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Full text of "The village homes of England;"

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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 




1 



THE 



VILLAGE HOMES 
OF ENGLAND 



TEXT AND ILLUSTRATIONS 
BY SYDNEY R. JONES, WITH 
SOME ADDITIONAL DRAWINGS 
IN COLOUR BY WILFRID BALL, 
R.E.,&JOHN FULLWOOD, R.B.A. 



Edited by Charles Holme 



MCMXII 

.,THE STUDIO" LTD. 

LONDON, PARIS, NEW YORK 



Ottn Pluiataa 



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ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOURS -,';'i^y^ 



AFTER 

Wilfrid Ball, R.E. 



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11 11 



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Sydney R. Jones 
11 11 11 

11 11 11 
Wilfrid Ball, R.E. 

Sydney R. Jones 

John Fullvvood, R.B.A. 

Wilfrid Ball, R.E. 



" Wallhampton, Hampshire"... 
"Old Turnpike Cottage, 
Brockenhurst Road, Hamp- 
shire" 
"The Road thro' the Forest" 
"On the Edge of the Wood" 
"A Southern Homestead" ... 
" Horley, Oxfordshire " 
"Geddington, Northampton- 
shire" 
"Fulbourne, Cambridgeshire" 
"Among the Wooded Hills" 
"Penistone, Yorkshire" 
"Cottage Interior at Harting, 

ussex 
"A Cottage Garden " 



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Frontispiece 



Opposite 


page 


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24 




11 


36 




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52 




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64 




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74 




11 


86 




55 


100 




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1 10 




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138 




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154 



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CONTENTS. 



PAGE 
I 



Introduction 

Illustrations : — 

Geological Map of England ^ 

Rockingham, Northamptonshire 6 

Priestleigh, Somersetshire n 

Nether Kellet, Lancashire 8 

Wilbarston, Northamptonshire g 

Ground Plan of a Cottage at Leek Wootton, Warwick lO 

„ ,, „ row of three Cottages at Kenilworth, Warwickshire lo 

„ „ „ Cottage at Hanwell, Oxfordshire ii 

„ „ „ „ „ Great Bourton, Oxfordshire ii 

55 It ■>■> 5) 5) )> 11 11 ••■ ••• II 

Upper Boddington, Northamptonshire I2 

Lower Boddington, „ 13 

Mollington, Oxfordshire 14 

I. — Southern Plasterwork, Flintwork, Brickwork and Masonry 17 
Illustrations : — 

Stratford-sub-Castle, Wiltshire 19 

Salisbury, „ 20 

Middle Woodford, „ 21 

Winterbourne Earls, „ 22 

Lower Woodford, „ ... 23 

Wylye, „ 24 

Winterbourne Earls, „ 25 

Trent, Dorsetshire 25 

Winterbourne Ford, Wiltshire 26 

Stoford, Somersetshire 27 

Bradford Abbas, Dorsetshire 27 

Nether Compton, „ 28 

Sherborne, „ 29 

Nether Compton, „ 30 

Trent, „ 30 

Stoford, Somersetshire 31 

Corsham, Wiltshire 32 

" jj 33 

Trent, Dorsetshire 34 

Norton St. Philip, Somersetshire 25 

Trent, Dorsetshire 36 

Corsham, Wiltshire 37 

iv 



Aldhampton, Somersetshire 

Norton St. Philip, „ 

II. — Brickwork, Flintwork, Timberwork and Plasterwork in 

Berkshire and Buckinghamshire 

Illustrations : — 

West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire 



i^uwiucy , 




West Wycombe, 




Wendover, 




j> 




Upton, 




West Wycombe, 





Little Wittenham, Berkshire .. 
East Hendred, „ 

Dinton, Buckinghamshire 

Sonning, Berkshire 

Childrey, „ 

Downley, Buckinghamshire .. 
East Hendred, Berkshire 



» 



J5 
» 



III.— 



Dinton, Buckinghamshire 
Steventon, Berkshire 
Abingdon, „ 

Stonework in the Eastern Cotswolds 
Illustrations : — 

Gretton, Northamptonshire 

Uppingham, Rutland 

Mollington, Oxfordshire 

Sutton Bassett, Northamptonshire ... 

Thorpe-by- Water, Rutland 

Morton Pinkney, Northamptonshire 

Uppingham, Rutland 

Lyddington, „ 

Stowe-Nine-Churches, Northamptonshire 

Wilbarston, „ 

Date Panels ... 

Claydon, Oxfordshire 

Lower Boddington, Northamptonshire 



PAGE 

39 



41 



43 

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S3 
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Lyddington, Rutland 

Caldecott, „ 

,, ,, ... ... ... 

Great Bourton, Oxfordshire 

Ashley, Northamptonshire 

Upper Boddlngton, ,, 

Mollington, Oxfordshire 

IV. — Pargetting, Timberwork, Brickwork and Thatching in the 

Eastern Counties 

Illustrations : — 

Sudbury, Suffolk 

Details of external Plasterwork 
Great Bartlow, Cambridgeshire 
Details of external Plasterwork 

Clare, Suffolk ... 

Details of external Plasterwork 

Clare, Suffolk 

Details of external Plasterwork 

Ashwell, Hertfordshire 

Little Hadham, „ 

Saffron Walden, Essex 

Clare, Suffolk 

,, ,, ... ... ... 

Details of external Plasterwork 

Ashen, Essex 

Therfield, Hertfordshire 

Trumpington, Cambridgeshire 

Details of Thatching from Cambridgeshire 

Newton Green, Suffolk 

Little Chester ford, Essex 

Newport, „ 

Stoke-by-Clare, Suffolk 

Stoke-by-Nayland, „ 

Melbourn, Cambridgeshire 

V. — Northern Masonry and Brickwork 
Illustrations : — 

Firwood Fold, Lancashire 

Appletree, „ 

vi 



PAGE 

75 

76 

77 
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83 

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9' 

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I ID 



PAGE 

I I 



21 
2 1 



Clapdale, Yorkshire 

Baslow, Derbyshire '■- 

Knaresborough, Yorkshire ... 'M 

Hal ton, Lancashire ... ''4 

Burton Leonard, Yorkshire ' '4 

Stanton-in-the-Peak, Derbyshire ''5 

Wooden Spouting '■" 

Sanded Entrance Steps ''6 

Eyam, Derbyshire ''7 

Staveley, Yorkshire ^'^ 

Dent, „ "9 

Farnham, ,, '-° 

Hal ton, Lancashire 

Lancaster 

Farnham, Yorkshire 

Date Panels '-- 

Abbeystead, Lancashire '-3 

Green Hammerton, Yorkshire i-4 

York 1^5 

VI. — Metalwokk and Woodwork i-7 

Illustrations : — 

Iron Door-latches from Gloucestershire and Warwickshire 129 

Iron Door-bolts from Warwickshire '3° 

Iron Door-handles and Knockers from Worcestershire, Herefordshire, 

Gloucestershire, Essex, Surrey and Shropshire 131 

Window-casement from Berkshire 13- 

Spring Casement-fasteners from Worcestershire and Somersetshire ... 133 

Window-casement from Somersetshire I33 

Iron Kitchen-cranes from Sussex and Worcestershire, and Fire-dogs 

from the Isle of Wight and Sussex I34 

Iron Fire-shovels from Sussex and Derbyshire, Brass Fire-cover from 

Lancashire, and Iron Fender and Footman from Sussex 135 

Fire-irons from Sussex and Wiltshire 136 

Iron Candlesticks, Dip-holders and Rushlight-holders from Derbyshire 

and Sussex, Iron Scissors, Brand-tongs, Knife and Forks from 

Sussex 137 

Stoke Albany, Northamptonshire 13^ 

Oak Cradle from Gloucestershire, Oak Joint-stools from Somersetshire 

and Gloucestershire, and Oak Chair from Warwickshire 139 

Ash Chair and Oak Arm-Chair from Warwickshire 140 

vii 



Oak Gate-leg Table from Derbyshire, and Mahogany Table with two 

Flaps and Drawer 

Oak Table from Gloucestershire 

Oak Chests with Drawers and Brass Fittings 

Oak Clothes-hutch from Buckinghamshire 

Carved Oak Box from Herefordshire 

Mahogany framed Looking-glasses 

Teak Chest with Brass Fittings 

Spit-rack from Warnham, Sussex 

VII. — Gardens 

Illustrations : — 

Hanwell, Oxfordshire 

Great Chesterford, Essex 

Shepreth, Cambridgeshire 

Pavings in front of doorways in Oxfordshire 

Winterbourne Gunner, Wiltshire 

Paving in front of doorway at Upper Boddington, Northamptonshire 

Long Marston, Yorkshire 

Thatched Garden- Walls in Wiltshire 

Therfield, Hertfordshire 

Nether Compton, Dorsetshire 

Alhampton, Somersetshire 

Upper Boddington, Northamptonshire ... 

Glaston, Rutland ... . 

Hanwell, Oxfordshire 

Mollington, „ 

Wilbarston, Northamptonshire 

Dent, Yorkshire ... 



PAGE 

141 

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144 

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154 
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157 
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INTRODUCTION 




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INTRODUCTION 




HE old village homes of England are a precious 
heritage of the past. Of singular beauty, and fair 
to look upon, they create a wide and lasting interest. 
In all parts of the country are to be found many 
unpretentious examples of quiet and homely taste, 
erected by the native craftsmen of a sturdy and 
vigorous peasantry. These buildings are fraught 
with an appeal to the mind and have a significance 
deeper than is conveyed by mere terms of stone, of 
brick, of timber. They stand for much that is peculiarly and characteris- 
tically English. They are records of lives well spent ; they tell of contented 
possession, of love of home, and country, and memory ; they have 
witnessed the passing of generations of the nation's countrymen, and live 
on as outward symbols of their intellectual life. With them are associated 
those ideas of order, of security and comfort, that result from the 
observance of long-established custom and usage ; they bear witness to 
well-settled beliefs transmitted from father to son. The old oaks and high 
elms, the green common fringed by hedgerows, the stile and ancient right- 
of-way, seem no more the natural growth of time and the soil than do the 
old rustic dwellings, that bear the marks of antiquity upon them and 
date back through many ages. It is this sense of settled stability, this 
association with times far distant from the present, that ever appeal to the 
imagination and sentiment. 

It is not, however, the claims of association that give to these old 
dwellings their greatest charm ; they possess a more concrete power and 
arrest attention by reason of their material worth. Considered as examples 
of building they have much to recommend them, and quietly assert 
themselves as works of beauty to which time has but given an added value. 
In them are exhibited the true principles of building, and work showing 
so much knowledge, so truly observing limitations, so expressive, direct, 
and honest, must be ranked high in the scale of accomplishment. 
The old cottages, as we see them, are the result of a variety of 
influences and fulfil many conditions which make for good architecture. 
Ever present there is a feeling for harmony. The harmony that should 
exist between a building and its surroundings is probably nowhere better 
illustrated than in the cottages. Set amid natural scenes, in rich valleys, or 
clustering on the hillsides, they seem part of the landscape ; no conflicting 
note meets the eye, and building blends with building and with the 
environment. This characteristic is well demonstrated in the village of 
Rockingham (page 6), with its cottages of local stone and thatch placed 
on the ascending hill and overlooking the plain. One reason for this 
harmony is not far to seek. The builders ordinarily used the materials 
indigenous to the locality. A stone-producing district shows cottages of 
stone ; where forests grew timber construction is in evidence ; chalk finds 
expression in plasterwork ; and the clay lands exhibit the use of bricks. 

3 



Instances may be multiplied, and throughout the country is everywhere 
seen this influence of local product. 

It must be remembered that England is divided into geological areas 
which, with the surface growths of timber, account for the variety of 
building materials. The accompanying map (opposite page) roughly and 
broadly shows these areas and their yields ; many smaller sub-divisions 
also occur, and the significance of local product can only be properly 
appreciated by consulting an accurately-made geological map. It can be 
stated as a fact that the products of nature are best suited to the localities 
in which they are found ; imported materials never so well harmonise with 
the landscape as those native to it. Red bricks or blue slates look out of 
sympathy with the stone of a Cotswold village, as do flints among the 
timbered buildings of Cheshire. The old builders, by using local materials, 
acknowledged this artistic truth unconsciously doubtless, as economic 
necessity — governed by high cost of transport — compelled them to use 
that which was near to hand. To the acceptance of these conditions the 
excellence of our domestic architecture is largely due. The variety is 
endless, but the harmony with nature is all-pervading. 

Tradition, or ancient custom, considered as an influence on cottage 
building, has left its evidence in material form. In different districts are 
to be seen groups of buildings which are all variations of a common type ; 
no two are exactly alike, yet all bear relation one to another ; they are 
the resultant factors of one source of inspiration. It has already been 
shown how natural product was responsible for local materials ; it remained 
for the craftsmen to fashion them to meet the requirements of the 
civilisation of their own time. Local needs brought into being certain 
methods, enthusiasm for work brought certain refinements, and the limited 
means available fostered restraint. The development of these forces gra- 
dually evolved results which well satisfied the prevailing wants. And so 
traditions became established and were recognised. Different neighbour- 
hoods developed styles of building, very local, and expressive of the life 
of the native community. Difficulties of communication prevented inter- 
change of ideas, and each district shows its own inherent peculiarities 
unaffected by outside influences. As generation succeeded generation, 
local styles were adopted to suit new conditions or fresh methods, but 
radical changes were unknown. An intense conservatism prevailed, and 
care was taken not to break down hastily that which had been devised by 
previous generations and had stood the test of time : in their own works 
the craftsmen built in faith, not only for themselves, but for the future. 
By acknowledging tradition, by treating with respect the memory of 
former things, the craftsmen did not yield to mere copyism, but added 
their own stamp, and so gave to their work a living sturdiness and vitality ; 
they gathered together the bequests of their forerunners and clothed them 
with their own thoughts. Cottages of a district, exhibiting like natural 
products in construction, agree together in general conception, but the 
individual and personal note distinguishes habitation from habitation. One 
village shows work in advance of its neighbour, or the sphere of activity 
of a particular workman can be traced. The expression of the north 




GEOLOGICAL MAP OF ENGLAND 




ROCKINGHAM, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE 
6 
















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NETHER KELLET, LANCASHIRE 



country differs from that of the south, as does the east from the west. 
A Somersetshire dwelling (page 7), as compared with one in Lancashire 
(above), displays in its features the operation of a different vein of 
thought. The southern county is one of great natural richness, of wooded 
uplands and fertile valleys ; the peasantry seem fitted to the genial environ- 
ment. In manipulation, in play of fancy, the buildings of the locality re- 
tlect the nature of the land and the people. Wild, rugged, and strong is the 
spirit of the northern county, and nowhere does it find better expression 
than in the old cottages, with their bold, unimaginative details. 
Considered as a whole, old cottages throughout England are Gothic in 
character ; the early ones intensely so, the later ones in a less degree. 
But this feeling never entirely disappeared. The coming of the Renaissance, 
the slowly improved facilities of transport and communication, had little 
effect upon them. Travelling from county to county, it is interesting to 
see how tenaciously the old traditions were observed and followed. Here 
and there is seen the introduction of a classic feature, or occasional examples 
are met with conceived in the classic manner ; but, speaking generally, 
Gothic in feeling the cottages ever remained. Old workmen, still living, 
can remember the lingering of the old traditions ; can tell of methods 
employed, and patterns used, which had their birth in mediaeval times. 
The newer styles spent themselves upon the mansions of the rich, on public 
buildings, and in the towns, and it was left to builders of small houses and 
unambitious, homely cottages to keep alive and reproduce the ancient 
and native practices of the land. 

The geological map on page 5 may here be further considered. It forms the 
key to this volume. The districts now under review are five in number. 

8 











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WILBARSTON, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE 

9 




GROUND PLAN OF A COTTAGE AT 
LEEK WOOTTON, WARWICK 



The first includes the border- 
ing counties of Somersetshire, 
Dorsetshire and Wiltshire. 
Oolitic and liassic limestones 
are found towards the west, 
and chalk, with flints, to the 
east. The buildings are chiefly 
of stone, or stone, flints, plaster, 
and brick used in combina- 
tion ; roofs are stone-slated or 
thatched. Those parts of Berk- 
shire and Buckinghamshire to 
be considered are situated on 
the chalk formation ; walls of 
plaster, half-timber, flints, and 

brick, with roofs of thatch or tile, are common. Oxfordshire, North- 
amptonshire and Rutlandshire give a beautiful limestone, and the sto-ne 
buildings of this locality constitute part of the Cotswold group. The chalk 
formation passes through Hertfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk ; 
plaster is the material generally used — either alone or with timber — and 
roofs are thatched or tiled. Wonderful brick chimneys, and boldly modelled 
exterior plasterwork, are to be seen here. The northern counties of 
Yorkshire, Lancashire and north Derbyshire show most conspicuously the 
use of stone for walls, and roofs of large stone slates. 

Cottages stand alone, in clusters, or in rows. The plan was invariably 
simple and contained within four walls. Its origin in early times and 
subsequent development, the architectural unit common to all types, and 
the position of the various features have already been dwelt upon.* 
Accommodation varies, from two rooms in the small examples to as 
many as six or seven rooms in those of more generous dimensions. The 
cottage of two rooms, when standing alone and small in size, seems to 
suggest an early type. It has one room on the ground floor, and one 
above reached by a ladder or stairs opening directly from below. An 
example exists in which the rooms measure only lo feet square. The 




GROUND PLAN OF A ROW OF THREE COTTAGES AT KENILWORTH, WARWICKSHIRE 



' Old English Country Cottages," The Studio, 1906. 



10 




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--.-_*S» 






'OLD TURNPIKE COTTAGE. BROCKENHURST ROAD. HAMP- 
SHIRE. FROM A WATER-COLOUR DRAWING BY WILFRID BALL. R.E. 



- 0O{ dcorie><^ 




GROUND PLAN OF A COTTAGE AT 
HANWELL, OXFORDSHIRE 



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GROUND PLAN OF A COTTAGE AT 
GREAT BOURTON, OXFORDSHIRE 

tion. The Hanwell drawing is 



plan from Leek. Woot- 
ton, in Warwickshire 
(page lo), shows this 
arrangement, though the 
dimensions are larger — 
14 feet 6 inches by 12 
feet 6 inches. This type 
of dwelling is now a 
rarity. More common, 
but by no means usual, is 
the cluster or row oi 
cottages, each member 
having one room on the 
ground floor and one 
over, and possibly aug- 
mented by outshoots or 
lean-tos. The three ex- 
amples from Kenilworth 
(page 10), now demo- 
lished, were disposed in 
this manner ; at each end 
a lean-to had been added. 
Generally speaking, cot- 
tages have two rooms on 
the ground floor and two, 
sometimes three, bed- 
rooms over. The two 
stone-built cottages from 
Hanwell and Great 
Bourton, in Oxfordshire, 
shown on this page, 
have such accommoda- 
interesting, inasmuch as it suggests the 




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GROUND PLAN OF A COTTAGE AT GREAT BOURTON, OXFORDSHIRE 

I I 




UPPER BODDINGTON, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE 



plan of a medieval hall ; there is the through passage from front to back, 
and a doorway in it giving access to the chambers of the dwelling. 
Larger cottages have better convenience, such as is exemplified by the 
second plan from Great Bourton on page 1 1. 

Frequently there are no foundations, the walls having been erected directly 
upon the ground. Some walls are of great thickness, particularly when ot 
stone ; on the other hand, those of lath and plaster are often no more 
than a mere shell. The subject of walling shows a wonderful diversity of 
material, method and invention. In early times no doubt the ground 
floor consisted of the bare earth, strewn, for greater comfort, with rushes. 
Later, floors were of stone slabs, or bricks, or quarries, laid upon the earth. 
There was a general tendency to keep living-rooms large in size, one good 
room being preferred to two small ones ; when divided, partitions of oak 
framing and lath and plaster were used. Fireplaces, where they remain 
in their original state, are large in size ; their ample dimensions, and the 
evident careful attention given to their construction, attest to their impor- 
tance as contributory factors to the cottagers' comfort. The fire was 
placed upon a stone or brick hearth, as at Upper Boddington, in North- 
amptonshire (above), or upon the top of low ovens standing on the 
hearth. The chimney tapered up to the roof and was open to the sky. 
These open chimneys have now usually been bricked up, and the fire- 



12 










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LOWER BODDINGTON, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE 

13 



places filled in and fitted with modern ranges or grates. It must be 
remembered that households were dependent upon their own resources for 
supplies of bread, and the common practice of bread-making necessitated 
provision for baking. The bread oven was at one side of the fireplace, 
sometimes within the main walls of the building, sometimes projecting 
beyond ; the illustration of Upper Boddington, already mentioned, shows the 
former arrangement, and the latter method is seen in the plan from Leek 
Wootton (page lo), and at Mollington, in Oxfordshire, on this page. It 
was of an oval shape, shallow in height, and domed at the top. A wood 
fire, placed inside, heated the oven ; having served its purpose the fire was 
removed, the oven cleaned, and the dough put in to bake. The oven door 
opened into the main chimney and the smoke was thus carried away. 
With the decline of home bread-making, bread ovens have in a great 
measure ceased to be useful and are fast disappearing. 

The ruined cottage at Lower Boddington, Northamptonshire (page 13), 
gives a sectional view of 
the internal construc- 
tion generally adopted 
throughout England. 
The large oaken beam, 
extending from wall to 
wall and centrally across 
the room, carried the 
joists, which, in turn, 
supported the floor of 
the room above. Joists 
were frequently left ex- 
posed on the under side, 
giving a decorative, 
timbered ceiling to the 
room below ; or they 
carried a ceiling of plas- 
ter and the main beam 
only was left to view, 
often enriched by a sim- 
ple moulding or cham- 
fer. The height of 
rooms, from the floor to 
the under side of the 
joists, rarely exceeded 
7 feet ; instances have 
been noted giving this 
measurement variously 
at 5 feet 9 inches, 6 feet 
I inch, and 6 feet 4 

inches. All the timber ^ — -^--^ \ ^'^^S. ^ ' S-gr 

was used m a straight- 
forward, workmanlike mollington, Oxfordshire 




14 



manner, simply tooled, or left much as it came from the wood-cutter's axe. 
The illustration shows the purlins and rafters which formed the roof, and 
the interior walls retaining their old plaster covering apparently composed 
of lime and sand, with the addition of hair and road scrapings — the 
composition customarily used by the village plasterer. 

Thatch is still a common roof covering, though year by year it becomes 
less usual, and, for enonomic reasons, is supplanted by tiles or slates. It is 
invariably picturesque and always harmonizes with the building it covers. 
The transitory nature of this material precludes the consideration ot old 
work, and it is the survival of old methods and practices that link up past 
tradition with present usage. At one time it must have been almost 
universally employed. Thatch requires a roof steeply pitched, so that the 
wet may be thrown off ; and such roofs, when covered with tiles or slates, 
are evidences of this earlier form of covering, or of an old style influencing 
the use of newer materials. The thatcher's art is dying out, and often it 
is well-nigh impossible to get good thatching done. The older type of 
men, carrying on the long-practised traditions, seem to have imbibed the 
past ideals and give great thought to their work. They are careful to see 
that the straw is first placed in a large rectangular pile and well soaked with 
water, that it may settle into an almost solid mass upon the roof The 
best is then selected, sorted, and tied up into small bundles ready tor the 
thatcher's use. Each bundle has about an even mixture of " heads " and 
"tails" of straw showing at both ends ; for, being so mixed, they make an 
even thatch and prevent the hollows forming which are so injurious to its 
lasting qualities. Reed thatching is distinguished by its great excellence, 
but reeds are only to be obtained in certain parts of the country. 
Viewed in the light of modern knowledge, old cottages have their serious 
faults. They are often damp, ill-drained, and wanting in convenience and 
comfort ; questions of site and aspect frequently seem to have escaped 
consideration. But attention must be given to the fact that sanitary 
science was in its infancy when they were built ; they contormed to the 
then prevailing ideas and, presumably, suited the requirements of the 
people. Conceptions of convenience are comparative attributes and change 
with each generation ; therefore work exhibiting such meritorious quali- 
ties cannot, and must not, be hastily condemned for its now considered 
faults. 

The old country cottage is a relic of the past. Great vernacular styles of 
building, and the chain of events which produced them, are now but 
recollections of former things. The ancient picturesqueness and character 
of our villages are slowly disappearing, and strange it is that such an 
abandonment of so much that was good has come to pass. But conditions 
have changed, and present-day life, and thought, and work, make it 
impossible to build as our forefathers did. 

Thoughts of the old inevitably lead to thoughts of the new. To us, in 
our own time, these survivals of an earlier age have much to teach. 
A study of them reveals the principles by which good and true work 
can once more be accomplished, and only by the observance of such 
principles will a living style in building again arise. It is a moral duty 

15 



to build our dwellings sincerely and well, to leave a worthy heritage to 
posterity, and for this end the source of inspiration can only be the good 
inherited from the past. A desire for houses beautiful to look, upon, as 
well as convenient to live in, the growing appreciation of old work, and 
the undoubted present revival influenced by it, are happy signs of the 
times. But these signs are comparatively few and this ugly fact cannot 
be ignored : — that the average modern cottage or " villa," too painfully 
obvious to need description, reflects the prevailing spirit of this present 
age, just as the modest dwellings of an old village bear witness to the 
ideals of those who built them. 

Tradition in art, and excellence in the associated crafts, are vital assets 
to a nation's welfare : esthetic influences make life beautiful as surely 
as material forces make life possible. High standards of taste can only 
be produced amid sympathetic surroundings, and honest efforts tor the 
common good must be made, fostered, and encouraged. Until that time 
comes when the new is clothed with vitality and character and beauty, 
as was the old, until a common encouragement and general appreciation 
again arises, may the old cottages of England survive and be abiding 
influences for the good they have in them. 



1 6 



DIVISION I 



SOUTHERN PLASTERWORK, 
FLINTWORK, BRICKWORK AND 

MASONRY 



I. -SOUTHERN PLASTERWORK, 
FLINTWORK, BRICKWORK AND 
MASONRY. 




JOURNEY taken directly westward from London 
leads into the heart of that district anciently known 
as the kingdom of Wessex. It is a spacious, open 
country of gently undulating downs, plains, and 
smooth-outlined hills, and contrasts with the com- 
pact richness of Surrey, or the Hampshire water 
meadows — traversed by little brooks — through 
which it is approached. The villages nestle cosily 
in the lower lands and sheltered river valleys. The 
neighbourhood of Salisbury gives access to the rivers Bourne, Avon, and 
Wylye ; up and down these river banks, overlooked by the uplands — 
sometimes half-wooded, sometimes treeless — which bound the Salisbury 
Plain, are to be seen houses and cottages that, collectively, form one of the 
most distinctive phases of our rural architecture. 

The natural product hereabout is chalk ; it is revealed by the railway 
cuttings and old pits from 
which it has been drawn 
forgenerations. Markedly 
its influence is seen in the 
walls, plaster - faced and 
washed a white or ochre 
colour. Village after vil- 
lage shows such treat- 
ment ; the low walls, with 
rough and textural plaster 
finish, thatched over by 
roofs with far-projecting 
eaves. Embowered in trees 
and, as at the Winter- 
bournes, intersected and 
bounded by clear streams, 
these villages present an 
unending series of pic- 
tures, perfect in their way. 
The buildings are more 
picturesque than architec- 
tural — it these two terms 
can be dissociated ; truly 
architectural in exhibit- 
ing the right use of ma- 
terial and the relation of 
work to surrounding, yet 







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WILTSHIRE 
19 



architectural in the homely rather than the grand sense. They have that 
unconsidered and haphazard look which makes for picturesqueness, but 
features of more than ordinary interest are absent. 

Such cob-walled, plaster-faced cottages as may be seen in the Wiltshire 
villages differ little in appearance from cottages so contructed in other 
counties. Upon a low flint base from one to two feet high, the cob-wall 
was built. It was made of mud, reintorced with flint or rubble or broken 
bricks. The surfaces, both outside and inside, were finished with a covering 
of plaster, which was, as already mentioned, washed a white or ochre 
colour. The heads of the door and window openings were protected by 
strips of oak. Dormer windows were often carried up from the eaves, and 
a roof of thatch covered the whole. Extreme simplicity, combined with 
solidity of construction, was observed in both plans and elevations ; the 
methods employed and materials used were not adaptable to richness or 
complexity of detail, and the local builders rightly confined themselves to 
the just limitations of their work. 

Flint is found with the chalk, and this material is or predominant interest. 
It is responsible for a style of building as individually distinctive and local 
as may be found in England. The work is, in some measure, akin to that 
of Kent and the Eastern Counties ; but while continental influence is largely 
traceable in the east, the guiding inspiration in Wiltshire was of a purely 










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English origin. It was the peasant interpretation of a native style which 
came into being and left its mark alike on mansion, manor-house, and 
cottage dwelling. The absorbing interest of this flintwork is largely due 
to the characteristic properties of the material. Flint has a decorative 
quality peculiar to itself, its colour and its texture making it quite unlike 
other building materials. Stone differs considerably, some is hard, some soft, 
and it is warm or cold in colour ; some is to be obtained only in thin layers, 
while large blocks of another variety are easily procured. But there is always 
a certain common relationship between the various kinds, and they lend 
themselves to harmonious effects. And so it is with bricks. But flint is a 
thing apart, and by its very isolation seems to demand effects of contrast. 
With this idea in mind the old builders seemed to have worked. A style 
of building was adopted, the character of which was almost wholly 
governed by the materials used ; flint for the one part, and for the other 
stone or brick, or both introduced in conjunction. 

Flint is difficult to manipulate and requires careful handling. The fine, 
sharp edges will easily injure the hands, and to-day workmen will, if 
possible, avoid using it. The varying sizes of broken flints do not easily 
lend themselves to being laid in even courses. Further, a wall constructed 
of so many small, irregularly-shaped component parts — as a flint wall is — 
requires considerable bonding, or binding, to give it stability ; without 

24 



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such Strengthening it would not 
hold together. The difficulties 
imposed by the material were 
solved by the adoption of a most 
telling style of work. Instead 
of bonding the walls with large 
pieces of flint, as sometimes occurs, 
it was more usual to use stone or 
brick for the purpose. In the case 
of stone a squared block shows 
alternating with a square panel 
of flints, draught-board flishion, as 
may be seen in the example from 
Salisbury (page 20), and in the 
gable of the mill at Middle Wood- 
ford (page 21). Bricks, used as 
bonders, generally appear in hori- 



zontal courses, breaking through the main 
walling of flint, and an instance of this is shown 
in the cottage at Winterbourne Earls (page 22) ; 
while at Stratford-sub-Castle (page 19) bricks 
are set in a haphazard manner, indiscriminately 
placed. At Lower Woodford (page 23) the 
two methods are seen introduced into the same 
wall, a brick string course and an eaves course 
intersecting tlie stone and flintwork. 
The conscious results of this combination ot 
materials are great in variety and successful 
in effect. An extraordinary appreciation and 
realization of surface decoration and texture 
is manifest. It was produced entirely by a 
common-sense use of material, acted and re- 
acted upon by traditional ways and means. 
Some effects were carried to wonderful lengths 
— yet always within the limitations of the 
materials — and the black and white flints, 
shimmering with glancing light, and set 
around with the combining bricks or stone, 
suggest to the mind the brilliancy of a pre- 
cious jewel. 

Flint occurs in irregular nodular masses. It is 
broken up into small pieces which are dressed 
to a more or less even size. When freshly 
broken they are black in colour; some weather 
slowly, ultimately becoming bleached andwhite. 
Between the two extremes, black and white, this 




TRENT, DORSETSHIRE 
25 



material shows an infinite range ot greys. Its surface is crystalline — almost 
glassy — in appearance, and is particularly susceptive to play of light. Broken 
flints are set in mortar in courses as regular and even as the dressed pieces 
will allow ; or large and small flints are laid without uniformity, an 
instance of which may be seen at Winterbourne Earls (page 22). 
The combination of brick with flint is most in evidence in eastern Wiltshire, 
near the Hampshire border. Here bricks were easily obtained, and there- 
fore made the economical supplementary material. They framed the 
doorways and window openings and protected the angles of buildings ; at 
Stratford-sub-Castle (page 19) this arrangement is shown, the window-heads 
being arched over in the customary manner. Towards the Somerset and 
Dorset borders, and nearing the stone country, brick gives place to stone. 
The door-jambs and muUion windows were fashioned of it (page 25), and, 
as at Wylye (page 24), squared flint and stonework chiefly occur. The 
gable at Winterbourne Ford (below) partakes of both constructive methods; 
quoins, window-dressings, and bonding courses are of both stone and brick, 
intermixed with unconscious dexterity and steadied by the deliberately 
placed lozenge and two ovals. A rich and effective result accrues. 
It is almost impossible, perhaps futile, to ascribe a date to this work. With 
larger houses the ground 
is more secure ; many 
offer definite evidence and 
clearly belong to the Eliza- 
bethan and Jacobean pe- 
riods, and it is reasonable 
to suppose the earlier cot- 
tages were contemporary 
with them. Later exam- 
ples bear the obvious signs 
of work associated with 
the times of Queen Anne 
and the Georges, and there 
is little doubt that a con- 
tinuous tradition in flint 
cottage building survived 
until late in the eighteenth 
century. 

The borderland of Somer- 
set, Dorset, and Wiltshire 
is productive of stone. 
Here the chalk formation 
disappears and with it the 
plaster-faced and flint-built 
cottages. An expression 
of building was developed 
through, and by reason of, 
the local stone ; and a type 
of masonry, displaying 

26 







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great artistic spirit and high manipulative skill, resulted. The mediaeval 
days of monasticism witnessed the erection of noble piles, cathedrals, abbeys, 
priories, granges. Country churches of the Perpendicular period were of great 
beauty, marked pre-eminently by their rich and elaborately ornamented 
towers. The domestic work followed in the wake of the monumental, large 
houses being equally distinguished though simpler in character, and a corre- 
sponding influence is traceable in the smaller dwellings. The freestones 
of this district are numbered among the finest in England. They are all 
oolites and come from such famous quarries as Doulton, Bath, and Ham- 
hill. The ease with which the stone can be worked makes it peculiarly 
suitable for fine and rich effects. It encourages the growth of soft mosses 
and lichens, and its colour, when mellowed by age, is full of beauty. And 
so the geological conditions left their impress upon style. The excellence 
of the available material was largely responsible for the development of a 
school of masons whose tame spread far beyond the confines of their native 
locality, and whose skilful handiwork enriched important buildings. 
Cottage building, necessarily limited in its scope, acquired an importance 
and distinction which is 
admirably displayed in 
the stone-coped gables, 
ornamented kneelersand 
finials, arched doorways 
(page 27), and occa- 
sionalfine bay-windows. 
The oolitic formation is 
bounded on the west by 
the liassic limestone, and 
consequently, towards 
mid -Somerset, walling 
shows more ot the lias 
and less of the freestone. 
The strong, gabled pro- 
jection atNether Comp- 
ton, Dorset, shown here, 
is finished with free- 
stone, but the irregularly 
coursed walls are of lias. 
Thatching, as a root 
covering, was in many 
instances displaced by 
stone. And be it noted 
that, as the roofing slates 
were procured in larger 
sizes than obtain else- 
where, there is a sub- 
sequent reduction in the 
pitch of roofs ; the ex- 
tremely acute angles of, 

28 




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for instance, the Cotswold roots do not occur except where thatch was 
designed to be the covering. 

Few building districts in England seem to have been more imbued with 
the medieval spirit than Somerset and its borders. Ecclesiasticism swayed 
a great influence, and many evidences of its power still exist ; place-names 
and buildings alike bear witness to it. The Gothic feeling, which was 
the inspiration of the earlier domestic buildings, had its prototype in the 
churches. And in post-Reformation days this influence continued; slowly, 
very slowly, it weakened, and early forms and methods continued to live 
on. In truth, the spirit of the west has always been conservative. John 
Wood, the architect of Bath, wrote in the eighteenth century, " And it 
was then only that the lever, the pulley, and the windlass were introduced 
among the artificers in the upper part of Somerset, before which time the 
masons made use of no other method to hoist up their heavy stones, than 
that of dragging them up with small ropes against the sides of a ladder."* 



* Bath— British Association, 1888. 



29 



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The early cottage buildings, then, 
frankly followed the later develop- 
ments of the Gothic tradition and 
are marked by its characteristics. 
The walls were massively constructed 
and within their thickness window- 
seats were often introduced, such as 
is shown in the illustration from 
Sherborne in Dorset (page 29) ; the 
proportions of solids to voids were 
accurately considered, as were the 
relations of vertical to horizontal ele- 
ments ; asymmetry and contrast were 

the formulas relied upon for external effect, and the value of predominant 

roofs and picturesque outlines was realised. 
Ornaments were kept within proper subjuga- 
tion, not too rich, yet rich enough to enhance 
the composition as a whole ; the crocketed 
gable at Nether Compton, Dorset, or the de- 
corated chimney finishing the gable at Trent, 
Dorset (Nos. 2 and 3 on this page), add just 
the necessary interest and delicacy. Again, the 
interesting doorway at Stoford, in Somerset 
(page 31), arched, and surmounted by a square- 
headed label, the spandrels being occupied by 
shields, at once gives character to the whole 
structure. In passing, it may be noted that 
the original position of this doorway — that 
portion to the right hand is a later addition — 
is reminiscent of the entrance to the " screens " 
of a more important house. The " screens " 
was the passage-way, or lobby, formed by the 
dividing partition which was placed near 
the end of the domestic hall of the Middle 
Ages. 

Much of the internal arrangement of these 
earlier buildings is visible on the exterior, 
emphasised rather than cloaked. The stair- 
case turret at Norton St. Philip, Somerset 
(page 39), for instance, with its narrow slits 
for lighting, leaves no doubt as to its pur- 
pose ; and the positions of fire-places are 
frequently indicated by wide projecting 
masonry. Windows were inclined to be 
small, cusped at the heads, and divided 
into lights by mullions, as shown in the 
above-mentioned illustration. At Trent, in 
Dorsetshire (page 34), the space between 

30 




NETHER COMPTON, DORSET 
SHIRE 




TRENT, DORSETSHIRE 




STOFORD, SOMERSETSHIRE 



the upper window-heads and label-moulding is decorated by sunk panelling 
worked in the stone. This same village gives another example of develop- 
ment in window construction, the introduction of the transom (page 36) ; 
this horizontal feature divides the lights of the four main windows. Bay- 
windows were employed during the Perpendicular period, though their use 
was chiefly confined to the larger houses. Two excellent examples may be 
seen at Norton St. Philip, in Somerset (page 35), boldly jutting out from 
the main wall, and cleverly finished at the angles with buttresses, obliquely 
placed. This house is interesting, inasmuch as it exhibits a form of con- 
struction uncommon to the neighbourhood ; it will be observed that the 
upper stories, facing the road, are built of timber and plaster. Whether 
this work has been added at a subsequent date is by no means plain, and 
more probably it is an instance of the overlapping of methods. The chimneys, 
crowning either gable, have the characteristics of the typical Gothic arrange- 
ment ; they are short in height and the shafts are pierced with apertures, 
serving as outlets for the smoke. Another not uncommon form is the slender 
octagonal shaft, rising from a square base, and terminated with projecting 
mouldings, as that at Trent (page 36). 

Out of the Gothic was developed the customary building style of the 
countryside which continued on. Examples abound, quiet and restrained 
in treatment. Priestleigh (page 7) and Aldhampton (page 38) in Somerset, 
and Corsham, in Wiltshire (page 2.7)-> afford instances of the expression 

31 




CORSHAM, WILTSHIRE 

which obtained in Elizabethan days and tor many years alter. The tour- 
centred, arched doorways of Tudor times, to be seen in the illustrations 
from Priestleigh and Aldhampton, were adhered to ; square heads displaced 
the cusping of the muUioned windows, the number of lights was increased, 
but the label moulding was retained ; gables and dormers were largely 
used. Materials were applied in an appropriate way, and through all the 
work this sympathetic treatment is always present. The little stone-tiled 
hood at Trent (page 25) is as much the legitimate result of available 
material as is the doorway it protects. 

In later days, when the Renaissance was firmly established in England, its 
influence penetrated into remote places ; the new fashion and the old order 
developed simultaneously side by side. The range of buildings at Corsham, 
in Wiltshire (on this page), erected in 1663, evince a more studied and 
deliberately considered disposition ; part is balanced by part, and the classic 
inspiration is evident in the details (opposite). The rise of Bath to import- 
ance during the eighteenth century gave great stimulus to building in the 
neighbourhood, and many houses were erected, depending upon an Italian 
ideal for inspiration. But to the towns this influence was chiefly confined, 
and it is remarkable how little efi^ect the new language of expression in 
architecture had upon rural cottage building. In the heart of Somerset, 
and away from the zone of the towns, the village masons, forgetful that the 
old order changeth, laid stone upon stone, created their patterns, and drew 
their ideas from the old-time sources, just as did their fathers before them. 



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NORTON ST. PHILIP, SOMERSETSHIRE 

39 



DIVISION II. 



BRICKWORK, FLINTWORK, 
TIMBERWORK AND PLASTER 
WORK IN BERKSHIRE AND 
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE. 




II.-BRICKWORK, FLINTWORK, 
TIMBERWORK AND PLASTER- 
WORK IN BERKSHIRE AND 
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE. 

ENAISSANCE architecture, tracing its origin to 
the great revival in intellectual thought that began 
in Italy during the fifteenth century, was introduced 
to this country in the early years of the century 
following. First its influence was little felt ; then a 
period of transition followed ; and finally it became 
the dominant marking force of those buildings 
which were the result of conscious effort and 
deliberate consideration. But, great as the in- 
fluence of the Renaissance truly was, it did little, as has already been 
shown, to materially stem the tide of the inherited building traditions of 
the countryside. Particularly in the districts producing stone did the 
old ways prevail — in moorland cottages or 
hillside villages far away from spheres of 
active progress. Around London, however, 
in those parts accessible to, and within the 
dominion of the metropolis, there is fre- 
quently traceable in the cottages a very dis- 
tinct feeling for the newer development ; it 
is seen alike in Kent and Surrey, in Berkshire 
and in Buckinghamshire. Not that the old 
character was abandoned ; much was retained, 
but to it was added the local interpretation of 
the more recent style. Both were contem- 
poraneous, but so well fused and blended 
together that the resulting compromise often 
shows much originality and charm. 
In cottage building the Renaissance asserted 
itself chiefly in the details and ornaments. 
Sash windows appeared, and door and win- 
dow-heads of jointed bricks were commonly 
employed. The dormers were not developed 
upwards from the main walls, but became 
picturesque and isolated features of the roof. 
Often roofs were hipped, and beneath the 
eaves a cornice projected, sometimes consist- 
ing of a series of horizontal classic mouldings, 
sometimes carried out in simple and well- 
arranged brickwork. Chimnevs were rect- 
angular in form and terminated with plain cap- 
ping, as shown here. The adoption of these 




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WEST WYCOMBE, BUCK- 
INGHAMSHIRE 



43 











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DOWNLEY, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE 



general forms tended to weaken that strong individuality inherited from the 
Middle Ages. Work was done more by rote than impulse, and a more or less 
inevitable common type resulted. But in this work there is revealed again 
and again evidence of the continual influence of tradition ; especially in the 
right usage of materials, and the appreciation of their legitimate possibilities, 
the village builders proved their knowledge, long after the exponents of the 
fashionable style had forgotten, if they had ever learned, the lesson. The 
brick chimney at West Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire (page 43), is quite 
honest in its purpose and construction, and is decorated in a straightforward 
manner suggested by the material, alternate headers and stretchers project- 
ing from the surfaces of the shaft. In general form it observes the early 
tradition, wide at the base and standing out from the main wall, giving a 
sense of strength to the gable end ; but the decoration at the angles, 
arranged pilaster-wise and arched at the head, betrayed a new motive. 
The West Wycombe example (page 45), dated 1722, shows the style 
considerably developed, much more than became usual in general cottage 
building. The symmetrical disposition of the whole, the projecting 
cornice, the doorway, centrally placed and surmounted by a winged head, 
the door-hood, delicately moulded and supported by carved brackets, the 
plain band of brickwork as a stringcourse, all these features complied with 
the prevailing taste of the time. 

In the southern parts of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire flint, being 
readily available, largely entered into the construction of the walling. 
Combined with brick, the materials were thus similar to those used in 
Wiltshire, but the tendency for horizontal proportions, to be observed in 
this latter county, is displaced by a feeling for vertical lines. The work is 
less playful and lacks imaginative treatment. The cottages at Downley, 

44 




WEST WYCOMBE, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE 

45 



in Buckinghamshire (page 44), simple and reasonable though they be, 
have not that power to delight the eye which is the prerogative of the 
buildings neighbouring the Plain. Indeed, this change of treatment with 
change of locality is continually appearing in rural architecture, and the 
effects of local personality and peculiarity are always being seen. Compare 
the Kentish type of timbered house with that of Cheshire, or the stone 
dwellings of Dorset with the cottages on the Yorkshire coast. Equivalent 
materials were used in both instances, oak corresponding with oak and 
stone with stone. But dissimilar ideas were underlying, which found 
expression, and affected outward form ; what is severe in one place is 
fanciful in another ; here is innovation, there conservatism ; or restraint 
gives way to lively conceits. 

Around High Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire, the flints were often 
arranged in large panels, measuring in some cases as much as nine feet wide. 
The height of these panels was generally greater than the width and they 
were bounded on all sides by brickwork, horizontal bands at the bases and 
heads, and vertical combinations of headers and stretchers at the sides. 
Such flint walls that were not 
divided into panels in this wise 
were merely protected at the ex- 
ternal angles and openings with 
brickwork, and show no other 
extraneous material or divisions ; 
the two examples from Down- 
ley (pages 44 and 54) furnish 
instances and illustrate the par- 
ticular brick finish given to doors, 
windows and quoins. 
In both Berkshire and Bucking- 
hamshire timber was used in the 
framing of buildings at a period 
anterior to, and during the early 
decades of the Renaissance. The 
system of construction generally 
adopted throughout England was 
followed, and the method has 
been excellently explained by the 
late Mr. E. A. Ould in "Old 
Cottages in Shropshire, Here- 
fordshire and Cheshire." All the 
distinguishing characteristics are 
to be seen ; the low wall at the 
base, more often of stone than 
of brick, the massive angle-posts 
and upright timbers, the project- 
ing joists at the first floor level, 
and the oak pins. At West Wy- 
combe (page 49), the outer ends 




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of the floor joists are covered by a moulded fascia-board ; and the delicately- 
curved brackets, which give support to the overhanging story, are worthy 
of note. The woodwork 
of the half-timbered 
buildings in these two 
counties is not marked 
by special singularities or 
uncommon features. The 
general good effect, which 
is always the property 
of this constructive prin- 
ciple, is present. The 
work is customary, and 
no essential difference 
exists between it and that 
which may be found in 
many other districts 
where timber was easily 
obtained. The illustra- 
tion from Sonning, in 
Berkshire (page 53), 
shows an example ot 
simple timbering, solid in 
appearance, and handled 
in a direct way ; while 
at Wendover, in Bucking- 
hamshire (page 47), the 
same quiet and satisfying 

48 




WEST WYCOMBE, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE 




WEST WYCOMBE, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE 

49 




'^^^^ 



LITTLE WITTENHAM, BERKSHIRE 



effect may be seen. The gables and dormers of the former illustration are 
continuous from the main wall, and have similar exposed framework ; in 
this respect they follow traditional forms. At Wendover, however, the 
roof-lines are unbroken at eaves and ridge, and the dormers are appendants 
of the roof, clearly denoting a later development. The brick bay with its 
corner lighting, shown in detail on page 46, is a pleasing feature. The 
oriel window in the gable at West Wycombe (page 48) is another instance 
of picturesque value resulting from workmanlike method. 
It is not unusual to find the spaces between the timbers filled with brick- 
work, called brick-nogging. It occurs in the walls and overhanging gables 
at East Hendred, in Berkshire (page 55), and at Dinton, in Buckingham- 
shire (page 58). In each case the brickwork is arranged herring-bone 
fashion, a plan more commonly adopted in the eastern than in the western 
counties. But while at East Hendred the timbers crowd closely upon each 
other, and the intervening panels are narrow and long, the width of the 
panels at Dinton is little less than the height. In timber-framed buildings 
it was no doubt originally the custom to fill the interstices with wattle and 
dab, and it is evident that, as time went on and bricks became available, 
they were often used for the infilling. It has sometimes been questioned 
why these two materials should have been used in conjunction, why, with 
the advent of bricks, timbers were retained. This combination was greatly 

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a result of adhesion to custom. Timber-building, old-established in 
practice, was not quickly superseded, and continued long after brickwork 
became a constituent part of the structures. Economy, also, was a probable 
factor ; oak, plentiful and handy, would be cheaper than bricks. And so, 
for a period, both were used, side by side. The discontinuance of half- 
timber building was due to a number ot causes, the chief of which was 
the growing scarcity of oak in the seventeenth century. Brick-making at 
that date had been developed, and was attended by a consequent cheapness 
of production. These conditions reacted upon each other ; brick-building, 
which was not reliant upon a subsidiary material for its development, in a 
great measure superseded wooden-framed cottage building, which gradually 
fell into disuse. 

The structural frame-work, so boldly exposed on the exterior ot half- 
timbered buildings, had its counterpart within. The undersides of the 
floors, with their arrangement of beams and joists resting on the oaken 
wall-plates, were left visible. No more decorative ceiling effect, resulting 
from frank construction, has ever been evolved. Often the woodwork was 
merely roughly squared, such as may be seen at Little Wittenham, in 
Berkshire (page 50). The main beams were frequently decorated with a 
simple moulding, or with a stopped chamfer, as at East Hendred (page 51) ; 
the beam is here supported by a slightly projecting bracket. This inte- 
rior shows the usual type of fireplace of the period, wide and deep enough 
to seat a group within its jambs, and with its accompaniments of an 
open-hearth, fire-back and chimney-crane, has the constituents of that 
mental picture — so often dearly treasured but so rarely materially realised — 
of the old chimney corner. 

North of Berkshire, and centrally through Buckinghamshire, runs the chalk 
formation, continued without break from Wiltshire. Homely cottages, 
coated with plaster, abound at Childrey (page 54), and East Hendred 
(pages 56 and 57), — charming Berkshire villages lying at the foot of the 
downs which bound the Vale of the White Horse on the south — at Upton, 
in Buckinghamshire (page 48), and in those old and pretty villages 
around Aylesbury. The finish of the cottage walls is generally of ochre 
colouring, pale or deep in strength, and whitewash is less customary. 
Decorated external plasterwork, or pargetting, is not infrequently seen. 
The devices take the form of lightly-recessed ornaments, simple in char- 
acter ; in some cases they extend over the entire surface of the walls, in 
others they only emphasise special features. Such a treatment exists at 
Abingdon, in Berkshire (page 60), where the sunk decoration of the 
panels, and the narrow bands dividing them, are white, and the remaining 
work is coloured yellow. Timber-framed buildings were often plastered 
over, and the thinness of the superimposed material permits the partial 
disclosure of the original woodwork. At Steventon, in Berkshire (page 59), 
there is an example of this, and the protecting plaster, covering the sunht 
cottage at Dinton, in Buckinghamshire (page 58), has done much to 
preserve the ancient oaken structure. 



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DIVISION III 

STONEWORK IN THE EASTERN 

COTSWOLDS 




Ill— STONEWORK IN THE EASTERN 
COTSWOLDS. 

HOSE buildings commonly known as the Cotswold 
group are not strictly confined to the geographical 
area from which they take their name. The hills 
proper, giving the designation, rise steeply from the 
Severn valley and are mostly confined to the county 
of Gloucestershire. But stretching far away east- 
wards, through Oxfordshire, through Northampton- 
shire, and into Rutlandshire, the face of the 
country is broken and hilly ; it is diversified by 
high-lying plains and tracts of woodland. From end to end of these low 
hills extends the broad bed of stone that gives distinction to the buildings 
lying along its course. In bygone days the oolite and lias was worked 
from innumerable local quarries, and whether a village community was 
engaged in the erection of a church, a house, or a barn, it would seek no 
farther than the nearest quarry for a supply of material. 
Architectural styles have often been developed, changed, or abandoned 
through causes outside and independent of them. The Cotswold building 
tradition seems to have been so affected. The particular excellence of it was 
indirectly partly due to England's 
oldest industry, the production of 
wool. Sheep-rearing for profit was 
established shortly after the Norman 
Conquest, andsoon becameaflourish- 
ing and lucrative occupation. Such 
success attended the wool trade 
that English fleeces were sought by 
foreign merchants and distributed 
by them through Europe. It ulti- 
mately came to pass that the prin- 
cipal supply for the continent was 
drawn from England. During the 
reigns of the early Edwards, Flemish 
artisans settled in this country and 
under their direction rose the home 
woollen manufacture. This, in turn, 
developed as successfully as the un- 
converted wool trade had done ; it 
attained such dimensions that the 
exportation of the raw product was 
prohibited in the reign of Elizabeth. 
The light soils and hills of the 
Cotswold country were particularly 
suited to sheep-farming, and for "-' "~^ ^^^ 

centuries flocks of great magnitude gretton, Northamptonshire 

63 





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UPPINGHAM, RUTLAiND 



grazed on the wolds. Their produce contributed to the national prosperity, 
and the consequent influx of wealth to the district must have had an im- 
portant bearing on village life and on the architecture. Splendid churches 
and houses were erected, and cottages of more than ordinary merit came 
into being. 

The stone yielded is not uniform in character all along the formation. Geo- 
logically the same product, the layers of the strata differ greatly in thickness. 
The building stones procurable are therefore dissimilar in size. The 
manner of walling in the old work was prescribed by the nature of the 
near quarry. Masonry was of ashlar — carefully dressed and neatly fitted 
together, — of coursed rubble, or of random rubble. Often, as at Molling- 
ton, in Oxfordshire (page 65), the stones were roughly squared and laid in 
regular courses of varying depth, the largest being towards the base. This 
customary practice, of gradually diminishing the sizes of the blocks upward 
from the ground, was a sound maxim to act upon ; for the weighty nature 
of the lower work imparted a sense of fixed solidity to the foundation, and, 
contrasting with the smaller upper stones, gave an appearance of lightness 
and height to the superstructure. Rubble walls — by which is meant walls 
constructed ot rough stones irregular both in shape and size — were pro- 
tected at the angles with dressed stonework ; the cottage at Claydon, in 
Oxfordshire (page 73), has such freestone quoins. In the county ot 

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Northamptonshire ironstone is found. Red in colour, it contrasts with 
the cool and mellow tints of the oolite, and a pleasing surface variety 
results where the two are seen used in conjunction. Throughout the 
shire these materials were more or less so employed. Morton Pinkney, 
in Northamptonshire (page 67), and Lyddington, in Rutland (opposite), 
furnish instances of ironstone introduced in walling without definite design, 
isolated pieces or short courses showing dark against the paler surrounding 
masonry. But ordinarily the builders attempted a deliberate scheme of 
decoration, obviously considered, and acceding to exact limitation. A 
system was adopted in which light and red stone ran in alternate hori- 
zontal bands. The bands were not even in depth nor necessarily of 
one course only ; two or three courses of the one kind of stone may be 
found abutting on a single course of the other. Typical illustrations ot 
this parti-coloured Northamptonshire masonry are shown in the two 
drawings from Wilbarston (pages 9 and 71). 

Cotswold villages have a character all their own and arc not quite com- 
parable to any other group. The native stone, used within its natural 
borders, contributes not a little 
to their captivating beauty. 
Nestling in the folds of the 
hills, or, as at Horley (opposite 
page 64), rising upwards to the 
higher lands, they delight the 
eye. Imagination pictures that 
it was a kindly spirit gave 
them birth, in spacious times 
when grace and tranquillity 
had a place in the daily round. 
A moral feeling seems to per- 
vade, which gives an impres- 
sion to the mind not soon 
forgotten. The charm of 
these venerable and grey vil- 
lages is no mere matter of 
passing moment ; their praises, 
so often sung by distinguished 
writers, have not been over- 
stated. Many an inspiration 
for what we now term town 
or suburb planning may be 
seen, unconscious arrange- 
ments which slowly grew to- 
gether and adapted themselves 
to hill and dale. Open spaces 
and sheltered greens ; lanes 
and by - ways commanding 
pleasant vistas ; simple and 
harmonious architecture; such 

68 




UPPINGHAM, RUTLAND 



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essentials were delicately adjusted one to another in proper relation and 
with quiet dignity. 

The architecture of the Cotswolds is charged with life and individuality, 
and is distinguished by excellent craftsmanship. It was developed out of 
the local stone, a material susceptive to many possibilities, and suited alike 
to all the elements of the buildings. Though some few examples are earlier 
m date, the established tradition arrived at maturity in the days ot 
Elizabeth ; so firmly rooted did it become that it survived in remote parts 
until comparatively recent times. Not infrequently the work is dated. 
The occupier's initials and the year — carved in a small panel — appear in a 
gable, above a doorway, or in some such conspicuous place. Even 
these small details certain provincialisms are to be observed. To 
westward — that is, in Oxfordshire and on the Northamptonshire border — 
lettering and dates are usually 
contained within a rectangular 
space framed by simple mould- 
ings (page 72, Nos. i and 2) ; 
but in Rutland the distinguishing 
marks are exhibited on a lozenge 
raised from the face of the stone- 
work as, for example, at Thorpe- 
by-Water and Lyddington (page 
72, Nos. 3 and 5). Judging by 
the dates carved upon them, the 
fashion of inserting such panels 
into cottage walls was not pre- 
valent earlier than the seven- 
teenth century. 

The gable is a prominent feature 
throughout the district. Its use 
was universal. The pitch is steep 
and the angle at the apex is more 
acute than a right angle. Many 
are protected from the weather 
by stone coping, and crowned at 
the headwith afinial. The illus- 
tration from Claydon (page 73) 
demonstrates the introduction ot 
kneelers at the two lower corners. 
At Sutton Bassett, in Northamp- 
tonshire (page 66), the gable rises 
up from the front wall, but it 
was not unusual to build cottages 
with their gable-ends to the road, 
in the manner shown at Lydding- 
ton, in Rutland (page 75) . Allied 
to the gable is the dormer, and 
it almost as frequently exists. 
70 




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NORTHAMPTONSHIRE 













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Literally it is a window in a root, placed in a small gable of its own. At 
Gretton, in Northamptonshire (page 63), it so appears, with a dripstone at the 
head. A more advanced development is to be seen at Uppingham, in Rutland 
(page 68). Here a square bay is carried up above the eaves and finished 
dormer-wise ; it is capped with a projecting coping, and a sundial ornaments 
the space above the window. Again, at Stowe-Nine-Churches, in North- 
amptonshire (page 70), the polygonal bay shows the dormer treatment ; but 
whereas at Uppingham the higher window is partly in the roof, the 
window in this instance stops at the roof level. The way in which the 
corbels have been introduced above the side lights should be noticed, and 
how thereby the face of the gablet has been brought into one plane. 
Windows were flat at the head and, when constructed of stone, were divided 
into lights by muUions. The label, which was placed over them, is shown 
in many of the drawings. It may be square-headed, following the form 
of the window, or it may appear as a single horizontal moulding, simple in 
section and not returned at the extremities. Fine bay-windows greatly 
enhanced many successful effects of grouping. They were used with 
discrimination, and carefully disposed ; wall-spaces were nicely broken by 
their projection, and distinction added to the complete composition. At 
Uppingham, in Rutland (page 64), two bay-windows are seen symmetrically 
placed at each side of the doorway. But this balanced order was uncommon, 
and it was usual to add bay- 
windows singly, as at Uppingham 
and Stowe-Nine-Churches men- 
tioned above. Occasionally they 
project in rectangular form from 
the front of the building, in the 
way shown at MoUington, in 
Oxfordshire (page 82) ; generally, 
however, they come obliquely 
outwards. The Caldecott bay 
(page 76), with the face of its 
upper compartment gradually in- 
creasing in width, is of the local 
type that subsists in the neigh- 
bourhood of Rutland. A semi- 
circular, or bow-window, is illus- 
trated from Lower Boddington, 
in Northamptonshire (page 74). 
Built of wood upon a low stone 
base, it is obviously later in date 
than the foregoing ; in fact this 
feature is primarily associated 
with the eighteenth century. 
The four-centred depressed arch 
of Tudor times, surrounded by a 
rectangular moulded frame, sur- 
vived in many stone cottage 

72 








DATE PANELS 




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CLAVDON, OXFORDSHIRE 
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doorways. Those at Caldecott, in Rutland (page 'jy), and at Great Bourton, 
in Oxfordshire (pages 78 and 79), are representations of the olden method. 
In both the latter examples the original oak door has been retained ; each 
is divided into panels by applied fillets, and studded with large nail-heads. 
The labels of the doorways harmonise with those of the windows, and are 
sometimes emphasised by a more lavish treatment. At Great Bourton 
(page 78), the horizontal returns are beautifully decorated at their termina- 
tion. Doorways, indeed, were given importance and were regarded as 
worthy objects upon which to bestow the best craftsmanship. The dressed 
stone chimney on the gable end at Thorpe-by-Water, in Rutland (page 66), 
delicately adorned with classic mouldings, is of a type which, with varia- 
tions, was adopted throughout the Cotswolds. Such general forms of detail 
were accepted, and continually recur. Individuality played upon a sure and 
firmly-rooted background, evolved by time and practice. There was con- 
cord in the choice and allocation of parts, an understanding of possibility, 
of harmonious relationship. Thus it is revealed how a great tradition was 
built up that deservedly takes rank as a masterpiece of English style. 
New methods can be detected in some of the later buildings, faintly 
reflecting the classic influence that became the guiding fashion of stately 
architectural design. Mostly in the details the changes are seen, as in the 
dormer at Ashley, Northamptonshire 
(page 80), which is a distinct feature 
of the roof. The house at the end 
of the bridge, shown in the coloured 
drawing from Geddington, in North- 
amptonshire (opposite), in its dormers 
and wooden-framed windows heralds 
the change of style, while over the 
doorway appear a fanlight and pro- 
jecting hood. At Upper Boddington, 
in the same county, is a complete 
little specimen of work moulded in 
the newer way (page 81) ; it is a 
homely rendering, sober in effect and 
not without a certain dignity. The 
arrangement, as a whole, has a con- 
sidered aspect, and contrasts with the 
livelv charm and playfulness of the 
earlier tradition. Sash windows have 
displaced the muUioned form, the 
quoins are raised, the mouldings have 
a classic profile. But the windows 
are not evenly disposed, and there is 
a licence of treatment shown in many 

minor directions. The old feeling had 

not disappeared ; it lived on clothed •" ,- 

in fresher garb, owning freedom and lower boddington 

not exactness. Northamptonshire 




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DIVISION IV 



PARGETTING, TIMBERWORK, 

BRICKWORK AND THATCHING 

IN THE EASTERN COUNTIES 




IV.-PARGETTING, TIMBERWORK, 
BRICKWORK AND THATCHING IN 
THE EASTERN COUNTIES. 

LASTERING, as an art, was largely practised in the 
eastern counties of England. In its early form — known 
by the name of "wattle and dab" — plasterwork was 
used for the filling in of panels formed by the vertical 
and horizontal timbers of wooden-fr.imed structures. 
It was made of interwoven hazel-rods and clay, and 
covered, both internally and externally, with a mixture 
of lime and sand. Such was the primitive method, and 
out of it grew the native school of plasterwork. The 
cratt had attained considerable prominence by the end 
of the fifteenth century ; it received great stimulus when Henry VIII. 
engaged Italian workmen who revealed the decorative possibilities of plaster. 
Onward from that time 
plasterwork became the 
fashion. It was the princi- 
pal feature of many build- 
ings, confined not only 
to interior decoration but 
employed as ornamental 
treatment on the exterior. 
Reaching a full develop- 
ment in the seventeenth 
century, external piaster- 
work survived in out-of- 
the-way places well into 
the eighteenth. 
How far the style of 
village work was affected 
by foreign influence — 
Italian or otherwise — it is 
difficult to estimate. It 
was of native growth, and 
if outside forces were 
assimilated, they merely 
brought a new develop- 
ment to that which had 
persisted tor generations. 
The country plasterer 
would be slow to change, 
diffident to forsake the 
ways he had inherited. 
This desire on the part of sudbury, Suffolk 

85 








DETAILS OF EXTERNAL PLASTERWORK 



the worker to cling to accepted methods, his opposition to innovation, and 
his slowness to adopt new forms, runs through all old traditions of humble 
building effort, and must not be overlooked when the consideration or 
judgment of such work is the object. In this it differed from those efforts 
of greater pretension which were based on the deliberate styles of trained 
architectural schools, always susceptible to the ebb and flow of changing 
fashion. Particularly in plasterwork is demonstrated how permanent and 
fixed local practice may become. Certain peculiarities are often confined 
to very small areas, they occur again and again within circumscribed limits ; 
but beyond the confines of the little districts they are displaced by other 
distinguishing marks. It is evident that old patterns were perfected and 
used in the region of their origin, and were transmitted from father to son. 
Although plaster is not the exclusive building product of the eastern 
counties, it is there most in evidence. The country is generally level, 
relieved here and there by easy prominences. Big rolling skies sweep 
over low landscapes, divided by bright patches of pasture or fine corn-lands. 
Very fitting are the little white villages, with red-tiled or thatched roofs, 
and sheltered by high trees. Such is Great Bartlow, in Cambridgeshire 
(opposite), typical of many villages that abound. The material used for the 
covering of cottage walls came to be known by the name of" parge," and 
the art of applying it was called " pargetting." The units of the com- 
position are stated by Mr. George Bankart* to have been " ordinary lime 
and sand and hair. This material, which was similar to that now used for 
the parging of flues, contained a certain amount of cow-dung and road 

* " The Art of the Plasterer," George Bankart. 
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scrapings, and became, as time went on, the decorative medium ot the 
native English Playsterer." Chopped hay was sometimes substituted for hair, 
while a ruined cottage at Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, showed that straw 
had been added to the mixture. 

Parge, simple and economic material though it was, gave scope for effective 
display. Its possibilities were appreciated and work full of variety ensued. 
Local plasterers plied their cratt, knowing and using their material as old 
workmen were wont to do : fashioned it deftly, and applied their home- 
bred stamps and patterns in a sane, direct way. Especially applicable was 
pargetting to the cottage walls. Some were plain and unembellished, 
some rough-cast ; while others were " pricked," panelled, recessed, or 
modelled in relief. Of simple plaster cottages, such as that at Melbourn 
(page 1 06), there are yet remaining a great number. It was not unusual 
to cover timber-framed houses with plaster in the manner shown at 
Stoke-by-Nayland (page 105), and Stoke-by-Clare, in Suffolk (page 103). 
The main structural timbers would generally be disclosed. Interesting is 
the angle-post of the former illustration, and the series of wooden shafts, 
crowned by Gothic caps from which spring the brackets that support the 

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oversailing story. The barge-board of the latter example has the guilloche 
pattern of Elizabethan and Jacobean times carved upon it. At Therfield, 
in Hertfordshire (page 99), the plastered cottage front of timber construc- 
tion is partly covered by weather-boarding, a system more peculiar to the 
south than to the north of London. 

Patterns in plaster show a number of forms and arrangements. The ground 
was laid with nice discrimination, varied in its surface and texture, and was 
not of the uniform, true dead level by which plastering is now characterised. 
Upon the moist ground tools were worked in an endless number of ways. 
Their application imparted diapered effects, unobtrusive in themselves, yet 
adding interest. Common are the pricked incisions — apparently done with 
a pointed stick — which often repeat over the entire wall space (page 86, 
No. i). The "herring-bone" (page 86, No. 3) is another pattern that 
was much employed, evidently produced by an implement having one 
edge running in zigzag lines, as the illustration shows. This same tool 
appears responsible for the interchanging squares (page 86, No. 2) made by 
combining short vertical and horizontal lines. Flowing patterns (page 86, 
No. 4), scalloped fans (page 86, No. 5), and many other devices found 
a place in the medium ot pargetting. 

It not infrequently happens that the surfaces are divided into rectangular 
panels. Each panel will be bounded by a scratched moulding, low in 
relief and of simple section. Maybe the panels are diaj.ered or pricked, in 
contrast to the plain dividing spaces, as at Little HadLam, in Hertfordshire 
(page 94) ; or both panels and surrounding frames will be devoid of 
relief. At Ashwell, in Hertfordshire (page 88, No. 3), the moulding is 
similar to bead enrichment, and the triangular panel, bearing the date, 

90 




o 



91 



has the repeating square pattern. A certain number of buildings depend 
upon recessed designs for their added decoration, obtained in most instances 
by the apphcation of wooden templates. In this wise were made the 
ornaments and borders on the cottages at Clare, in Suffolk (page 89) ; 
and a reference to the details numbered i and 2 on page 88 will show 
the shape of the sunk patterns which were formed by surrounding the 
templates with rough-cast. 

Exterior ornamental modelling furnished a field for the expression of such 
flights of fancy as the East Anglian plasterer chose to indulge in. Here 
was room for free action. If his work was sometimes too ambitious, 
sometimes lacking in knowledge and refinement, it was spirited and always 
logically developed out of the material. The less elaborate specimens are 
the best ; delicate running patterns, scroll work, or foliated representations 
inspired by the pleasant, natural surroundings in which the village worker 
spent his days. Many of these are excellent in every way, and betray 
skill and accomplishment on the part of the executant. Such is the 
decoration on the front of the example from Clare, in Suffolk (page 91). 
It stands out m considerable relief, 
and the details on page 90 show 
how vigorously it was handled ; 
the panels are divided by ovolo 
mouldings. At Ashwell, in Hert- 
fordshire, is a cottage front dated 
1 68 1 (opposite), panelled, and 
ornamented with scroll designs and 
a rude presentment of a dolphin, 
or some kindred monster (page 88, 
No. 4). The parge decoration at 
Saffron Walden, Essex (page 95), 
is on a large scale, and figures that 
exceed life-size enter into the 
scheme. The work belongs to 
the seventeenth century. There 
is much interesting modelling on 
the gables, as the drawings on 
page 97 demonstrate. The themes 
were mostly ot natural origin, birds, 
fruit and flowers; while quoins and 
dividing bands were formed with 
templates and slightly project, as 
does the series of crossed arches be- 
neath the window. To a late date 
in the development of plastering 
must be assigned the example from 
Little Chesterford, i n Essex, appear- 
ing on this page. Classic feeling 
is evident, both in the disposition 
of the parts, and in the forms 

92 




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DETAILS OF EXTERNAL PLASTERWORK 




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93 




LITTLE HADHAM, HERTFORDSHIRE 



of which they are composed. Pargetting, by reason of the material with 
which it was done, was essentially a homely art. But underlying all this 
modelled work there is traceable a certain freedom of thought. It was 
the outcome of the working of minds which, gaining power by con- 
tact, individually obeyed impulse, and were independent in their aim and 
endeavour. 

Timber building in the eastern counties developed earlier than in the 
west. It is often rich and beautiful, of fine execution, and in the style of 
the Gothic tradition. Woodwork outside the range of the present subject 
shows how delicately wrought were the elaborate traceried windows, 
doorways, carved angle-posts, and barge-boards. The carving is analogous 
to sculptured stone and followed in the wake of contemporary masonry. 
The smaller buildings have a corresponding interest. In witness of this 
is the cusped barge-board at Clare (page 91) and the gable oriel, with its 
base carved out of one solid baulk. From the same example are the bay 
window, flanked on each side by engaged pillars, fashioned in the shape of 
buttresses, and the |Tudor arched door-head, with carved spandrels, illus- 
trated on page 96. The drawing from Sudbury, in Suffolk (page 85), 
shows a characteristic oak-framed window, while over the door is an 
enriched lintel. The window is divided into lights by mullions and has a 
horizontal crossbar, or transome. Throughout this district, where once 
great forests grew, are innumerable specimens of half-timbered cottages, 
built in the traditional manner that prospered in the countryside. Of 
these. Little Chesterford, in Essex (page loi), furnishes an instance ; it is 
solid in appearance, honest in construction, and picturesque to look upon. 
A group at Stoke-by-Nayland, in Suffolk (page 104), is effectively broken up 

94 



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SAFFRON WALDEN, ESSEX (sEE PAGE 97) 

95 




CLARE, SUFFOLK 



by irregularly placed gables, and dominated by a fine 
chimney-stack with clustered shafts. The upright 
timbers are set close together, and the framework 
is strengthened by diagonal braces. 
Stone is not a common product of the eastern 
counties. It occurs in parts — tor instance, in Cam- 
bridgeshire, which produces a hardened form of 
chalk called " clunch " — but generally over this area 
building stones are scarce. The absence of stone 
and the presence of good brick-earths brought about 
the development of brickwork. Many of the earliest 
English examples — other than those of Roman origin 
— are to be found in Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex. 
It was, however, in the erection of castles, old halls, 
and manor houses that this material was used, and 
no permanent brick building tradition for cottage 
work seems to have existed in early times. But 
after chimneys had become by custom and necessity 
established adjuncts to all types of dwelling — that is 
to say, in the sixteenth century — they were the 
special features of the cottages to which brickwork 
was almost invariably applied. They were treated 
as important items of the architectural groups, not 
suppressed, but emphasised. Upon them craftsmen 
lavished their best skill. Many noble shafts bear 
witness to their handiwork and power of design. 
Often several flues were grouped together in one 
great stack, while above the roof the single shafts 
appeared in clusters. Such chimneys may be seen 
in the drawings of Stoke-by-Nayland (page 105) 
and Melbourn (page 106), already mentioned. The 
shafts were shaped in various ways, rectangular, 
octagonal, circular ; each might be entirely detached, 

96 



CLARE, SUFFOLK 





DETAILS OF EXTERNAL PLASTERWORK (sEE PAGE 95) 

97 




ASHEN, ESSEX 



or partially so and connected by moulded bases and caps ; some were all 
joined together without break. The examples from Newport, in Essex 
(page 102), are richly diapered with small face patterns, different on each 
shaft. The chimneys at Newton Green, in Suffolk (page loi), distinctly 
suggest the Continental influence which exercised a sway all along the 
eastern coast. The actual bricks then used were beautiful in themselves. 
Clay was weathered by long exposure, and the process of making by hand 
conduced to a pleasing variety in shape. They were burned in the old- 
fashioned way and were uneven in texture and colour. The proportions 
were good ; old bricks were thin and rarely, if ever, exceeded two inches 
in depth. Mortar joints were flush with the face of the brickwork and 
were not often less than half-an-inch in width. The mortar was generally, 
though not always, light in colour and of excellent quality : so good, in 
fact, that it is often only with difficulty that old brickwork can be parted. 
Old chimneys, it is said, have been bodily moved from one place and 
re-erected in another, so firmly were they jointed together. 
Roofs were occasionally made up with tiles of two or more colours, laid in 
shapes and patterns, or in parallel bands, as at Clare (page 89). The contrasts 
are never very decided and the colours always blend. But the thatched 
roofs are the glory of the district. Although there is in many parts of 
England no great difference existing between thatching, none can compare 
with that of the eastern counties. There it reached a state ot perfection 
beyond which it is difficult to imagine. Thatching was an art, lull of life 

98 



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99 










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and invention ; the work was skilful and sure. All sorts or arrangements 
of hazel rods were interwoven and crossed. The thatch was cut back in 
patterns, elaborated at the ridges, and projected at the points of gables. The 
details from Cambridgeshire shown on this page are characteristic. Deep 
covered dormers, exemplified by the drawings of Trumpington, Cambridge- 
shire (above), and Ashen, Essex (page 98), are prevalent and always pleasing 
to the eye. There is, indeed, a quality possessed by thatch peculiar to itself. 
It has colour and beauty, and nothing more harmonious, more satisfying in 
effect, has ever formed the roofs of England's village dwellings. 




DETAILS OF THATCHING FROM CAMBRIDGESHIRE 
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DIVISION V 



NORTHERN MASONRY AND 
BRICKWORK 




V.-NORTHERN MASONRY AND 
BRICKWORK 

ILL AGE craft-work in the North of England possesses 
distinctive characteristics, and its pecuHarities are 
well defined. The buildings bear a relationship to 
those elsewhere, yet are a type in themselves, divided 
from the main trend of architectural development 
by their own particular features. Nowhere is the 
effect of local influence more apparent. They betray 
the individuality, the outlook upon life, and the 
conception of things, that distinguished the northern 
from the southern mind. Work in the north and south, considered 
together, is in a small degree comparable to the architecture of different 
peoples, which displays manifest contrasts of race and creed. It was no 
trifling spirit that brought into being the cottages on the Yorkshire wilds, 
or those in the mountainous district of Lancashire. Here nature was in 
stern mood, the elements had to be resisted. There is a certain rugged 
character in the buildings, accurately representing the external circumstances 
and underlying 
powers that were 
continuous and per- 
manent. 

Of all the influences 
that operated to 
determine the ap- 
pearance of these 
stone-built cot- 
tages, that of tem- 
perament seems to 
have been the most 
potent. The species 
of stone procurable, 
it is true, was of 
much significance. 
Mr. Alfred Gotch 
says that " in Der- 
byshire, Yorkshire, 
and Lancashi re, 
where the stone is 
hard, the work is 
of a plainer and 
more severe type"* 
That well sums up 
the general run of 
cottage work, a 










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FIRWOOD FOLD, LANCASHIRE 

The Growth of the English House," J. Alfred Gotch. 

109 




APPLETREE, LANCASHIRE 



consequence of the use ot material. But it was not always so. In the 
districts of the oolite — similar to that found in the Cotswolds and Somerset- 
shire, — or where the magnesian limestone occurs — such as was used in 
building of King's College Chapel, Cambridge, — the same severity is seen, 
although the stone was suited to the richest effects of workmanship. This 
leads to the supposition that the great working factor was the temperament 
of the northerner, his interpretation was quite personal. He used his 
material in his own way, and his efforts bore evidence of his nature. 
The rough northern climate played its part in determining the type or 
architecture, and accounted in no small way for that austerity by which it 
is distinguished. The cottages bear testimony to this, and nothing more 
suggestive of climatic conditions can well be imagined. There, perched 
on high and exposed places, as at Appletree, in Lancashire (above), or 
Clapdale, in Yorkshire (page i 1 1), they seem to defy wind and storm. 
They are, too, admirably suited to their surroundings. One has only to 
travel over the mountains and moors of Lancashire, Yorkshire, and 
Derbyshire, to see and feel how well the way of building was adapted to 
local conditions. The mountains are grand and solitary ; while below, the 
wild loveliness of romantic dales, watered by fast-flowing rivers and streams, 
is ever alluring. The stone crops out from the mountain sides in huge, 
craggy masses, and the buildings, of like material, form an integral part of 
the landscape. There is such agreement in the whole, such harmony, and 
the eminent merit of the northern villages lies in this fact. It is their 
appropriateness that gives them their claim to serious consideration as 
architecture, and the drawings of Knaresborough, in Yorkshire (page 113), 
and Stanton-in-the-Peak, in Derbyshire (page 115), demonstrate this 
point. 

Oolite, lias, magnesian limestone, sandstone, and carboniferous limestone, 
are all found in the three counties. Much of the stone is ot a dull and 
sombre colour, enlivened here and there by patches of warmer hue, as is 
shown in the coloured drawing from Penistone, in Yorkshire (opposite). 
1 10 










PENISTONE, YORKSHIRE, from A pen and 

WATER-COLOUR DRAWING BY SYDNEY R. JONES. 




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BASLOW, DERBYSHIRE 

Some was well dressed and used in large sizes ; such ashlar work has very 
fine joints of mortar. Other large stones were only roughly dressed, with 
the ioints wide and finished flush with the walls. Where small building 
stones were employed, the quoins would invariably be of large, squared 
stones. Bonders often project considerably beyond the face ot the walls. 
The hardness of most of the stone, and the massive sizes in which it was 
procured, account for a number of the peculiar features ot northern work. 
Foremost there are the roots. Huge flagstones went to their making, 
whose weight necessitated a very low pitch. At Halton, in Lancashire, a 
lean-to roof was noticed, covered by two stone slates only, or enormous 
size ; and it is by no means uncommon to see roofs having in depth no 
more than six courses of slates. Several ot the illustrations show these 
stone roofs, Appletree (page iio), and Knaresborough (opposite), and 
Stanton-in-the-Peak (page 115), already mentioned. In these instances 
the slates gradually diminish in size towards the ridge. As soon as another 
method of roof-covering was adopted the rake was altered ; to cite an 
example, it was made more acute at Baslow, in Derbyshire (above), to 
accommodate thatching. The nature or the stone determined the type of 
doorways and windows. Window openings were made with four stones, 
one for the lintel, another for the sill, and an upright piece on each side. 
Heads of doorways were lormed with one large stone, which boldly crowned 
the opening. The cottages at Eyam, in Derbyshire (page 117) — tragically 
known by association as the " Plague " cottages— have this arrangement ot 
masonry for doors and windows. It was, and still is in some districts, the 

1 12 










KNARESBOROUGH, YORKSHIRE 







HALTON, LANCASHIRE 



custom to whitewash the exterior face of stone- 
work, in the manner of the far buildings at 
Dent, in Yorkshire (page 119). Doorways and 
windows would then be accentuated by colouring 
the masonry which surrounded them. 
The refinement and fanciful treatment so common 
to stonework in the southern counties is absent 
here. What ornament there is has little in it to 
arrest the eye. Details — gable finials, kneelers, 
and the like — often border on crudeness. Of 
an elementary character are the two chimneys 
from Halton, in Lancashire, and that from Burton 
Leonard, in Yorkshire, all of which are illustrated 
on this page; yet they are perfectly suited to the buildings they serve. 
The same feeling is evident in the date panel from Scotton, in Yorkshire 
(page 122, No. 2), with its quaint attempt at carving in low relief The 
lights of stone windows are narrow, divided by heavy muUions, and have 

over them a protecting label, as at Fir- 
wood Fold, in Lancashire (page 109). 
Many stone-framed windows have 
glazing contained in wooden lights, 
and these lights are neither casement 
nor sash, but slide to and fro ; the 
windows at Eyam (page 117) open 
in this way. The employment ot 
wooden eaves-gutters, down-spouts, 
and rain-water heads was general, 
and examples are shown from Green 
Hammerton, in Yorkshire, and Halton, 
in Lancashire (page i i6,Nos. i and 2). 
Down-spouts are square in section and consist of four pieces of wood, nailed 
together. Some gutters are moulded on their outer face, as is the one at 
Green Hammerton, just mentioned. Villagers throughout the north of 
England make a practice of sanding the steps to doorways. It is an odd 
custom, many years old, which still sur- 
vives. The stone step is run over with 
water, partly dried, and to the damp 
surface is applied dry sand or sandstone. 
Varied are the patterns that are worked 
on risers and treads. One from Dolphin- 
holme, in Lancashire, is given on page 
116; it is carried out in white and ochre- 
coloured sand, upon cool, grey stone. 
In the neighbourhood of Lancaster is to 
be found a type of doorway of quite a 
special kind, which does not, to the pre- 
sent writer's knowledge, occur elsewhere. 
It is distinguished by the particular 

114 




HALTON, LANCASHIRE 




BURTON LEONARD, YORKSHIRE 




STANTON-IN-THE-PEAK, DERBYSHIRE 



enrichment of the headstone. Over 
the doorway are two sunk panels, 
surrounded by a moulding which is 
continued upwards from the jambs, 
and the raised centre panel commonly 
carries a carved date and initials. 
These dates denote the period at 
which this fashion in doorways was 
prevalent ; those at Halton, in Lanca- 
shire, and at Lancaster (page 121) are 
dated 1672 and 1701 respectively ; 
and the restored cottage at Abbey- 
stead (page 123) has an old lintel 
dated 1677. Simpler ornamental 
doorheads are illustrated from Wyers- 
dale, Lancashire, and Lancaster (page 
122, Nos. I and 3). 
By their form and treatment, and by 
their repetition at different periods, 
the ornaments and details show how 
carefully old tradition was maintained 
and how tardily it was abandoned. 
The old villagers were loyal to the 
naturally developed style. Conserva- 
tism was fostered by the nature of 
the country and its isolation ; its 
influence is obvious in the buildings 

of the northern counties. Over a very long space of time variations of the 

same forms were employed, and work belonging to the eighteenth century, 

especially in the higher parts of Yorkshire and Lancashire, differs little 

from that of 150 years earlier. Oi comparatively recent work Professor 

Blomfield states that " even in the mill architecture of the Yorkshire 

manufacturing towns, harsh 

and forbidding as it is, there 

remained a certain local 

quality, and some of the 

dignity of the eighteenth 

century in buildings erected 

as late as 1840."* When a 

change from the old tradition 

did come, and the conquering 

classic influence was drawn 

upon for inspiration, the new 

manner was but imperfectly 

understood, and a clumsy, 

heavy interpretation, lacking 

in delicacy, was generally the 
* 




WOODEN SPOUTING 




SANDED ENTRANCE STEPS 
Renaissance Architecture in England," by Reginald Blomfield, M.A. 



116 



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EYAM, DERBYSHIRE 
117 




STAVELEV, YORKSHIRE 



result. Strangely incongruous some of these small buildings, which show the 
change in fashion, look. ; and, however suited such types may be to certain 
kinds of landscape, they seem misplaced among the rugged, mountainous 
scenery of the Pennines. 

A remarkable interior exists at Staveley, in Yorkshire, and is illustrated on 
this page. It is primitive in its arrangement, and gives a good idea ot 
what, apparently, was once the customary abode of the village worker 
and his family. Two rooms are on the ground floor and there is no upper 
story. The stone walls are inwardly faced with plaster. There is no 
ceiling, the timbers of the roof being thus exposed to view. At one end 
of the cottage a small upper 
floor has been inserted, ex- 
tending from the cross- 
beam to the gable-end. 
Thiswasthe sleeping apart- 
ment. It is shown by the 
diagram on this page and 
was reached from below by 
a ladder. The two tri- 
angular spaces framed by 
the beam, posts, and rafters entrance to sleeping loft of above cottage 

ii8 





DENT, YORKSHIRE 
119 




FARNHAM, YORKSHIRE 

of the roof, are boarded over,and the central open space was the place of access. 
By people of the twentieth century such a place for sleeping may well be 
considered rudimentary, and there is small wonder that this habitation has 
now been condemned by the local authorities. The stone fireplace from 
Farnham, in Yorkshire (above), is not without interest, and is another 
instance of the continuance of olden practice. It has much in common 
with fireplaces of the thirteenth century, and resembles them in the shallow 
depth of the hearth, and in the heavy stonework at the head supported by 
corbels. 

On the flat lands around York are cottages with walls ot brickwork and 
pantile roofs. The bricks are pale in tint and lack colour. Front walls 
are generally wholly of brick ; some show alternate horizontal divisions or 
brick and rubble, while many back and interior walls are of the two 
materials, or of stone only. Simple string-courses were employed to orna- 
ment and break up surfaces of plain walling ; they consist of ordinary 
or moulded bricks, manipulated in a satisfactory way, and show as dentils, 
projecting courses, or bricks laid dog-tooth fashion at an angle to the wall's 
face. Under the eaves, and at the first floor level of the cottages at Green 
Hammerton, in Yorkshire (page 124), the brick string-courses may be seen. 

120 



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The gable-end of this example is of a kind that can often be observed 
in the district round ; in fact, such gables are prevalent throughout the 
north-eastern counties, and are as much features of Suffolk as of Yorkshire. 
They are singular in having an angular arrangement of brickwork opposing 
the horizontal courses, and flush 
brick copings at the head. The 
use of pantiles for roofs was very 
general and they found their way 
intothe stone regions, as theillus- 
tration from Farnham, in York- 
shire (above), demonstrates. 
Half-timbering, although it was 
a building method of the towns 
and found favour with erectors or 
large halls, is not conspicuous in 
the country villages. At York 
(page 125), Bolton, and else- 
where examples are to be found, 
while the timbered halls of south- 
ern Lancashire are iustly famous. 
But it is not in the timberwork, 
or in the brickwork, that the real 
architectural expression of the 
northerner is to be sought. In 
the stonework this lies ; in the 
scattered dwellings of Derby- 
shire, Yorkshire, and Lancashire. 








DATE PANELS 



122 




ABBEYSTEAD, LANCASHIRE 
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DIVISION VI 



METALWORK AND WOODWORK 




VI.-METALWORK AND WOOD- 
WORK. 

HE direct and straightforward methods that charac- 
terised the handling of the building materials for the 
village dwellings were applied to the making of their 
metal fittings, and to those movable objects which 
added to the convenience of daily life. Primarily 
utilitarian, they were also beautiful. They possessed 
that quality which arises from a nicely adjusted sense 
ot use on the one hand, and adornment on the other; 
and in addition to being suited to their purpose, they 
were ornamental. There was no conscious striving after effect, and the 
materials were fashioned with due regard to their nature, the results being 
raised trom the commonplace by such touches of taste as were conceived 
best by the worker. Very gratifying to the eye were many of the designs, 
excellent examples of manipulative skill. 

Tradition was strong in influencing metalwork, as it was in other branches 
of village craft. Through generations seeking for improvement, by long 
periods of use, patterns and executive methods were perfected. The origin 
of many utensils and implements, that became the ordinary adjuncts of the 
home, was traceable to 
needs of long ago. Full 
of suggestion are the very 
names — the chimney- 
crane, the roasting-jack, 
rush-light holders, and 
the rest — recalling to 
mind olden ways of 
living that have now 
been superseded. Local 
types developed in metal- 
work, just as they did in 
building. The black- 
smithing of Kent and 
Sussex had certain dis- 
tinctions ; there was a 
special pattern for case- 
ments in Berkshire; 
while the district around 
Chipping Campden, in 
Gloucestershire, had its 
particular form of case- 
ment-fastener. North, 
south, east and west of 
England little variations 
and 



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IRON DOOR-LATCHES FROM GLOUCESTER- 
SHIRE AND WARWICKSHIRE 

129 



in objects that were common to all parts. Localities now-a-days are losing 
their distinguishing marks. Those things to which the village worker 
once gave his thought arc now but rarely made, and only occasionally 
one has the good fortune to meet a smith who knows the old patterns 
and can make them. The treasures that used to adorn the cottages have 
mostly been acquired by collectors, or distributed in other ways. But 
interesting and curious objects are still to be found among the heterogeneous 
possessions of villagers, some of real old local work, some obviously from 
other parts. 

Metalwork in cottages falls under two heads, viz. : — that which was fitted 
or fixed to the buildings, and that which was movable. To the first-named 
group belong door and window fittings. The entrance door, often 
accentuated by the surrounding structural brickwork, timbers, or masonry, 
was given further importance by the ironwork with which it was adorned ; 
hinges, latches, bolts, handles, or arranged nail-heads, added to the effect. 
Many are examples of true smithing, honest in execution, suited to their 
purpose, and not unpleasing in form. Handles and knockers of simple 
wrought ironwork from Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, 
Essex, Surrey and Shropshire, are shown on page 131, and may be con- 
sidered typical specimens. Many latches and bolts were decorated with 
incised patterns, such as are seen in the illustration on this page, and in the 
door-latches shown on page 129 ; it was a style of enrichment generally 
practised, and peculiar to no particular district. That the old workers were 
not wanting in a sense 
of grace is demonstrated 
by the refinement, of the 
good latch from War- 
wickshire, fellow to the 
one above - mentioned, 
on page 1 29 ; and on this 
page, by the shaping of 
the back-plates that carry 
the bolts. 

Window - casements, to 
which leaded lights were 
fixed, and the necessary 
fittings for their adjust- 
ment, were objects for 
the village blacksmith's 
special skill. To them 
his best work was given 
and much fine smithcraft 
may still be seen. Always 
strongly lighted from be- 
hind, and showing more 
or less in silhouette, the 
well- designed shapes 
were aptly placed. 

130 



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IRON DOOR-BOLTS FROM WARWICKSHIRE 




^31 



Two complete casements are shown, one from Marston Magna, in 
Somerset (opposite), having an uncommon fastening, and one from East 
Hendred (on this page), representing the Berkshire type, with scrolls too 
lightly constructed for long service. Spring casement-fasteners from 
Worcestershire and Somerset are reproduced opposite. 

Around the open fireplace circled the life of the home. The chimney- 
crane, utilitarian in its motive, was treated as a decorative centrepiece for 
the cavernous depth of the fireplace opening. It was embellished in a 
strong and suitable way, and with a view to its constant proximity to fire. 
Chimney-cranes often furnish instances of extraordinary ability on the part 
of the smith. A fine specimen from Sussex appears on page 134, and a 
simpler one, from a farmhouse at Churchill, in Worcestershire, on the same 
page ; it will be observed that each has two movements. The movable 
accessories, dogs, pots, fireirons, footmen and trivets, would be within con- 
venient reach. One of the wrought-iron fire-dogs given on page 134, from 
Kingston, in the Isle of Wight, has supports for spits ; and the other, called 
cup or posset-dog, has an arrangement at the top for holding tankards 
or mugs. Fire-irons of various patterns appear on pages 135 and 136. 
Some are of traditional smith's work ; others, from Wiltshire, are brightly 
polished and adorned with those vase-shaped forms so commonly employed 
in the eighteenth century. Notable are the tongs with branched termi- 
nations for moving logs, and the beautiful pierced iron shovel. The iron 
footman and fender, illus- 
trated on page 135, are 
good examples of pierced 
and hammered ironwork. 
On the same page is a re- 
production of an unusual 
object, a fire-cover, from 
Lancashire. It was used 
to cover the fire at Cur- 
few, when, by custom in- 
troduced in William the 
Conqueror's days, all fires 
were put out and lights 
extinguished. The one 
exemplified is of brass, 
the patterns having been 
beaten up on separate 
strips and riveted on. 
Other utensils that were 
in daily use are shown on 
page I 37. Dip and rush- 
light - holders stood on 
the rioor or were sus- 
pended from the wall. 
Two of those illustrated 
are standards with metal 




Jjtderior- 



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WINDOW-CASEMENT FROM BERKSHIRE 



132 




SPRING CASEMENT-FASTENERS FROM WORCESTER- 
SHIRE AND SOMERSETSHIRE 




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WINDOW-CASEMENT FROM SOMERSETSHIRE 







IRON KITCHEN-CRANES FROM SUSSEX AND WORCESTERSHIRE 
AND FIRE-DOGS FROM THE ISLE OF WIGHT AND SUSSEX 



30 





32 ^7o^ 



IRON FIRE-SHOVELS FROM SUSSEX AND DERBYSHIRE, BRASS FIRE-COVER 
FROM LANCASHIRE, AND IRON FENDER AND FOOTMAN FROM SUSSEX 



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STOKE ALBANY, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE 



bases, and two are for hanging ; in all cases the actual holders are adjust- 
able, and would be held in position by means of a spring or ratchet. 
Before the introduction of matches the tinder-box was a necessity to every 
home ; the circular box at the base of the round hand-candlestick in the 
illustration, the lid of which is movable, held the flint, steel, and tinder for 
obtaining light. The right-hand specimen, a pair of iron brand-tongs used 
for picking glowing embers from the fire to light tobacco, is tooled at the 
angles, and the lines of the design are admirable. 

Simple and unambitious, the products of the village woodworkers were 
strong, useful, and not lacking in beauty. The craftsmen appreciated the 
nature of the material in which they worked^ and the character of each 
object was more or less suggested by the quality of the wood. The 
treatment of oak differed from that of ash, and ash from elm. The 
natural grain and texture of the woods, not obscured, heightened effects of 
craftsmanship. Sound construction was a controlling factor, and gave 
forms suitable and good. 

In times gone by, villagers treasured their fine old furniture and took pride 
in retaining the heirlooms of their families. There is still good reason to 
think that certain old pieces seen have descended from father to son 
through a long period. But such is not generally the case, and it is now 

138 







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OAK CRADLE FROM GLOUCESTERSHIRE, OAK JOINT-STOOLS FROM SOMERSET- 
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OAK TABLE FROM GLOUCESTERSHIRE 



rare to find old dressers, chairs, and tables — such as those at Stoke Albany, 
in Northamptonshire (page 138), which have now been distributed — in the 
places they have occupied for years past. 

Oaken furniture was pegged together with oak pins, a system ot fastening 
that warded off decay. Joint-stools, so constructed, were at one time 
frequently to be found in the villages. Two examples of the familiar 
seventeenth century type, from Ditcheat, Somersetshire, and Whittington, 
Gloucestershire, are given on page 139 ; each has a carved top rail and 
turned legs. The oak arm-chair on page 140 has arms of a pattern that 
was usual, and on the back rails and legs are gouged incisions. Very 
similar is the chair shown on page 139, but it lacks the arms ; both 
examples are from Warwickshire. An ash chair, with traverse bars or 
different widths at the back and a turned front rail, is illustrated on 
page 140. 

On page 141 is shown a gate-leg table from Derbyshire, obviously of village 
workmanship. The oval top is in three pieces and has two hinged flaps 
secured to the fixed centrepiece. The oak table on this page, fitted with a 
drawer, was found in a secluded cottage on the borders of Gloucestershire, 
and has the characteristics of seventeenth century work. Of a much later 
date is the mahogany table appearing on page 141, and it demonstrates how 
another style of work was evolved to suit a different kind of wood. The 
support beneath the flap has a wooden hinge that works round a wooden 
pin, while the brass drawer-handle is of graceful design. 
Chests, for domestic or other purposes, have had a long association with 
village life. The parish chest, kept within the church, was often a fine 

142 







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OAK CLOTHES-HUTCH FROM 
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE 



hinges, and ivory inlay on 
a bible - box, a usual 
possession of old country 
people. Miscellaneous 
objects of cottage 
furniture are the two 
mahogany framed look- 
ing-glasses, illustrated on 
page 145, and the oak 
cradle from Gloucester- 
shire (page 139), pro- 
vided with a hood, and 
apparently belonging to 
the latter part of the 
seventeenth century. 
Structural fittings, the 
work of the carpenter, 
were sensibly contrived. 
The wooden window- 
seat, made in the thick- 
ness of the wall, rose as 
a flap, and opened to 
view a roomy box be- 
neath. Over the open- 

144 



the lid. 



and elaborate piece or craft- 
work. The linen-chest, or 
clothes-hutch, of the cottager 
was made on more simple lines ; 
the flat top served as a seat. 
Some chests were carved on 
front and ends, but more often 
they were plain, or merely 
panelled, as are the Bucking- 
hamshire examples on pages 
143 and 144. Handles and 
lockplates, when of brass, con- 
trasted brightly with the wood. 
The appearance of the oak 
chest with drawers (page 143) 
is enhanced by the brass fit- 
tings ; while the teak chest 
(opposite) is strengthened 
with brass plates at the angles, 
and decorated with brass studs 
on the lid. The small carved 
box shown below comes from 
Wooferton, in Herefordshire, 
and has an iron lockplate and 
It was, no doubt, originally used as 




CARVED OAK BOX FROM HEREFORDSHIRE 




^iouMr^ roun> 



MAHOGANY FRAMED LOOKING-GLASSES 



ing of the fire-place, and extending trom it to the ceiUng, would sometimes 
be a spit-rack to hold the polished spits. An example, from Warnham 
in Sussex, is given on page 146. Both members of the rack, project five 
inches from the w^all, and are ornamented with simple cut-out work. The 
old pattern ledged door — consisting of upright boards fastened to horizontal 
ledges — with its iron latch and strap-hinges, always looked appropriate 
to its place. This method of construction fortunately still survives in 
country places. 



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SPIT-RACK FROM WARNHAM, SUSSEX 
146 



DIVISION VII 



GARDENS 




VII.-GARDENS. 

OTTAGE gardening is a subject difficult to define and 
include within certain limits. In the practice ot 
it English villagers have always excelled. Rural 
occupations, indeed, have ever appealed to the 
national mind, and whether the consideration be of 
gardens that surround mansions, houses, or peasants' 
dwellings, the same evidence of devotion to " the 
purest of human pleasures" is there. In the best 
of our village gardens the effects appear to be spon- 
taneous and unstudied, and the operations of art are cunningly concealed ; 
they seem to have grown together without the aid of man. Villagers 
are born gardeners. With skill they apply and adapt their knowledge 
acquired from nature. " The very labourer," said Washington Irving, 
" with his thatched cottage and narrow slip of ground, attends to their 
embellishment. The trim hedge, the grass-plot before the door, the 
little flower-bed bordered with snug box, the woodbine trained up against 
the wall, and hanging its blossoms about the lattice, the plot of flowers in 
the window, the holly, providentially planted about the house, to cheat 
winter of its dreariness, and to throw in a semblance of green summer to 
cheer the fireside : all these bespeak the influence of taste, flowing down 
from high sources, and pervading the lowest levels of the public mind." 
It is in their ordered arrangement that old cottage gardens excel. An 
intuitive faculty on the part of their makers gave results for the repetition 
of which it is impossible to lay down definite laws. The charm of many 
gardens, such as the one at Shepreth, in Cambridgeshire (page 151), is 
beyond analysis, and their attractiveness is due to the personal influence ot 
those who have cared for them ; villagers felt what was right to do, and 
ideas came naturally 
through intimate asso- 
ciation with the soil. 
That is as it should be ; 
gardens, ashouses, ought 
to reflect the personality 
of their owners. The 
vegetable beds, in which 
lay the real, material 
value of the cottage 
gardens, were tended as 
carefully as the plots 
given up to flowers. 
Between the narrow 
paths would be rows 
of beans, peas, cabbages, 
and roots, with here and 
there an old-fashioned 
fruit tree and bushes ot 




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HANWELL, OXFORDSHIRE 
149 




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currants and gooseberries, 
were near the boundary 
and their fragrance was 
wafted within. Little 
front gardens bordered 
the road, a joy for the 
passer-by. 

The cleft oak fencing 
that enclosed so many 
old gardensalways looked 
well and was very dur- 
able. It is now, unfor- 
tunately, usually replaced 
by machine-cut oak or 
larch. Where walls were 
used for boundary divi- 
sions, they partook of 
the manner of the build- 
ings they surrounded, and 
there was thus an affinity 
between each. Wilt- 
shire garden walls, like 
those of the cottages, 
were of cob, and flint, 
and brick, and stone. 
Two, from Winter- 
bourne Dantsey and 
Upper Woodford, in 
Wiltshire, are illustrated 
on page 155; each is pro- 
tected from the weather 
by thatching, most pic- 
turesquely applied. A 

150 



In shady places rhubarb flourished and nuts 
hedge. Near to the house flowers bloomed 




GREAT CHESTERFORD, ESSEX 













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SHEPRETH, CAMBRIDGESHIRE 




PAVINGS IN FRONT OF DOORWAYS IN OXFORDSHIRE 



Stone wall from Han well, in Oxtordshire (page 149), is rich with mosses, 
and above are cut box trees and laurels. At Winterbourne Gunner, in Wilt- 
shire (opposite), the gateway has been effectively treated, and the thatching 
of the wall continues over the oak-framed opening. In Yorkshire the piers 
at each side of gates are each ot one stone only. The cottage at Nether 
Compton, in Dorset (page 157), is approached by a flight of stone steps, and 
two cut yews border the way. The entrance path was frequently paved 
with the handiest material the locality afforded, and many charming effects 
in stone, bricks, and cobbles may be seen. There is a beautiful garden at 
Alhampton, in Somersetshire (page 158), luxuriant with flowers in the 
summer-time ; it has a stone-paved way and flower-beds edged with upright 
stones. Other simple methods of paving are shown by the illustrations from 
Oxfordshire, on this page, and Upper Boddington, Northamptonshire 
(page 154) ; they are carried out in stone, old narrow bricks, quarries, and 
cobbles. The original of the porch given on page 150 is at Great Chester- 
ford, in Essex, and is painted green, which shows effectively against the 
white plaster wall. 

Yew trees have from time out of mind been associated with English villages. 
They were commonly planted in churchyards — fitting places tor trees that 
were regarded as emblems of immortality. At the festival of Easter they 
used to furnish greenery for the decoration of the churches. But yew 
trees were not confined to churchyards. In squires' gardens they were 
trained and cut ; they bordered shady walks and bowers. Village gardens, 
too, had their clipped work in yew and box, and much of it can still be 
seen. It is generally limited to the shaping of one or two trees and there 
is little attempt at formal arrangement. Yew trees that have been cut into 
fantastic shapes, such as those at Upper Boddington, in Northamptonshire 
(page 159), are exceptional, and the usual forms are of simple outline. 

152 







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WINTERBOURNE GUNNER, WILTSHIRE 













PAVING IX FRONT OF DOORWAY AT UPPER 
BODDINGTON, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE 



Twoat Glaston, in Rutland (page 1 60), help to seclude the cottage from the 
high-road ; and a series of circular shrubs edge the walk at Therfield, in 
Hertfordshire (page 156). The two box trees that guard the stone-paved 
entrance way at Mollington, in Oxfordshire (page 161), are well cut and 
effectively placed. They, and the adjoining box hedges, give colour to the 
group. Another Oxfordshire example is the box tree, trained close to the 
stone wall, at Hanwell (page 160). The deep green of these trees afford 
excellent backgrounds for the display of flowers. Some allege that yews 
and box harbour insects and pests, deprive plants growing near of nutriment, 
and make the successful growing of flowers in close proximity an impossi- 
bility. But that cannot be always so, for flowers in such positions in cottage 
gardens flourish amazing- 
ly. No more charming 
country sight can be seen 
than a clipped peacock, 
or some other quaintly 
cut device in yew, with 
flower-beds around, en- 
closed by short lengths of 
box edging. Here flowers 
come and go as seasons 
pass; snowdrops, crocuses, 
yellow daffodils, prim- 
roses, sweet-scented gilli- 
flowers, early tulips and 
violets. With the ad- 
vancing season come the 

154 




LONG MARSTON, YORKSHIRE 




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colour DRAV/iNQ BY WILFRID BALL. R.E. 










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THATCHED GARDEN-WALLS IN WILTSHIRE 

^55 







THERFIELD, HERTFORDSHIRE 



columbines, pinks, roses, and the brave show or summer blossom, and autumn 
days are rich with fragrance. 

Pigeons circle round many village homes, harmful for the seeds, perhaps, 
but pleasant to see. Cottagers used to keep them, and provision was some- 
times made in old buildings for sheltering the birds. The upper part of the 
brick gable at Long Marston, in Yorkshire (page 154), served for a pigeon 
house ; the perches are of stone. On south walls of cottages sundials 
were sometimes placed. The Yorkshire example, from Dent (page 163), 
is situated over an entrance porch and surrounded by ivy. At Alhampton, 
in Somersetshire (page 38), the dial is contained on a rectangular stone 
which is affixed to the gable point. Before the days of watches and clocks, 
sundials were the countryman's only mode of counting time. The sunlight 
marked the fleeting hours'; on dull and lowering days the passage of time 
was unrecorded. " I count only the hours that are serene " was graven on 
a dial-plate at which Hazlitt pictured a studious monk looking on sunny days. 
And peaceful thoughts, such as are contained in the words of this inscription, 
do old sundials suggest ; they bring to mind pictures of a calm and easy-going 
past. As time goes by, the old cottages and their trim gardens continue to 
add beauty to the countryside. The garden gates, as in days of long ago, 
open on to narrow paths that lead to those ancient structures, the village 
homes of England, changeless objects amid a changing world. 

Sydney R. Jones. 



156 













■j^aisi**"-''-- 









NETHER COMPTON, DORSETSHIRE 




ALHAMPTON, SOMERSETSHIRE 
158 




UPPER BODDINGTON, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE 




GLASTON, RUTLAND 







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HANWELL, OXFORDSHIRE 
I 60 




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MOLLINGTON, OXFORDSHIRE 

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WILBARSTON, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE 
162 







DENT, YORKSHIRE 



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY, LOS ANGELES 
Aichitectuie & Urban Planning Library, 825-2747. 
This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 



NO PHOl 





UNIV. OF CAUF. uir