CASTLE BROMWICH, Church of St Mary and St Margaret (SP 143 898): Dug-out chest

Felling date range: 1500-1530

Chest wall 1486(3 rings to h/s boundary NM). Site Master  1408-1486  CSTLBROM (t=5.5 MARTIN; 5.4 OVERTON3; 5.1 FRDABBY2)

The parish chest from this church was for some years on display at Blakesley Hall Museum, Yardley.  Due to a programme of re‑presentation at the museum, the chest was no longer required and as a condition of its sale, a photographic and dendrochronological record of the chest was required.  The chest is of the dug-out variety, fashioned from a single log approximately 22 in wide, 17 in high, and with an overall length of 6 ft 10in. The walls of the chest are on average 3in thick and somewhat unusually have bull-nosed ends.  The lid is also rounded and is formed from a single plank 1½in thick which sits in a similar rebate, and the cavity of the chest is 11in deep below the lid.  Only the left-hand hinge remains to the lid.  The bottom of the chest is lined with modern softwood boarding which also appears to sit in a rebate.  It was not possible to accurately provenance the origin of the tree, but it was felled between 1500 and 1530. Dating commissioned by Revd Canon Boyle. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 107)

ERDINGTON, The Lad in the Lane, Bromfield Lane  (SP 113 907)

(a)     Hall        

Felling date: Spring 1400

(b)     Alterations to lower end of hall   

Felling date range: (OxCal modelled) 1591-1621 (unrefined 1592-1625)

(c)     Cross-wing        

Felling date range: (OxCal modelled) 1456-61 (unrefined 1456-67)

(a) Arch-brace 1399(25¼C); Crucks (0/2); (b) Tiebeam 1581(1); (c) Centre posts 1416(H/S?), 1423(H/S), Principal rafter 1455(23). Site Masters (a) 1331-1399 lle3 (t = 5.6 HIGHTOWN; 5.3 HENGOED; 5.2 SALOP95); (b) 1474-1581 lle4  (t = 5.3 ARDEN2; 5.1 SEECHEM2; 4.8 STKASQ01); (c) 1359-1423 lle56 (t = 6.9 HIGHTOWN; 6.7 HERECB2; 6.2 SOUTH) and 1390-1455 lle7 (t = 5.0 SENGLAND; 4.9 HERECB2; 4.9 CBMASQ01)

The Lad in the Lane, Erdington comprises a hall range parallel to the street with an early cross-wing, much altered in the twentieth century. The hall contains two very substantial cruck trusses; its upper end was replaced by a box-framed cross-wing in the mid-fifteenth century. The house was built by the prosperous Holden family, and then held for 200 years by a succession of blacksmiths; it became a pub in about 1780. Dating commissioned by Peter Leather of the University of Birmingham. See P. Leather et al., ‘The Lad in the Lane, Erdington – Birmingham’s Oldest’, Birmingham Historian, 30 (Summer 2007), 20-26. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 189)

TANWORTH-IN-ARDEN, Old Bell Cottages (SP 114 706)

a)       Primary range

Felling dates: Winter 1446/7, Winter 1447/8, Winter 1448/9

Principal posts (1/2) 1428(h/s); Queen strut 1447(21C); Wall plate 1446(15C); Rafter 1448(35C); Collar 1444(16); Purlin 1446(20C); Transverse beam (0/1).

b)      Inserted smoke hood

Felling date: Winter 1560/61

Inserted collar 1560(21C); Stud (0/1). Site Master  1352-1560  TANWRTH2 (t=8.4 SALOP95; 8.2 NORTH; 8.1 WALES97)

The former Bell Inn at Tanworth was converted into three cottages c.1860. The central three bays of the original house are of classic Wealden form, with a recessed hall between floored chamber and service ends; this phase has been dated to c. 1449, the first date obtained for such a structure in historic Warwickshire and significantly earlier than expected.  The roof has clasped purlins with reduced principals and gabled ends (as is normal in Warwickshire Wealdens).  A smoke bay and hood was inserted in c. 1561, fossilising part of the recessed hall wallplate coving in a cupboard.  By 1600, a bay had been added at the service end with a single storey range behind it (possibly a brewhouse), and a kitchen was built at the other end in about 1650.  The front was rebuilt in brick c. 1720, when two further bays were added to the rear.   The existence of a Wealden house in a Warwickshire village is unexpected, as the 25 other examples in the county are in towns (S R Jones & J T Smith (1960-1), ‘The Wealden houses of Warwickshire and their significance’, Trans. Birmingham Archaeol. Soc, 79, 24-35); it is possible that this house was built as an inn (as it certainly was from the early 17th century), or that the design was taken directly from an example in the town of Henley-in-Arden, five miles away.  Dating commissioned by the owners. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 107)