with the unusual feature of three tiers of straight cross-bracing between the purlins with the collars, arch-braces and ashlars all having their faces elaborately carved with sunk blind-tracery. The roof has typically been ascribed to the fifteenth century on stylistic grounds, but due to its unusual design, this dating was tentative at best.  Two estimated felling date ranges for the roof straddle 1500.  Dating commissioned by architect Rebecca Child of English Heritage’s Conservation South-west Team.  For further details see Miles (1998) Anc Mon Lab Rep 73/98. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 90)


CHARMINSTER, Wolfeton House, Riding House (SY 679 923)

(a)     Original floor beams       

Felling date and range (OxCal modelled): 1597; 1598-1606 (unrefined 1597-1616)

(b)     Roof timbers      

Felling date: Summer 1720

All timbers (9/17): (a) Floor beams 1570(H/S + 27C NM), 1580(H/S), 1585(H/S); (b) Principal rafters 1693(1), 1697(6), 1714(19), 1717(4); Common rafter  1719(16½C).   Site Masters (a) 1509-85 WOLFETN1 (t = 9.9 HANTS02; 7.3 CHAWTON6; 7.0 LONDON); (b) 1583-1719 WOLFETN2 (t = 9.3 HANTS02; 8.1 OXON93; 7.4 LONDON)

The Riding House is rectangular and stone-built, approximately 33.5 m by 9.1 m, originally with two ranges projecting at right angles. The first documented purpose-built riding house in England was erected for Prince Henry at St James’s Palace in AD 1607–9, and other examples followed in the early seventeenth century. Wolfeton is rather narrower than most other examples, and it had a ceiling, where most were open to the roof. The previously suggested date of around AD 1600 is now confirmed and it must be very similar in date to the St James’ Palace example, and possibly slightly earlier. Commissioned by English Heritage. M. Bridge, ‘Tree-ring analysis of timbers from Wolfeton Riding House, Wolfeton House, Charminster, Dorset’, CfA report 55/2005. K. Rodwell,  ‘The Architecture of Entertainment: Two examples of a late sixteenth-century building type’, Archaeological  Journal, 148 (1991), 269–95. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 177)


CORFE CASTLE, Uvedales House, 17-19 East Street (SY 961 811), main range roof     

Felling date: Spring 1656

Purlins (2/4) 1613, 1618(h/s), 1647(25); Principal rafters (1/3) 1655(33¼C), Rafter (0/1).  Site Master  1505-1655 UVEDALES (t = 6.7 HANTS02; 6.1 WIN42HSB; 5.9 S.ENGLAND98)

This is an irregular L-shaped block on the east side of East Street, originally a merchant’s house. The roof has double trenched purlins with downward wind braces to the lower purlin, and queen struts to the principal rafters with a slightly higher collar, clearly designed for habitation. Two timbers, a fireplace lintel and a frame member in the rear wing (15 East Street) were sampled, but neither dated. Dating commissioned by the National Trust. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 152)




SHAPWICK, 198 High Street
(SU 922989)

(a) Left-hand wing Felling date range: 1449-1462 (OxCal; unrefined 1447-79)
(b) Right-hand wing Felling date range: 1521-1534 (OxCal; unrefined 1521-42)

(a) Corner post 1438(H/S); Purlins (1438(H/S2); (b) Tiebeam 1510(15); Principal rafters (1/4) 1507(H/S); Corner post (0/1). Site Masters (a) 1387-1438 SHAPWCK4 (t = 8.3 BROOKGT; 7.1 COUNCLHS; 7.0 THEBOLD); (b) 1432-1510 SHAPWCK3 (t = 6.8 HANTS02; 6.4 MASTERAL; 5.9 CL_TOM).

This is a two-phase thatched cottage which forms part of the Kingston Lacy Estate, now owned by the National Trust. Both phases are of cruck construction. Detailed building analysis has still to be undertaken. Dating commissioned by Martin Papworth for the National Trust. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 203)