KEMPLEY, Church of St Mary (SO 670 321)
Felling date range: 1120-1150
(a) Nave roof
Rafters 1105; 1108 (H/S); 1108 (H/S); 1111 (H/S); 1114 (H/S); Sole pieces (6/8) 1104; 1105 (H/S); 1107 (H/S); 1108; 1112; 1114 (3); Struts (re-used lower collars) 1105; 1106. Site Master 1036-1114 KEMPLEY1 (t=7.8 WSTNSTOW; 7.6 BORDESLY; 7.3 MONMOUTH)
(b) West door
Felling date range: 1114-1144
Planks 1083 (+20 NM); 1099 (+4 NM to H/S bdy). Site Master 959-1099 KEMPLEY2 (t=8.7 VINTNER; 8.4 THAMESEX; 8.3 WALES97)
(c) Repairs to nave roof east gable
Felling date range: 1357-1387
Rafters (1/2) 1346 (H/S); Ashlar 1345 (H/S). Site Master 1290-1346 KEMPLEY3 (t=8.1 SOUTH; 7.8 SENG98; 7.3 READING)
(d) Dug-out parish chest
Felling date range: 1492-1522
Log radii 1443; 1466; 1468; 1436 (+46 NM to H/S bdy); 1452 (+28 NM to H/S bdy). Site Master 1329-1468 KEMPLEY4 (t=7.2 WICK; 6.8 COMMDERY; 6.7 HERE14C)KEMPLEY, Church of St Mary (SO 670 321) OxCal update.
The roof of the nave consists of fifteen internal trusses dated to 1120-50 plus an external rafter-couple which was a late medieval repair, dating to between 1357 to 1387. The fifteen internal trusses are formed using lap-dovetail joints, apart from where the rafters pass over the sole-pieces where a halving joint has been employed. Each truss originally consisted of a pair of rafters, an upper collar and lower collar, sole pieces and ashlars. The collars were connected to each other and to the rafters with small-scantling struts. Inscribed dates of 1670 and 1671 mark the insertion of the present timber ceiling of the nave which necessitated the removal of the lower collars and struts. Many of these collars have been cut into shorter lengths and re-used as raking struts from the new ceiling to the rafters. The nave roof was extensively repaired in the early 1980s, when the use of tree-ring dating for standing buildings was just beginning in England. Sixteen samples from timbers with potential for dating were collected from offcuts of repaired timbers, recorded, and placed in storage. Subsequent detailed recording of the offcuts for English Heritage have revealed a fascinating series of important carpentry details, the most interesting being the use of a fully-developed mortice-and-tenon joint for one of the ashlars into a sole piece, the earliest thus far recorded in the British Isles.
As well as the roof, both the south door of the nave and the west door into the tower appear to be primary Norman carpentry. The door between the nave and the west tower is comprised of three vertical planks of oak originally fastened together with four slip-tenons per joint and four bands of iron on the outside face. The three boards are tapered to reflect the thickening of the tree towards the butt end; the southern and middle planks are aligned with the butt of the tree at the bottom, whereas the north plank has been reversed with the butt of the tree at the top. The felling date range of one plank of 1114-1144 fits well with that for the roof of 1120-1150.
The Kempley Chest has been formed by hollowing out a large log which would have originated from a tree four feet in diameter. The top has been rebated 2 inches to receive a curved elm lid, and both the chest and the chest are bound in iron. The felling date range of between 1492 and 1522 for the church chest is surprising given its simple, even crude, method of construction. The dating was commissioned by English Heritage and carried out in conjunction with Cathy Groves of Sheffield University. For further information see Miles, D H, Worthington, M J, and Groves, C M 1999 Tree-ring analysis of the nave roof, west door, and parish chest from the Church of St Mary, Kempley, Gloucestershire AML Report, 36/99 (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 100) (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 203)
English Heritage's page for St Mary's Church
STANLEY PONTLARGE, The Cottage (SO 9991 3027)
a) Main range
Felling dates: Spring, summer 1388
Axial beam 1356 (H/S); Cruck 1387 (36¼C; Arch-brace 1387 (22½C ). Site Master 1231-1387 STNLYPLG (t=7.3 HANTS97; 6.9 WINDSOR; 6.5 ENSTONE)
b) Re-used timber
Felling date range: 1490-1500
Head-beam re-used as purlin 1464 (+26 NM). Site Master 1357-1464 spl4 (t=7.0 NEWDIG1; 6.7 MASTERAL; 6.5 SOUTH)
The Cottage is a three-bay stone-built house, standing on the edge of the hamlet of Stanley Pontlarge. It retains the upper parts of two apparent arch-braces cruck trusses with saddle apexes (type C), whose lower parts were removed by the insertion of a seventeenth-century attic floor. The trusses are aligned with two heavy transverse beams and the tree-ring dating has now shown that these are of the same date as the trusses. Thus, the house was of two storeys originally, with the earliest known upper crucks (i.e. with the blades carried on ceiling beams). This very unusual arrangement is reminiscent of the medieval priests’ houses examined by W. A. Pantin (Medieval Archaeol. 1 (1957), 118-46); this similarity and the date suggests an association with Hailes Abbey which in 1386 appropriated the tithes of Stanley Pontlarge. An incomplete but probable documentary link can be established with a ‘messuage and yardland’ belonging to Hailes Abbey at the Dissolution) See N.W. Alcock, ‘The Cottage, Stanley Pontlarge’, unpublished report for the owner, Mrs S. Rolt, who commissioned the dating. (Miles and Worthington 2001, VA 32, list 116)
WINTERBOURNE, Court Farm Barn, Church Lane (ST 641 808)
Felling dates: Winter 1340/41, Summer 1341, Spring 1342
Crucks 1341(26¼C), 1340(23½C), 1339(33, 31), 1338(32, 22); Purlins 1340(20C), 1338(12); Collars 1339(31, 17). Site Master 1177-1341 WNTERBRN (t=13.4 MASTERAL; 12.7 SOUTH; 11.4 ENGCOMBE)
In its original extent, the barn at Winterbourne was probably of 11 bays, and at least 143 ft (43m) long by 26 ft (8m) wide internally, although it might have stretched to 12 bays on symmetry grounds. It would also have had two great porches originally, but the building has now been reduced to 7 bays and one porch, with 6 roof trusses. The trusses are outstanding examples of raised crucks with strongly-elbowed cruck blades, raised about 9 ft (2.7m) off the ground and standing on timber pads built into the wall. The crucks carry arch-braced collars and rise to saddles supporting the square-set ridge piece 31 ft (10m) above the floor. One of the trusses is slightly shorter and employs a short king post above the saddle to support the ridge. There are two sets of purlins, with wind braces to the lower set. They are tenoned into the blades either side of the cross-entry, but are trenched into the backs of the crucks, or packing pieces, on the other trusses. Most of the original rafters survive. For further details see Miles, D W H 2001 Tree-Ring Dating of Court Farm Barn, Church Lane, Winterbourne, Gloucestershire, Centre for Archaeol Rep, 34/2001.
Dendrochronology commissioned by English Heritage to supplement and enhance the original study undertaken by Roland Harris and Jennifer Hillam (1991) (Tree-ring dating of oak cores from the Tithe Barn at Winterbourne, near Bristol, Avon, AML Rep 46/91; VA 23, 44-7). Previously, only an estimated felling date range of 1326-1368 could be produced, but selectively re-sampling of the same crucks, plus an additional six timbers, allowed 10 precise, or nearly precise, felling dates to be given. Some degradation of the outer surface of the timber on some of the samples has produced a very narrow date range of a year or two, but are all consistent with a latest felling date of spring 1342. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 107)
Winterbourne Medieval Barn Trust Trustees and supporters are campaigning to continue the process of revitalisation across the whole farmstead to ensure that the site is protected, celebrated and used as a unique historical asset for the future.
WINTERBOURNE, Frenchay Chapel (ST 640776)
Felling dates: Spring 1685, Spring 1687, and Winter 1691/2
Common rafter 1691(20C); Purlins (6/7) 1686(28¼C), 1684(30¼C), 1683(30), 1668(15), 1657(3+23¼C NM), 1656(H/S+28NM); Principal rafters (0/2). Site Master 1533-1692 FRENCHAY (t = 10.7 HANTS02; 9.2 OXON93; 8.3 SARUMBP7)
Frenchay Chapel is located on the north side of Frenchay common just outside of the city limits of Bristol. The chapel is of square plan with two centre posts supporting the valley beam below a double hipped roof covered with clay pantiles. The seven-year variation in felling dates show that some of the wood was stockpiled before the building was constructed during or just after 1692, which correlates well with a lease dated 10th March 1691[/2]. This chapel was built within a few years of the Toleration Act of 1689 which granted nonconformist congregations a measure of legal recognition and allowed them to build their own places of worship. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 177)
Bristol Unitarians the present owners of Frenchay Chapel
WOTTON-UNDER-EDGE, Old Manse (ST 759 932)
Felling date: Spring 1493
Mantel beam 1320; Upper crucks 1492(25¼C), 1489(5, 39), 1481(H/S). Site Masters 1193-1320 omw5 (t = 11.4 WNTERBRN; 8.0 FIDDLE1; 7.7 HANTS02); 1377-1492 OLDMANSE (t = 8.8 FORD; 7.9 HANTS02; 7.8 MC16)
The Old Manse, Wotton-under-Edge, is a three-bay two-storied house. The building is basically Georgian in plan and detailing, but retains two sets of upper cruck trusses in the attic rooms dating to 1493. The mantel beam to the left-hand gable-end stack dated with a last measured ring of 1320 without sapwood or heartwood/sapwood boundary but is probably reused in the present structure. Dating commissioned by the owner. (Miles and Worthington 2005, VA 36, list 166)