SOMERSET


BALTONSBOROUGH, Bridge Farm House, West Bradley (ST 552 363)

Felling date ranges: 1325-57; 1336-42

Intermediate principals 1314 (H/S); 1318 (1); Crucks (1/2) 1297+39-45C NM; Upper principal 1257.  Site Master 1187-1318 WBRADLEY (t=8.4 BRADFORD; 8.3 HANTS97; 8.1 SOUTH)

Bridge Farmhouse, West Bradley, was originally a five bay open hall house with a bay-bay hall and probably upper chambers at each end.  The roof is an elaborate two-tier raised cruck structure which has two tiers of windbraces; the plain lower tier span between the main trusses whereas the upper tier, which are cusped, span between the main and intermediate trusses. The four main and three intermediate trusses are arranged with alternating cusped and plain upper crucks. The main trusses are arch-braced. There is extensive smoke blackening over the hall and above the collars over the upper chambers.

The blades of the principal rafters have, in each case, been extended by the use of elaborate splayed joints some with undersquinted sallied abutments. Where visible, the apex joint is generally as ‘Type B’ (C.B.A Cruck Catalogue 1981) but the apex to one of the hall intermediate trusses differs, each principal being tenoned into a triangular bridging-piece which has a curved soffit. Tree-ring dating of the roof structure has given a felling date range of 1336-1342. In the medieval period the house was part of the estate of the Abbots of Glastonbury.  The decorative two-tier structure and tree-ring dating compare well with that of Bridge Farmhouse, Butleigh, which was also part of the Glastonbury Abbey estate (see below).

The house was modified in the C16 by the insertion of a stack backing onto a cross passage to form a traditional 3-unit house; in the C18 an elegant two-story entrance-stair-hall and parlour was built onto the front of the building obscuring the earlier house. (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 84)


BARROW GURNEY, The Tythe Barn (ST 51466840)

Felling date range: 1626-41 (OxCal; unrefined 1620-50)

Crossbeams (3/5) 1613(H/S), 1606(1), 1600(H/S); Principal rafter 1619(H/S); Site Masters 1477-1619 TYTHEBG (t = 7.3 MIDHSQ02; 7.0 SOMRST04; 7.0 HIERCALL)

Listed as a former tithe barn, now a house, this was thought to be fourteenth century but is now shown to be seventeenth century; it is built of large squared and irregular coursed rubble with flush rusticated dressed-stone quoins, stone copings and pantiled roof. The east façade facing the main house has a central midstrey with lean-to projecting porch hood on brackets. The west façade has a central former carriage arch with two-leaf nineteenth-century plank gates. The steeply pitched gabled roof appears to be primary; it comprises a simple through-purlin, collar-and-tiebeam structure, with the tiebeams supported on chamfered limestone corbels. Dating commissioned by the owners. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 203)
 

BECKINGTON, 47, 49 Goose Street (ST 803 251)

Felling date: Spring 1391

Purlin 1390 (14¼C); Cruck 1390 (22¼C). Site Master 1283-1390 GOOSE (t=6.9 GEORGIN1; 6.2 CHWSTOKE; 6.2 BRUTON2)

This open hall house of three rooms in-line with a jointed cruck roof, (dendro-dated 1391), is sited on the edge of the small town which was formerly involved with the medieval woollen cloth industry.  Assembly marks indicate that two bays are missing from the low end which was formerly of four bays - a very long low end.  The large arch-braced jointed cruck over the hall and the other four trusses have cambered tenoned collars, tenoned purlins and wind-bracing; the apexes are of type M, a joint common in north and east Somerset.  The hall fireplace and floor were inserted in the seventeenth century, but what remains of the low end is devoid of features and may have been used for trade purposes. (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 102)


BROOMFIELD, Church of St Mary and All Saints (ST 224 320), Nave and North Aisle

(a)     Structural timbers           

Felling date range: 1525-55

(b)     Aisle roof bosses

Felling date range: 1507-39

(a) Structural timbers – Nave: arch-braces 1520(H/S), 1517(H/S), 1506(H/S); North aisle: Arch-braces (0/1); Curved ashlars (0/4) (b) Decorative carvings – Nave: bosses (0/3); Angel body (0/1); North aisle: Bosses (2/3) 1497( H/S), 1498(H/S); Angel bodies (0/4); Angel wings (0/2). Site Masters (a) 1414-1520  BROMFLD1 (t = 7.4 NUFFIELD; 6.5 OXON93; 6.4CHENIES1); (b) 1397-1498  BROMFLD2 (t = 7.7 MUCHNEY; 5.6 NUFFIELD; 5.6 HUNTNFRD).

The Church of St Mary and All Saints consists of a fourteenth-century chancel, an early sixteenth century two-stage embattled tower, nave and north aisle.  Both the nave and north aisle have wagon roofs with winged angels over the wallplates and carved bosses at the intersection of moulded ceiling ribs.  The decoration is comprehensively Perpendicular in style in both the nave and north aisle.  The roof decorations have been stylistically dated from the sixteenth to seventeenth century, but the dendrochronology shows that they part of the original decorative scheme, though possibly completed a few years before the roof timbers were felled.  D W H Miles, ‘The tree-Ring Dating of the Church of St Mary and All Saints, Broomfield, Taunton, Somerset’, CfA report 28/2005H , 2004  Dating commissioned by English Heritage. (Miles and Worthington 2005, VA 36, list 166)


BRUTON, 16-18 High Street (ST 683 348)

Felling dates: Spring 1452; Spring 1453; Spring 1454

Purlins 1453 (16¼C); 1452 (16¼C); 1451 (25¼C); Principal rafter (0/1). Site Master 1363-1453 BRUTON3 (t=8.4 MASTERAL; 8.0 37BSBOAT; 7.4 LATTON)


BRUTON, 20 High Street (ST 683 348)

Felling dates: Spring 1462

Arcade plate 1461 (23¼C); Tiebeams   1461 (22¼C); 1447 (2); Arcade post 1443 (H/S); Arcade brace 1425 (H/S); Principal rafter 1457 (18); Aisle tie 0/1.  Site Master 1318-1461 BRUTON2 (t=9.7 BRUTON3; 8.3 SOUTH; 7.9 HANTS97)


BRUTON, 24 High Street (ST 683 348)

Felling dates: Summer 1430

Axial beam 1429 (18½C); Jetty joists    1429 (20½C); 1424 (19).  Site Master 1335-1429 BRUTON1 (t=7.9 BRUTON3; 6.6 FORESTR1; 6.2 LATTON)

No’s 16-18, 20, and 24, High Street, Bruton, are a group of three adjoining houses with timber front, two of them jettied.  These have been dated to 1454, 1462, and 1430 respectively and are described in more detail in Individual Case Studies (Penoyre and Penoyre 1997, VA 28, 108-110). (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 84)


BRUTON, 31 High Street (ST 682 348)

(a)     Cellar

Felling date ranges: 1271-1303; 1272-1304

Transvere beams (1/2) 1270 (7); Brace 1262 (H/S); Joist (0/1).  Site Master 1221-1270 BRUTON4 (t=6.1 BRDGEFM1; 6.0 THORNE; 5.6 RUDGE)

(b)     Roof

Felling dates: Winter 1453/4

Principal rafters 1453 (17C); 1435 (H/S). Site Master 1365-1453 BRUTON5 (t=9.7 BRUTON2; 8.0 MASTERAL; 7.5 SOUTH)

No. 31 High Street, Bruton is a stone-built house with a jettied first floor to the cross-wing.  The Hall roof is windbraced with collar-and-tiebeam trusses dating from 1453/4 (another mid-fifteenth century date for Bruton High Street houses, see above).  The cross wing contains a transverse cellar beam with supporting brace(s) dated to 1271-1303.  This beam has a scarf joint, splayed and tabled, with under-squinted abutments secured by folding wedges and eight face pegs.  The surviving curved brace of square section rises from one side wall of the cellar. (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 84)


BUTLEIGH, Bridge Farmhouse (ST 523 337)

(a)     Main range

Felling date ranges: 1277-1309; 1302-34; 1340-72

Cruck 1293 (H/S); Cruck pad 1268 (H/S); Transverse beam 1331 (H/S); Purlin 0/1; Lintel (0/1); Upper cruck (0/1).  Site Master 1195-1331 BRDGEFM1 (t=8.8 SOUTH; 8.3 EXCATH1; 8.2 MASTERAL)

(b)     Wing

Felling dates: Spring 1305

Transverse beams (1/2) 1304 (30¼C). Site Master 1136-1304 BRDGEFM2 (t=8.9 GLAST; 8.9 SENGLAND; 8.5 MASTERAL)

(c)     Re-used cruck in wing roof

Felling dates: Winter 1263/4

Cruck blade 1263 (17C). Site Master 1195-1263 but9 (t=6.8 BRUTON4; 5.7 SENGLAND; 5.7 COXWELL)

Bridge Farm, Butleigh, is a Glastonbury Abbey property comprising a hall range with service rooms and a two-storey chamber wing at the rear.  The hall roof is a fine example of a two-tier raised cruck roof, one cruck dating to 1302-1334, and a pad to 1277-1309.  The wing has a transverse beam felled in 1305, and it is possible all three dated timbers are coeval.  Also found in the wing was a re-used cruck blade felled in 1263/4.  See Individual Case Studies (Penoyre and Penoyre 1997, VA 28, 111-12) (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 84)


CANNINGTON, Blackmore Farmhouse (ST 245 386)      

Felling date range: 1486-99

Collar 1448(h/s), Purlin (1/2) 1458(h/s), Principal rafters (2/4) 1469(h/s, 1477(h/s). Site Master 1367-1477 BLCKMORE  (t = 7.6 HANTS02; 7.6 GEORGE INN; 7.3 NOSTELL1).

This former manor house with contiguous chapel wing (now a farmhouse) is thought to have been built for Thomas Tremayll. The service wing to the south is stylistically dated to the sixteenth century. Built of red sandstone rubble with large roughly dressed quoins, the house has a stair turret in the angle between the main range and the chapel wing at the north end. The property’s outstanding feature is the roof to the hall range, which consists of seven arch-braced jointed crucks with three tiers of wind braces. Dating commissioned by the owners. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 156)


CASTLE CARY, Lower Cockhill Farm (ST 625 312)

Felling date: Spring 1435

Purlins (1/3) 1434 (15¼C); Collar (0/1). Site Master 1362-1434 lcf4 (t=5.9 SOUTH; 5.8 CHILVRTN; 5.8 MOTISFNT)

This isolated house has a 3-room cross passage plan and an open hall.  The 4 jointed crucks have side-pegged long tenoned joints, apex type E and tenoned in-line purlins; the hall cruck is arch-braced.  A purlin from the roof provided a felling date of 1435.  An unusual timber-framed chapel was added over the entrance porch (15th century) with painted walls and ceiling.  Although sampled, and despite long ring sequences, the porch could not be tree-ring dated, nor could the true crucks in the adjacent barn.  See VAG Spring Conference Programme Somerset 1986, p. 24. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 93)


CHEDDAR, Hanam Manor (ST 457 532)

Felling date: Winter 1341/2

Wind-brace 1341 (31C); Upper principal 1289 (H/S); Arcade plate 1284. Site Master 1122-1341 HANAM (t=9.3 SENGLAND; 9.0 GLAST; 8.4 WINCATH2)

This medieval house (hall and cross-wing) had the hall roof replaced in the seventeenth century.  Two very decorative two-tier cruck trusses survive in the Solar wing, with cusped arch-braces and windbraces.  The span is only 3.6m/12ft, and the heavy square-set plates above the collar are barely 1.2m/4ft apart, implying that the roof was designed for effect rather than structural necessity.  (The hall had a span of 5.7m/19ft, more suited to base cruck construction).  The solar roof is dated to 1341/2, and is very similar in design to the early fourteenth century two-tier cruck roofs in Wells (Priory of St John, and the Kings Head Inn, tree-ring dated to 1313 and 1318). Survey by R G Gilson. (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 102)


CHEW STOKE, Yew Tree Farm (ST 557 616)

Felling date: Spring 1386

Crucks (3/5) 1385 (18¼C, 34¼C, 40¼C); Collar (0/1). Site Master 1261-1385 CHWSTOKE (t=7.6 GEORGIN1;7.6 SENGLAND;6.3 sth31)

This small village farmhouse with a narrow span of 15 feet (4.6m) has two rooms in line, hall stack backing onto the passage, with a kitchen wing and a later parlour wing.  Over the hall and service room are three raised crucks with unusually tapered and thin blades, sharply elbowed and chamfered.  Apex joint is like type M but without a vertical joint below the diagonal ridge. There is only one purlin each side and one cruck was extended above the collar.  These rather refined crucks have given a felling date of 1386. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 93)


COMPTON  DUNDON, Castlebrook Farm (ST 489 328), Tithe barn

Felling date range: 1283-88

Crucks 1263(h/s+20-25C NM), 1253(h/s), 1252(h/s); Collar 1253(h/s).  Site Master 1109-1263 CMPTDNDN (t = 9.5 SENGLAND; 8.9 GLAST; 8.5 ENGCOMBE)

The Tithe Barn at Castlebrook Farm is a four-bay barn of raised cruck construction set in local lias stone walls.  The centre truss has well-shaped two-centred arch-braces to a cranked collar.  The crucks finish with a type C apex built up of two sections of timber to support the diagonally-set ridge.  The lower section of the saddle has a cranked soffit.  The main door head is similarly cranked.   One of the cruck blades has a tabled scarf with folding wedges and under-squinted abutments and face pegs.  The roof has two sets of purlins with evidence for windbraces to the lower set. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 143)


DOULTING, Abbey Farm Barn (ST 647 430)

Felling date range: 1288-1290

Intermediate principals 1273(3), 1263(h/s); Crucks  1270(2) , 1262(2), 1251(h/s); Arch brace 1277(h/s); Collars 1287(20+1-3C NM), 1264(h/s); Wall post (0/1). Site Master 1154-1287 DOULTING (t=9.1 MASTERAL; 8.7 SOUTH; 8.6 HANTS97)

Doulting, Glastonbury, West Pennard, and Pilton  form a group of four barns belonging to Glastonbury Abbey (Williams, E H D, and Gilson, R G, 1979  ‘Base Crucks in Somerset II’ Somerset Arch. & Nat. Hist Proceedings 123, 27-53). Doulting barn is built in stone from the local quarry and the roof is stone tiled. The barn has eight bays and two porches on each side (later divided by a wall inserted at mid-length). The roof has raised base crucks with trusses at both ends against walls; the upper structure comprises straight principals to some trusses, curved to others, all notched over the roof plate.  Other features include short knee-type dragon ties at arcade plate level, and intermediate principals both above and below the arcade plates.  The felling date of 1288-1290 is considerably earlier than the previously estimated mid-fourteenth century date.  Dating commissioned by McCurdy and Company in advance of the reconstruction of the Pilton barn roof. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 110)


FIDDINGTON, Stockton Lovell Farmhouse (ST 224 418)

Felling date: Spring 1404

Principal rafters 1377 (H/S); 1403 (21¼C). Site Master 1271-1403 FIDNGTON (t=5.9 GEORGIN2; 5.5 GEORGIN1; 5.5 LINCNOX1)

A large farmhouse, originally of three rooms and cross passage, the open hall house having five widely spaced roof bays (3.6m/12ft).  The jointed crucks are massive and partly of elm with three trenched purlins each side and one tier of windbracing, all heavily smoke blackened except for the Solar roof.  The side-pegged jointed crucks have apex type E. Survey by R G Gilson. (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 102)


HALSE, Stoford, East end chimney & stairs (ST 144 288)

Felling dates: Early spring 1608

Solid stair treads 1607 (38¼C); 1587 (11). Site Master 1409-1607 STOFORD1 (t=5.8 EXMED; 5.6 HANTS97; 5.1 CHAWTON2)

Stoford, Halse, is situated in Taunton Deane on an estate of the Hospitallers of St John, and is a typical example of a cruck-framed open hall house of traditional three-room plan.  The jointed cruck posts are of oak and the principals are elm.  Unfortunately the oak posts and archbraced cruck over the hall proved undatable, with no cross-matching within the site.  However, two solid treads of a newel stair dated, one yielding a felling date of 1608 for the flooring over of the low end. (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 84)


HEMINGTON, Upper Row Farm (ST 765 538)

Felling date: Spring 1491

Principal rafters 1490(38¼C, 49¼C). Site Master 1300-1490 HEMINGTN (t = 8.6 ALTON; 8.1 HANTS97; 7.5 SSWITHUN)

The first phase of this rubble-walled house had a typical three-room and cross-passage plan, but the inner room has been replaced by a cross wing (not sampled). The original principal rafter roof survives but has been raised and reset. Dating commissioned by BBC Scotland for a Time Flyers programme. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 126)


HIGH  HAM, Old Manor House Farm, Low Ham (ST 432 292): North-east block

Felling date: Summer 1481

Moulded wall-beam 1480 (17½C); Rail (0/1); Joists (0/2). Site Master 1392-1480 lhm2 (t=6.4 ALTON; 6.0 MASTERAL; 5.6 HANTS97)

This large high status, two-storey house has a good quality six-bay arch-braced roof (open to the upper chambers and not smoke blackened), moulded framed ceilings and depressed four-centred arched doorways.  The roof timbers are elm but the ceiling beams yielded a date of 1481.  The plan of the house is similar to that of Parsonage Farmhouse, Stanton Drew (c1450), both houses with large inner rooms divided by a long framed partition from adjoining small rooms suggesting possible courtroom use.  The house was documented as ‘Low Ham Court’ in the sixteenth century. (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 102)


HIGH LITTLETON, Rugbourne Farmhouse (ST 651 583), Cellar

Felling date: Winter 1769/70

Cellar beam 1769(18C).  Site Master  1686-1769 rgf09 (t = 7.0 HANTS02; 6.9 OLD BASING; 6.5 SENG98).

A single axial beam in the cellar retained complete sapwood. It probably dates the construction of the cellar only, as stylistic evidence suggests the main structure is at least a century earlier. Eight undatable samples from the roof showed abrupt growth changes probably resulting from management of the trees. The roof is in two sections, a north and south range, each having four trusses making five bays. The principal rafters have curved braces to the tiebeams, dovetailed at each end; two rows of purlins. Dating commissioned by the Somerset Vernacular Building Research Group and the owner. (Miles and Worthington 2005, VA 36, list 166)


LONG SUTTON, The Court House (ST 468 259)

Felling dates: Spring 1328

Axial beam 1327 (23¼C) Base cruck 1298 (H/S); Aisle brace 1291 (H/S); Arcade post 1259.  Site Master 1174-1327 LONGSUTN (t=10.0 HANTS97; 8.6 WBRADLEY; 9.2 MASTERAL)

The Court House, Long Sutton, was described and illustrated by E. H. D. Williams and R. G. Gilson in 1979. (‘Base Crucks in Somerset II’, Somerset Archaeology and Natural History 123, 1979, 33-9)  The VCH traces the manor to 1326, when Richard de St. Clare granted to Henry Power an estate of 184 acres. (Victoria County History of Somerset 3, 1974, 159-60)  The house consists of a three-bay hall, with a service passage and two-storey bay beyond.  The hall is 7.5m long by 6.4 m wide, with two raised base-cruck trusses, three intermediate trusses, and an aisled truss beyond the cross passage.  The arcade plates are 28 cm square, joined at the main trusses by splayed and tabled scarfs with under-squinted abutments, each with a tapered edge-key and two face-pegs.  Williams and Gilson illustrated a scarf and noted its similarity to those reported by C. A. Hewett at the Wheat Barn, Cressing Temple, Essex, in 1969, but they propose an origin in the late 14th or early 15th century.  Three cores were taken from the roof and arcade structure, and one from an axial beam in the two-storey bay.  The last sample retained complete sapwood, giving a precise felling date of spring 1328.  The similar heartwood/sapwood boundary dates of the other dated samples strongly suggest contemporaneity with this date.  The Cressing Wheat Barn has recently been tree-ring dated to 1257-80. (VA 21, 1990, 45-6, and VA 24, 1993, 51-2) (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 84)


LUCCOMBE, Post Office (Ketnors) (SS 911 445) 

Felling dates: Summer 1437

Thatching laths (9/10) 1436(18½C, 19½C3, 20½C3, 21½C, 22½C).  Site Master 1380-1436 LUCCOMBE (t = 8.9 BAYLINS1; 8.5 LONDON; 8.2 TICKNHM1)

This former single storey open-hall house has a three room and cross passage plan with four jointed cruck trusses.  The cross passage partition has since been removed to enlarge the hall.  The the first floor rooms were inserted and the front stack added in the late sixteenth/early seventeenth century. In this period also, a two storey wing and a single storey lean-to were added to the rear of the building.  The wing roof runs into that of the house, but the reed is clean.  In contrast the roof timbers and the thatch over the original house are heavily smoke-blackened.  This is the only building on the Holnicote Estate to retain its original base layer of thatch. 
All of the original structural timbers were from fast-grown trees of less than 40 rings, unsuitable for dendro-dating.  However, a number of smoke-blackened thatching laths had been cut out for the insertion of the rear wing roof, and a bundle of these were collected for analysis.  Exceptional cross-matching of the riven laths both within the group as well as with local reference chronologies allowed the dating of the building through the original roof laths.  This demonstrates the dating potential of more ephemeral structural components such as these, despite their short sequences (56 rings maximum here). (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 143)


MILVERTON, Garnivals Week (ST 136 255)

Felling dates: Early spring 1287

Collar 1286 (20¼C); Arcade brace 1271 (H/S); Arch brace 1266 (H/S); Arcade post 1259 (2); Rafters (0/2).  Site Master 1166-1286 GARNIVAL (t=8.4 RUDGE; 7.2 GLAST; 7.0 SOUTH)

Garnivals Week, Milverton, is an isolated farmhouse containing a hall roof with a base cruck and aisle end truss dated 1287; also surviving, one tier of heavy windbraces (cf. Long Sutton Court House, dated 1328, see above).  See expanded article in Individual Case Studies (McDermott 1997, VA 28, 99-101). (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 84)


NORTH CADBURY, North Cadbury Court (ST 635 270)

(a)     West range

Felling date range: 1290-1309

Collar 1272 (H/S); Crown strut 1277 (H/S); Soulaces 1281 (H/S), 1285 (4); Crown brace 1272 (4). Site Master 1196-1285 NCADBRY1 (t=8.2 MARWELL; 8.2 ASTON; 7.7 MASTERAL)

(b)     North and East ranges

Felling date: Spring 1589

Purlins (1/2) 1588 (23¼C); Rafters 1566 (H/S), 1567 (H/S), 1574 (5), 1543; Principal rafter, valley board (0/2). Site Master 1452-1574 NCADBRY2 (t=6.1 MOTISFNT; 5.9 STOLAFS; 5.4 HANTS97)

North Cadbury Court is an imposing Elizabethan manor house looking south towards Cadbury Castle which forms part of its estate.  The Elizabethan stone facade (N) has many gables, mullioned and transomed windows and an early classical porch and oriel bay.  The plan is U-shaped with extended wings.  The Hall was flat-ceiled with first floor chambers and a Long Gallery over, roofed, unusually for its date, with short-principal trusses with square-set arcade plates, tree-ring dated to 1589.  An earlier build is revealed in the west wing. The roof of this former solar has raised base cruck trusses combined with a crown post upper roof, giving an estimated felling date range 1286-1318.  This roof was adapted in the sixteenth century to form part of the Long Gallery.  Later Georgian re-building of the south front and main rooms obscures both the earlier builds.  The original builder was of the Moeles family (c1300) and the major sixteenth-century re-build is confirmed by the dendro dating to be by Sir Francis Hastings (d. 1610). (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 93)


NORTH CADBURY, 21 Woolston Road (ST 635 272)

(a)     Main structure

Felling dates: Spring and Summer 1344

Rafters 1343 (32¼C, 35¼C); Purlin 1343 (23½C); Cruck 1332 (3+8NM). Site Master 1243-1343 NCADBRY3 (t=8.4 EXCATH1; 8.3 HANTS97; 7.9 WBRADLEY)

(b)     Second phase

Felling date: Winter 1441/2

Purlins (1/2) 1441 (23C); Collar (0/1). Site Master 1387-1441 ncvh2 (t=5.2 GTBINNAL; 5.1 MOATHSE1;5.0 COUNCLHS)

This village house is built of rubble stone and thatch, formerly having an open hall and a three-room cross-passage plan with an inner room re-built as a wing. The smoke-blackened hall roof has one closed and one open true cruck truss, tree-ring dated to 1344.  The trusses formerly had two collars and braces, with one tier of wind-bracing, tenoned purlins and apex type E.  The mid fourteenth-century tree-ring date seems early for the apex type and may mean that the truss has been reconstructed at a later date perhaps at the same time that a jointed cruck roof, felling date 1441/2, was built over the service end.  The hall ceiling and stack, incorporating stone arched doors and newel stairs, were inserted in the late sixteenth century. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 93)


NORTON ST PHILIP, The George Inn (ST 775 560)

(a)     Roof

Felling dates: Spring 1430 to Winter 1431/2

(b)     North (front) Range

Felling date: Summer 1430

(a) Joists (6/7) 1431 (15C); 1430 (34¼C); 1429 (30¼C, 33¼C); 1427 (37+1-2NM), 1397 (H/S); (b) Tiebeams 1429 (17½C); 1388 (H/S+36NM); Lintel 1405 (H/S); Rail 1397 (H/S); Wall plate 1406 (1); Moulded principal rafter 1405 (3). Site Master 1258-1457 GEORGIN1 (t=11.6 HANTS97; 9.7 SOUTH; 9.6 MASTERAL)

(c)     Infill joists to Hall

Felling dates: Winter 1509/10 and Spring 1510

(d)     South (Barn) Range

Felling date: ?Winter 1457/8

(c) Joists (2/3) 1509 (26C), 1509 (23¼C); (d) Principal rafters 1457 (13?C), 1457 (12+1-2C); Purlins 1456 (16+1-2C); 1436 (3); Collar 1449 (24). Site Master 1290-1509 GEORGIN2 (=12.2 GEORGIN1; 10.3 MASTERAL; 10.2 HANTS97)

(e)     Repair phase

Felling date range: 1531-1560

(f)      East (Dining Room) Range

Felling date: Summer 1477

(e) Replacement principal rafter 1530 (11). (f) Tiebeam 1476 (20½C); Principal rafters 1476 (24½C), 1477 (14¼C); Transverse beams 1476 (17½C), 1477 (20C). Site Master 1438-1530 gi35 (t=8.4 TREES2; 7.8 MASTERAL; 7.1 SOUTH)

(g)     Repair phase

Felling date: Summer 1746

Repair to tiebeam 1745 (23½C) Site Master 1653-1745 gi42 (t=5.9 BAREFOOT; 5.6 MC19; 5.0 HANTS97)

The George Inn is a large rectangular stone building of three floors, originally the property of the Carthusian Priory of Hinton Charterhouse.  It is believed to have been built in the fourteenth century as an Inn or Guesthouse, with some use as a market house for the sale and storage of linen cloth during the two annual cloth fairs.  The building was re-roofed and given a jettied timber front in the 15th century.  The front and roof are revealed by the tree-ring dating both to date to 1431, and not to be of different dates as previously thought (Williams, E H D, Penoyre, J and J, and Hale, B C H, ‘The George Inn, Norton St Philip’, Archeol. J. 144 (1987) 317-327). The roof is now of nine bays, with eight open or closed collar and tie-beam trusses and two arch-brace trusses over the hall (apexes type M).  Originally the building was longer, probably by two bays.  A large galleried open well at first and second floor levels, contemporary with the 1431 re-build, was formed with moulded trimming beams over the two bays of the three-bay hall, revealing the arch-braced roof to the ground floor.  The opening was closed in 1510, the tree-ring felling date of the infilling joists.  The building is documented as being an inn in the sixteenth century, the infill being part of the updating when the stone fireplaces were installed.

(d-e) To the south, across a small courtyard, is a barn comprising three collar-rafter trusses with threaded purlins, tree-ring dated to 1457/8.  The easternmost truss was later replaced in similar form, (estimated felling date range 1531-1560).  As with the main north range, the barn appears subsequently to have been truncated at the eastern end.

(f-g) Forming the eastern side of the courtyard is a four-bayed range of which the northern half is floored over, whilst the southern half adjacent to the barn still remains open to the roof, dendro-dated to 1478.  This part of the range appears to have served as an open hall as evidenced by the soot encrustation on the roof structure.  The roof consists of tiebeam and collar trusses and two sets of butt purlins.  An unusual feature is the distinctive tiebeams in which the middle third is cranked.  One of the tiebeam ends had suffered from a fire and was repaired in 1746.

The western range is a complex galleried composition of several stages of building.  However, none of the samples taken from this area dated.  Dating initially funded by SVBRG and extended by English Heritage to include the rear ranges.  The whole complex is being studied and re-appraised by Kirsty Rodwell in advance of a comprehensive refurbishment of the complex. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 93)


NORTON ST PHILIP, Lodge Farm (ST 797 581)

Felling date range: 1491-1523

Principal rafters 1487(h/s), 1485(h/s), 1473(h/s); Purlins 1479(h/s2); Rafter 1486(h/s). Site Master 1350-1487 LDGFMNSP (t=7.7 MC19; 6.6 ACTON; 5.6 TREADS)

Lodge Farm is a house with a complex plan involving periods of build from the 15th to the 18th centuries. Originally it was a modest stone and timber framed building which may have combined the functions of a garden pavilion or banquet house perhaps with secondary use as a lookout for deer and other game within Farleigh Hungerford Castle Park.  Later it was converted to domestic usage, perhaps accommodating the Falconer, and it finally became a farmhouse.  Tree ring dating of the roof has produced a felling date 1491-1523 for the initial structure (possibly also covering a second phase). (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 110)


Norton St Philip, Wick Farm House (ST 788 572)

Felling date: Winter 1371/2

Crucks (1/2) 1371 (25C). Site Master 1211-1371 wfh1 (t=7.1 OXON93; 6.4 MASTERAL 6.3 EASTMID)

This large farmhouse of unusually high status thought to have been the property of Charterhouse Priory.  It comprises three rooms in line, a hall (21 ft span) with an inserted high-end fireplace, cross passage, service and inner rooms.  The roof structure includes three extended arch-braced cruck trusses, over the two-bay hall (apex type B) with intermediates.  Three chamfered purlins on each side (the bottom ones square-set) are tenoned in line, and two tiers of curved windbraces form together a high quality roof.  The roof timbers are tree-ring dated to 1371/2, which confirms a 14th century date estimate d for the two-centred stone arched and moulded entrance doorway which has a filleted convex-moulded hood.  Evidence for a smoke louvre remains. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 93)


PENSFORD, Viaduct View, High Street (ST 622 637)

Felling date: Summer 1512

Principals (2/3) 1488; 1511 (16½C). Site Master 1362-1511 PENSFORD (t=6.7 PLASMWR1; 6.0 NORTH; 5.7 WALES97)

Despite its classical elevations, this two-storey, three-roomed town house contains a late medieval roof of three trusses, having principals with short curved feet, tenoned purlins and one tier of windbraces now gone. (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 102)


PILTON, Pilton Manor (ST 590 409), Dovecote

Felling date range: 1441-46

Principal rafters 1415(h/s), 1419(h/s), 1420(h/s), 1421(h/s+20-25C NM); Lintel (0/1); Solepiece (0/1).  Site Master 1345-1421 PILTON1 (t = 4.8 DUMMER1; 4.7 EGRNSTD4; 4.2 SHAPWCK1)

This stone dovecote is situated 20 m from a house of the Abbots of Glastonbury. The dovecote with 811 nest-holes is mounted over an undercroft (now filled in) on a steep slope; the original doorway (on the high side) is nearly 3 m above ground. It had two-stage angle buttresses at each corner.  the roof is in three bays, of which only the wallplates and the principal rafters with short curved feet survive.  One core was taken from a lintel of the original doorway but it failed to date.  In the early nineteenth century the building was converted to a stable and most  of the buttresses were removed. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 143)


RODE, 23, 25, and 25a High Street (ST 807 540)

Felling dates: Winter 1427/8, Spring 1428, Summer 1429

Transverse beam 1427 (32C); Principal rafters (2/3) 1427 (24¼C); 1428 (27½C); Tiebeam (0/1). Site Master 1434-1428 RODE (t=5.1 ASTNEYR3; 5.0 CHWSTOKE; 4.9 ACTON)

This is now a terrace of three houses with a continuous nine-bay smoke-blackened roof of collar and tiebeam trusses.  Assembly marks III-X indicate that two trusses (one bay) are missing at the west end.  Three trusses are open, the remainder closed, suggesting three former open halls.  The building has no original decorative features (fireplaces were inserted in the eighteenth/nineteenth centuries), so what was its original use?  Extensive smoke blackening suggests that it was domestic, but it also could have been used for trade purposes, Rode being a cloth producing town.  The construction is similar to town houses in Bruton, where cambered collars and tie-beams were also used (tree-ring dated 1430-50) but the Bruton houses were not smoke blackened. (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 102)


SELWORTHY, Allerford, Cross Lane Farmhouse (SS 905 458)  

Felling date: Winter 1544/5

Principal rafters 1516, 1544(22C); Collar (0/1). Site Master 1404-1544 XLANEFHS (t= 7.9 LUDLOW9; 7.6 WESTHELE; 7.4 BROOMHAM)

A late-medieval three-room and cross-passage house with a seventeenth-century rear wing. The jointed cruck roof over the hall, cross passage and lower room is smoke-blackened. The truss over the hall/parlour partition is closed and smoke-blackened on one side only and the parlour chamber may be original. The lower room was floored before the hall stack was added; the truss above the lower screen was closed in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century. The hall fireplace was added in the first half of the seventeenth century. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 156)


SELWORTHY, East Lynch Cottage (SS 927 463)

Felling dates: Winter 1314/15 and Spring 1315

Crucks 1314 (29C, 32¼C, 33¼C); 1310 (28); Collar (0/1). Site Master 1157-1314 SLWORTHY (t=7.8 SALOP95; 7.2 EASTMID; 7.2 LUDLOW2)

This hillside farmhouse, built of cob and thatch, lies in West Somerset on the Holnicote Estate, owned by the National Trust who provided funding for the tree-ring investigation.  The house has two primitive looking true-cruck trusses; the eastern one rising from a stone plinth is now in an adjoining barn, but was previously in the low-end of the open hall.  A single axial hip cruck survives at the west end.  The purlins are pegged on to the top of the blades, collars are halved and pegged to the crucks which have yoke apexes (type H) supporting a square-set ridge.  The tree-ring date of 1315 makes this one of the earliest Somerset cruck roofs.  Survey by R G Gilson and subsequently by I Richardson. (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 102)


SELWORTHY, Holnicote, The Gatehouse (SS 910 462)

(a)     Front gateposts  

Felling date ranges: 1489-1521; 1493-1525

(b)     Rear gateposts (reused jointed cruck blades)      

Felling date range: 1439-71

(a) Gateposts 1480(h/s), 1485(1). (b) Jointed cruck, wall posts reused as gateposts 1409, 1430(h/s). Site Masters (a) 1374-1485  HLNICOT1 (t= 5.2 IGHTFELD; 5 WHEELERS; 4.9 NORTH); (b) 1243-1430 HLNICOT2 (t= 7.1 MUCHNEY; 7 SENGLAND; 6.6 LONDON).

This rubble stone gatehouse was the entrance to the demolished Holnicote House (Steyning family), a courtyard house, similar to the one surviving at nearby Bratton with a similar gatehouse. A room above the throughway and a pair of large doors survive. The roof is supported by three jointed cruck trusses. There is a fireplace in the room and no smoke-blackening. The trusses were not suitable for sampling, but the two doorposts dated. The rear gateposts are the reused wall posts of a jointed cruck truss, thought to have come from Holt Mansion. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 156)


SELWORTHY, Holnicote, the barn (SS 910 462), Inserted doorposts        

Felling date: Winter 1823/4

Door posts 1815(27), 1823(30C). Site Master 1632-1823 HLNICOT3 (t= 9.2 MC19; 8.4 MASTERAL; 7.7 EXCATH2).

The building is a jointed-cruck threshing barn forming part of the north range of the estate yard. The south doorposts were sampled (roof was not suitable). The posts relate either to the insertion of the door, or to a replacement of the original door frame. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 156)


SELWORTHY, Tivington, The Knapp (SS 931 455)          

Felling date: Summer 1509

Purlins 1508(23½C2); Principal rafters 1508(20½C, 23½C). Site Master 1445-1508 THEKNAPP (t= 6.5 EXTON; 6.2 BREMORE1; 5.8 BDLEIAN4)

A large former farmhouse, now north facing, but with a medieval range facing east onto the road. In the seventeenth century, the lower end was converted into the higher end of a three-room cross-passage house at right-angles to the original. The late-medieval range has three jointed cruck trusses surviving, all smoke-blackened. The modern kitchen is probably the hall of this house. Three mullion windows survive in the north elevation. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 156)


SHEPTON MALLET, 8 Market Place (ST 619 436)         

(a)     Main range

Felling dates: Summer/Autumn 1674, Winter 1674/5, Spring 1675

(b)     North wing

Felling date: Spring 1678

(a) Collars 1674(26C, 39C); Principal rafter 1650(1); Purlin 1673(18½C); Joists 1674(32C, 31¼C); Transverse beam 1618(+55-60C NM). (b) Transverse beam 1642 (h/s); Joist 1677(31¼C). Site Master 1518-1677 SHPTNMLT (t = 10.8 THEVYNE3; 9.5 STNSTJN4; 9.2 MASTERAL)

The building at 8 Market Place, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, is located to the south of the Market Place and church. The main part of the building (dating to 1675) comprises a range of five bays running east-west, originally facing a courtyard to the south. To the north is a wing of three bays dating to 1678 or shortly after. Both ranges are of two full storeys above cellars, with habitable garrets or attics above. Although both ranges show identical construction, such as the cranked collars and the stonework and plaster details, there does not appear to have been any original internal communication between them. Thus they appear to have been built as independent units. Dating commissioned by English Heritage. D. Miles, ‘The Tree-Ring Dating of 8 Market Place, Shepton Mallet, Somerset’, CfA report 4/2002. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 126)


SOMERTON, Crane Farm (ST 490 284)

Felling dates: Spring 1335, Winter 1336/7, and Summer 1338

Crucks 1337(21½C), 1334(12¼C); Purlins (1/2) 1337(27½C); Collar 1336(16C). Site Master 1171-1337 crane12 (t=7 WNTERBRN; 6.9 EXCATH1; 6.8 SOUTH)

Part of the medieval house survives with two smoke-blackened true-cruck trusses, tree-ring dated to 1338.  The crucks are raised, with cambered collars and a type H apex, and with a single tier of windbraces, all suitable for a mid-fourteenth century date. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 110)


SOUTH PETHERTON, Wigborough Manor House, Main range and wing (ST 448 151)

Felling dates: Spring 1584; Spring 1585

Purlins 1584 (23¼C); 1583 (14¼C); 1583 (26¼C); Principal rafters (1/2) 1564 (H/S); Rafters (0/3). Site Master 1447-1584 WIGBORO (t=9.7 SALOP95; 8.5 MASTERAL; 8.3 OLDHLLFM)

Wigborough Manor House, South Petherton, is an example of a small classic Elizabethan manor house.  The plan is traditional and rather old-fashioned for its date; originally symmetrical, with two wings, a central porch, a two-storey oriel and a garderobe turret (one wing and turret have gone).  The roof has tiebeam-and-collar trusses throughout with no windbraces.

The house was built by Henry Compton, gent.  Before dendro dating it had been considered that the house had been built by Henry’s father James (d.1579) and that the present roof was the result of upgrading in the 1580’s or 90’s.  It can now be seen that this is unlikely to be so and that it is probable that the whole house was built in 1585.  Indeed a date of 1585 is carved on the panelling in the oriel room, which corresponds with the tree-ring felling dates obtained from the roof structure of early 1584 and spring 1585. For further information see Individual Case Studies (Penoyre 1998, VA 29, 90-92).  (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 84)


STOKE ST MARY, Higher Broughton Farm (ST 261 224)

Felling date ranges: 1267-1299; 1268-1300

Arcade post 1259 (H/S); End cruck 1265 (8); Principal rafters (0/2); Collar (0/1); Lower tie (0/1). Site Master 1173-1265 HIRBRWTN (t=6.6 MASTERAL; 6.4 UPWICH2; 6.3 SALOP95)

Higher Broughton Farmhouse, Stoke St. Mary, is located in Taunton Deane and was owned by the Bishop of Winchester.  The half-hip cruck and aisle end truss, the latter with clasped purlins instead of arcade plates, have produced a date range of 1268-1300.  See Individual Case Studies (Penoyre and Penoyre 1997, VA 28, 113-4). (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 84)


TAUNTON, Tudor Tavern, 15 Fore Street (St 228 244)    

Felling dates: Winter 1323/4

Principal rafter 1323(17C); Stave 1323(21C); Crown post 1288(+1 NM to h/s); Crown braces 1292(h/s), 1297(h/s); arch-brace 1305(h/s); Windbrace 1294(h/s); Arcade plate 1282.  Site Master 1189-1323 TUDRTVRN (t = 9.4 EXCATH1; 9.0 MASTERAL; 8.4 WNTERBRN)

The so-called Tudor Tavern overlooks the former market place in Taunton, standing on a characteristic narrow urban plot.  The property was owned by the Portmans of Orchard Portman from the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries, but occupied by a succession of tenants as a dwelling and shop.  Stylistic features indicate that the building predates the Portmans’ ownership and it has been supposed that its construction might be referred to in 1384-5 when William Marchaunt (MP for Taunton in 1379) extended a tenement which he held in Fore Street in order to erect a larger building. Dendrochronology now indicates an earlier construction date. The front of the house was originally two-storied, with a jettied first-floor chamber above a shop, but was transformed in 1578 (a date-plaque) when a second floor was inserted within the roof and a new jettied façade added, with oriel windows and decoratively braced small-panelled timber-framing..  To the side of the shop an original stone arched doorway leads to a side passage within the building, and behind the shop is the open medieval hall which retains two original three-light trefoil-headed windows and a base-cruck roof with a crown-post superstructure, intermediate trusses of jointed-cruck form, and a crown-post superstructure. It has, intermediate trusses of jointed-cruck form, and a stop-splayed and tabled scarf joint in one of the arcade plates.  Behind the 1578 facade the original gable truss is of aisle-post form, although the closed trusses at each end of the open hall have base crucks.

Timbers from a  range beyond the hall with a jointed-cruck roof, thought to date from shortly after 1578, proved unsuitable for dating.  Robert Taylor, ‘Town Houses in Taunton, 1500-1700’, Post-Medieval Archaeology, 8, 1974, 63-79; E. H. D. Williams and R. G. Gilson, ‘Base Crucks in Somerset (III) and Allied Roof Forms’, Somerset Archaeology and Natural History, 125, 1981, 45-66; Robin Bush, ‘Tudor Tavern, Fore Street, Taunton’, SANHS, 119, 1975, 15-21. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 143)


TIMSBURY, Church Cottage (ST 666 589)

Felling date: Winter 1444/5

Cruck blades 1444(11C), 1420; Collar 1435(2); Ridge (0/1). Site Master 1383-1444  TIMSBURY (t = 6.6 PEACH2; 5.8 SSWITHUN; 5.5 HIARDEN2).

Church Cottage is a two-bay masonry-walled house with a single upper cruck truss.  It consists of elbowed cruck blades, a cranked collar, threaded purlins and a threaded diagonally-set ridge through a type M apex (Alcock 1981).  The dating commissioned by the owner. (Miles and Worthington 2005, VA 36, list 166)


WELLS, 17 Chamberlain Street (ST 548 458)

Felling dates: Spring 1444, Winter 1444/5

Collar 1444(31C); Rafters 1443(11¼C, 22¼C, 27¼C); Purlin 1443(15¼C); Ridge 1443(19¼C). Site Master 1357-1444 CSWELLS (t=6.4 ARMYNAVY; 5.2 CDC56810; 5.2 ALTON)

The original house, of 1½ storeys, has a central entry and cross-passage plan; the two surviving tie-beam and collar roof trusses have given a felling date of 1444/5.  A second house was added, probably in the 18th century when the building was refaced, including parapets.  Dating commissioned by Dr and Mrs Poole, in conjunction with recording by SVBRG. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 110)


WELLS, King’s Head Inn (ST 548 456)

(a)     Hall roof

Felling date: Winter 1318/19

Intermediate principal rafter 1318 (28C); Interrupted tiebeam 1300 (H/S). Site Master 1177-1318 KINGSHD1 (t=6.8 SENGLAND; 6.7 GLAST; 5.8 MASTERAL)

(b)     Front range

Felling date: Spring 1511

Tiebeam 1510 (16¼C) Site Master 1410-1510 khw1 (t=5.9 GEORGIN2; 5.8 ACTON; 5.8 MOTISFNT)

The King’s Head Inn is a small town house, now an inn, but with its former use and ownership unknown.  The two-bay hall roof, tree ring dated to 1318/9, is very similar to that of the Priory of St John (no. 9), but is even more decorative with cinquefoil cusped and moulded arch-braces, trefoiled upper crucks and cusped windbraces.  The roof is of short-principal form, supported on timber corbels; it includes carpenter's marks with Arabic and Roman numerals.  It seems likely that both the Inn and the Priory were erected by the same craftsmen. (E. H. D. Williams & R. G. Gilson, ‘Base Crucks in Somerset’, Somerset Archaeol. Natural. Hist. Soc. 125 (1981) 45-66.) (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 93)


WELLS, Priory of St John (ST 548 456)

Felling dates: Spring 1311 to Winter 1314/15

Rafters 1310 (48¼C), 1152, 1308 (47); Arch braces 1313 (22C), 1314 (50C); Crucks 1313 (13C); 1314 (25C). Site Master 1154-1310 SJPRIORY (t=8.0 THRONE; 7.5 STOKE2; 6.9 ENGLAND)

The Priory of St John is an early fourteenth-century small domestic building, probably a guesthouse, adjoining the former Priory, with an L-shaped plan comprising former open hall, passage, and service room and a later wing.  The hall range has an elaborate base-cruck truss roof; five two-tier crucks with intermediates and with cusped arch-braces, upper crucks and square-set plates together with three tiers of windbraces.  Unusually for the date of 1314/15, the timbers have carpenter's marks with both Roman and Arabic numerals. (E. H. D. Williams & R. G. Gilson, ‘Base Crucks in Somerset’, Somerset Archaeol. Natural Hist. Soc. 121 (1977) 55-65.) (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 93)


WELLS, 26 St Thomas Street (ST 554 461)

Felling dates: Spring, Summer 1511

Principal rafters 1510(26¼C, 34¼C); Purlin 1491(10+21½C NM); Girt 1486(1). Site Master 1371-1510 STSWLLS2 (t= 8 MASTERAL; 7.3 BRTNSTCY; 7 SOUTH)

St Thomas Street is a medieval suburb of Wells, and the interpretation of some of the house plans is problematical. No 26 and its neighbour 28 (where a ceiling beam dated to 1485: VA 34 (2003), 143) were at one time linked by an internal doorway between a ground-floor room with a framed ceiling in 28 and a cross passage in 26; but the dates now obtained for the roof and ceiling in 26 do not confirm that the two properties were originally built as one. The dated half beam in 26 is deep-chamfered with a shallow step-stop, and the roof has a single truss with a cranked tenoned collar, a ridge piece and chamfered in-line butt purlins: this is a recurrent roof type in St Thomas Street. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 156)


WELLS, 28 St Thomas Street (ST 554 461)

Felling date: Summer 1485

Half beam (girt) 1484(47½C);  Principal rafters(0/2); Purlin(0/1). Site Master 1368-1484 stsw5x (t = 5.9 PETTAB; 5.5 CRESSETT; 5.2 BRTNSTCY)

This and the following house stand in a medieval suburb of Wells. The rubble-built house has a ground-floor plan of a single room with a four-panel plain-chamfered ceiling, an inserted cross passage, and an added rear wing. A blocked doorway between 28 and 26 (on the west) suggests that they once formed one house of two rooms and cross-passage plan, although the roof line of 28 is higher than its neighbour. The roof trusses have tiebeams, cambered collars, ridge piece, and two tiers of in-line chamfered butt purlins. The felling date obtained for a half beam in the framed ceiling is thought to relate to the first phase of the house, although samples from the roof failed to date. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 143)


WELLS, 43 St Thomas Street (ST 554 462)

Felling date: Winter 1462/3

Principal rafters (2/4) 1462(37C), 1442(4); Purlin 1448(h/s). Site Master 1342-1462 STSWLLS1 (t = 6.4 SSWITHUN; 5.9 MASTERAL; 5.3 VCRSCLS1)

No. 43 is referred to in 1734 as ‘part of messuage or dwelling house known as the Kings Head inn’ and appears to be integral with no. 41 (not seen internally). The rubble-stone front range of no. 43 lies parallel with the street and the ground-floor plan consists of two rooms, each with a fireplace at the end wall, with an inserted central entry.  The original plan, including no. 41, may have been of three-rooms and cross-passage form. The house is two-storeyed, with an inserted attic floor at the front.  The roof of the front range consists of A-frame trusses (from which the tenoned collars have been removed) with two tiers of chamfered in-line butt purlins and a ridge-piece set diagonally in a V-notch above each straight-cut tenoned apex.  This roof type has been found in several houses in St Thomas Street, although in some instances the trusses have a tie-beam as well as a collar: an example of the latter in Chamberlain Street in Wells has been dendro-dated to 1444/5 (VA 31, 118).  The felling date of 1462/3 for the roof in no. 43 confirms that this is a late-medieval roof type. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 143)


WELLS, 20 Vicars Close (ST 551 460)

a)       Primary phase, first floor frame

Felling date: Spring 1349

Joist 1348(41¼C). Site Master 1257-1348 vcw4 (t=7.1 NCADBRY3; 5.6 TITCH3; 5.5 WNTERBRN)

b)      Re-roofing

Felling dates: Spring 1466 and Summer 1466

Principal rafter 1465(23½C); Arch braces 1465(20¼C, 52½C). Site Master 1345-1465 VCRSCLS1 (t=6.2 SHAPWCK1; 5.9 MASTERAL; 5.4 SALOP95)

No. 20 is part of the west terrace of Vicar’s houses known to have been commenced in the mid-fourteenth century.  The houses had ground floor halls with lateral stacks, rear turret stairs and first floor chambers open to the roof.  A precise felling date of spring 1349 for a first floor joist confirms the c. 1350 date of the primary construction phase.  The roof is of arch-braced collar trusses (possibly with short curved feet) and have one tier of windbraces and brattished cornice mouldings.  Since the other roofs in the Close are similar, the unexpected date of 1466 for the roof of No. 20 implies a complete rebuild of the houses above the eaves, only a century after the original foundation.  It was suggested that this work was carried out by Bishop Bekynton (1443-65), a great builder, to unify the appearance of the Close which is thought from documents to have been originally built piecemeal, with irregularly-stepped roofs accommodating the sloping site.  However, the date of summer 1466 suggests that Bekynton’s successor either instigated or completed this work.  These new roofs follow the slope of the ground. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 110)



WELLS, Wells Cathedral (ST 551 458) East end of Nave roof

Felling dates: Spring 1212-1213 and Summer 1213-1214

Rafters 1194 (5+18-19NM), 1197 (H/S), King struts 1194 (2), 1212 (18-19½C); Collar 1194 (6). Site Master 1119-1197 WLSCATH1 (t=9.2 SOUTH; 9.1 MASTERAL; 8.9 SENGLAND)

The construction of Wells Cathedral began, at the east end, in circa 1176 and proceeded westwards to completion in the 1240’s.  Several building breaks and changes of stone define the phases in the construction and a possible chronology for these has been worked out, using archaeological and historical evidence.  The crossing and transepts were completed in the 1190’s and the central tower probably by circa 1200.  The erection of the eastern half of the nave followed, up to the famous “Interdict break” when work on the building stopped in circa 1210.  It has been argued that the easternmost bays of the nave were roofed by this time (J Sampson, 1998 Wells Cathedral West Front – Construction, Sculpture and Conservation , Sutton Publishing). However, the tree-ring date dates of 1212-1213 and 1313-1314 from the easternmost 11 nave trusses indicate that roofing did not take place until the second decade of the thirteenth century when work resumed. The roof has individual rafter-couples with soulaces, and double collars with a king strut between.  The joints are all notch-lapped with both archaic and refined entry profiles and exhibit interesting gouged assembly marks which appear to be Carolingian letters with a ‘tag’ being used to differentiate between the northern and southern sides of the roof. The dating was carried out in collaboration with the Cathedral Archaeologist Warwick Rodwell as part of research on early assembly marks. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 93)

WELLS, Wells Cathedral (ST 551 458)

(a)     Inner door, Chapter House Undercroft (Treasury)          

Felling date range: After 1265

Boards 1234, 1256.  Site Master 1118-1256 WLSCATH2 (t = 8.7 WSTNSTOW; 7.9 GLOUCBLF; 7.7 GTOXNBLD). Boards 1234, 1236.  Site Master 1078-1236 WLSCATH3 (t = 6.8 SOUTH; 6.5 HWINCC; 6.3 BRISTOL)

(b)     Outer door, Chapter House Undercroft

Felling date range: After 1456

Planks 1417, 1418, 1447. Site Master 1329-1447 WLSCATH4 (t = 7.1 SHAPWCK1; 6.5 HIGHTOWN; 6.3 SALOP95)

(c)     Cope Chest in Retroquire

Felling date range: 1111-43

Bottom rails 1103(1), 1099, 1076; Top rail (0/1); Corner post (0/1); Boards (0/3). Site Master 980-1103 WLSCATH5 (t = 7.7 SOUTH; 7.4 WALES97; 7.3 BRISTOL)

The octagonal chapter house at Wells stands on a vaulted undercroft, pre-dating the early fourteenth century main structure. The undercroft is constructed as a treasury with heavily barred windows and secure doors.  It has double doors, the outer door clearly an addition for which a secondary rebate has been cut into the masonry arch, while the inner door is primary. Both doors were clearly made for their present locations and show no evidence of major alteration. The inner door is constructed of vertical boarding attached to a portcullis frame with clenched nails and roves; the boards are edge-pegged with iron dowels.  The exterior face is heavily ornamented with ironwork, the scrolls and stamped decoration being characteristic of the mid-thirteenth century.  The design and detailing of the undercroft suggests construction in the later 1250s or ’60s, and this door is likely to have been hung around the time of its completion.  The terminus post quem date of after 1265 for one of the boards, and somewhat earlier dates for the other three boards suggest the door was constructed shortly after this date. The heavier outer door is constructed of vertical planking on the outer side and horizontal planking on the inner, held together with numerous clenched nails and roves.  Extensive works to the ancillary buildings of the cathedral were carried out in the middle years of the fifteenth century by Bishop Thomas Bekynton (1443-65), and he is most likely to have been responsible for it.

The cope chest is one of seven surviving medieval examples in England. It is segmental in plan with a hinged lid. The front and sides were ornamented with blind arcading, the arches and stepped bases of which remain. A reference to lining the chest with linen in 1409 led to a supposition that it was early fifteenth century; it was later assigned to the fourteenth century, and Cecil Hewett,  'English medieval Cope Chests', J. British Archaeological Association, 141, 1988, 105-124. dated it to the thirteenth century. Recently its Romanesque detailing has been recognised, particularly the stepped bases, suggesting a twelfth-century date. The felling date range of 1111-43, for a moulded bottom side rail, makes it the oldest item of scientifically-dated wooden furniture in the British Isles, although this date is somewhat earlier than anticipated from the detailing. Wells dating commissioned by the Dean and Chapter of Wells; notes by Warwick Rodwell and Jane Geddes. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 143)


WHITESTAUNTON, Whitestaunton Manor, Hall roof (ST 280 105)

Felling date range: 1446-1478

Purlins (1/3) 1437 (H/S); Principal rafter (0/1). Site Master 1343-1437 wstn1 (t=6.7 MASTERAL; 6.6 BRUTON1; 6.1 EASTMID)

Whitestaunton Manor, Whitestaunton, is a fine late fifteenth century stone-built manor house of medium size.  It faces north, with the house platform cut into rising ground to the south and west adjacent to and perhaps incorporating Roman earthworks.

The house comprises an east-west hall range, an east wing containing a low-end solar coeval with the hall, and a west wing re-built in the sixteenth century.  There are remains of a detached kitchen at the rear, converted in the seventeenth century to house a first floor Court Room.

Dendro-dating of the roof timbers has proved very difficult, but one purlin in the hall roof yielded a date-range of 1446-1478, which goes some way to confirming that the house was built by John Brett who died in 1479.  The west wing was entirely re-built on a large scale in the late sixteenth century.  Regrettable no dendro-date could be obtained from the roof of either wing.

The glory of Whitestaunton lies in its medieval roofs, hall and solar, neither of which is smoke-blackened.  That over the hall has an arch-braced hammer-beam roof (with very short hammer beams) with the main and intermediate trusses.  The main truss braces are slip-tenoned to the principals and tenoned to the moulded collars.  Intermediate trusses, also arch-braced, are of lighter scantling without hammer beams, the principals are in two pieces, butt-jointed over the middle purlin.  Purlins are moulded and three tiers of sunk and cusped windbraces forming trefoils and quatrefoils complete the elaborate roof.  The solar roof is similar but without the hammer beams or cusping to the decoratively arranged curved windbraces. (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 84)


WINSCOMBE, West End Farmhouse, Barton (SS 934 568)

Felling dates: Spring 1277, Summer 1278, Winter 1278/9

Crucks 1276 (40¼C); 1277 (21½C); 1278 (20C). Site Master 1080-1278 WENDFARM (t=9.4 MASTERAL; 9.1 SOUTH; 8.9 NORTH)

The farmhouse lies in a small hamlet on the western slope of the Mendips.  It contains two true-cruck trusses, tree-ring dated to 1278/9, the earliest Somerset cruck recorded to date.  Thin and tapering cruck blades rise from 1.2m/4ft above the ground floor to unusually refined saddle apexes (type C) which carry the square-set ridge.  One apex has the base of the saddle cut away to form a chamfered arch.  The extent of the open hall is obscured by later rebuilding and only one bay of the early roof remains.  The building was surveyed by R.G. Gilson 1979, later by S.E. Shaw. (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 102)


WRAXELL, Birdcombe Court (ST 479 718), Cross-wing

Felling dates: Winter 1440/41 and Winter 1441/2

Rafter 1440 (15C); Joists 1441 (28C, 34C); Transverse beam 1401 (H/S); Arch-brace 1417 (H/S); Purlin 1421 (H/S). Site Master 1276-1441 BRDCMBCT (t=9.4 TICKNHM1; 8.9 MASTERAL; 8.3 WALES97)

The house has a T-shaped plan comprising an early hall range and a later medieval parlour cross-wing with a stone-vaulted porch under a four-storey tower.  The parlour wing has large moulded beams, a four-bay arch-braced cruck roof with short curved feet and two-tiers of cusped windbraces; both beams and roof tree-ring dated to 1441/2.  The roof had a moulded cornice with brattishing and roll mouldings comparing well with the parlour beams.  The single earlier hall truss truss is unusual in combining arch-braced true crucks with a sharply cranked collar and square-set ‘arcade’ plates clasped between collar and cruck blades.  Williams and Gilson suggested that the hall truss was 14th century, but in the light of the tree-ring dates for similar trusses elsewhere in the county it may be late thirteenth century.  Unfortunately it could not be dated due to its low numbers of rings.  Surveyed by E.H.D. Williams and R.G. Gilson, 1980. (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 102)