OXFORDSHIRE


ABINGDON, Bridge trestles, Lay Cemetery Ditch (SU 499 972)

Felling date: Spring 1508

Base plates 1507 (26; 25¼C); Posts (1/2) 1485 (7) Struts/ braces (1/3) 1473 (2); Stakes 1506 (33); 1500 (15); 1486 (H/S); Plank 1481  (H/S). Site Master: 1394-1507 ABINGDON (t=6.4 THAXTED2; 5.3 MASTERAL; 5.1 OXON93)

A late medieval timber bridge was found at Abingdon, Oxfordshire, during excavations by the Oxford Archaeological Unit in advance of the construction of new offices for the Vale of White Horse District Council.  The bridge lay within a late medieval moat, which lay on the west side of the abbey precinct and was fed by a channel of the River Stert.  The moat was 12 m wide with steep sides and a flat base, and was probably dug in the 14th century after the Great Riot of  AD 1327, during which the abbey was sacked.

In the bottom of the moat two trestles of the timber bridge were found in situ.  Each trestle consisted of a long horizontal sill-beam into which were tenoned uprights and angled bracing timbers, each sill-beam resting upon three roughly squared lengths of elm tree trunk.  One trestle lay in the middle of the moat, and originally had three uprights, of which only two survived.  Along one side of  this trestle a plank stood on edge, resting in a groove cut into the elm tree trunks and held in place by three large wooden pegs.  The other trestle, which lay close to the west side of the moat, had  two uprights, only one of which survived.  Approximately 1 m of the uprights survived, preserved beneath the level of permanent waterlogging.  Three timbers were initially dated in 1990, but as the results were not conclusive, additional samples were taken from the conserved timbers in the Oxfordshire County Museum store, and a 1508 date was obtained not only for the main structural timbers but also for the associated plank and pegs.  The text and dating was organised by Tim Allen of the OAU as part of their investigative work.  For further details see Miles, D H, 2000  The tree-ring dating of bridge timbers from the Convent Ditch, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, Anc Mon Lab Rep, 7/2000 (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 81)



ASHDOWN, Ashdown House  (SU 282 821)

Felling dates: Spring 1661 and Spring 1662

Beams (1/2) 1660(27¼C); Brace 1661(19¼C); Principal rafter (0/1); Post (0/1).  Site Master  1524-1661  ASHDOWN1 (t=8.7 MASTERAL; 7.5 THEVYNE3; 7.4 OXON93)

Ashdown House and the South Lodge are located in Ashdown Park, Oxfordshire. The plan of Ashdown is a typical Restoration composition, being a square plan, set facing the four cardinal points of the compass. The house has three main storeys plus an attic and a low basement, and the five bay facades are almost identical. Over the wide-brimmed cornice a steep hipped roof, pierced with dormers on the west and east sides, is surmounted by a balustraded platform. From this platform rises an octagonal cupola, crowned by a golden ball, and flanked by two massive chimneystacks. The walls are of dressed chalk, the quoins, strings and moulded window architraves are in a contrasting Bath stone (Ashdown guidebook, The National Trust, 1998).  The construction of the roof is complex, not using traditional truss construction but two layers of large beams supported on stout posts and spacers.  Large-sectioned rafters are used to form the hips around the roof with extra bracing being given to the corners by dragon ties.   The principal objective of the tree-ring analysis was to ascertain the date of construction which had previously been placed sometime after 1660.  Dating, together with the south lodge, commissioned by Gary Marshall for the National Trust. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 107)


ASHDOWN, South Lodge, Ashdown Park  (SU 282 821)

Felling dates: Winter 1766/7 and Spring 1767

Beams 1766(28C, 14C); Brace 1766(20C, 6C); Wall plate 1766(28C); Principal rafter 1766(23¼C).  Site Master  1682-1766  ASHDOWN2 (t=7.5 BAREFOOT; 6.7 MASTERAL; 6.3 MC19)

The South Lodge is one of a pair of lodges built to the east of the main house.  They are ectangular in plan with hipped roof sand dormers with large chimneystacks at both gable ends. The exterior walls are built of stone with Bath stone quoins matching the main house. The strategy for the South Lodge was to sample a wide variety of different timbers in order both to date the building’s primary construction phase and identify any later alterations, not obviously visible within the fabric of the building.  The tree-ring date of 1767 is surprising, given the illustration of the lodges in Kip’s engraving of Ashdown published in 1716. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 107)


BERRICK SALOME, Lower Berrick Farmhouse (SU 6195 9390)

(a)     Kitchen and west end of house   

Felling date: c1550

(b)     Parlour and east end of building  

Felling dates: Spring 1612 and Spring 1613

(a) Joists (2/3) 1463, 1526(10+24C NM); Posts 1517(1+18NM), 1533(9); Tiebeams 1525(9), 1512; (b) Ceiling beam 1612(27¼C); Arch braces (1/2) 1611(39¼C); Raking struts 1563, 1609(31). Site Master 1352-1612 BERRICK  (t = 10.8 HANTS02; 9.5 SALOP95; 9.3 E. MIDLANDS).

The first of the three phases is the three-bayed box-framed two-storey range (a). This was extended in 1613 with a two-bayed range with parlour downstairs and an open upper chamber above.  In the open truss to this chamber, the principal rafters are jointed to the wall posts with knee braces seated on small timber corbels, the small hollow chamfers of the knee braces are continued on the thin arch braces.  Above the collar is a pair of V-struts.  The third phase is a later 17th century staircase tower with a dog-gate.  Dating commissioned by Oxford Architectural and Historical Society with a contribution from the owner. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 36, list 168)


BRIGHTWELL-CUM-SOTWELL, The Red Lion P H & Thatch End (SU 581 907)      

Felling dates: Spring 1555; Spring 1556

Wall plate 1554(23¼C), Collars 1555(23¼C), 1529(1); Tiebeam 1555(23¼C); Principal post 1555(30¼C); Stud 1554(33); Re-used stud 1301(36¼C); unprov. timber (0/1).

Site Master 1424-1555 REDLION (t = 8.9 BDLEIAN4; 8.2 CLNGNFRD; 7.5 OXPRISON)

The five-bay two-storey timber-framed building has three primary central bays, the right one (in Thatch End) being the original upper end. The central bay has a contemporary or slightly later ceiling over most of it, and evidence for a smoke hood at one end. The lower-end bay was open with a soot-encrusted roof. In the seventeenth or eighteenth century this was floored and a smoke hood built against the gable. The building is mostly of elm, with the exception of the collars, the service-end gable truss and adjacent wall plates. The roof trusses consist of tapering principals with clasped purlins, the ridge supported on yokes. The building was severely damaged by fire during December 2001 and has been reconstructed and restored. Drawn survey and recording carried out jointly by Miles & Company and Oxford Archaeology. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 140)


BURFORD, Reavley’s Chemists, 124 High Street (SP 252 122)  

Felling dates:  Spring 1401

Undercroft ceiling joist 1400(16¼C, 17¼C, 19¼C, 23¼C, 24¼C, 28¼C); Axial beam (0/1); Arch-brace in hall open truss 1395(21); Cross-wing tiebeams 1374(H/S), 1353; Cross-wing arch-braces 1325, 1314.  Site Master 1202-1400  BURFRD1 (t= 9.7 HANTS02; 8.9 SOMRST04; 8.7 OXON93)

Number 124 High Street is situated on a prominent site on the corner with Sheep Street.  It consists of a truncated two-bay hall running parallel to High Street, with a four-bayed cross-wing along Sheep Street.  The integration of the two roof structures suggest that both ranges were constructed at the same time.  The hall roof is heavily smoke-blackened with a central arch-braced truss and the interesting feature of the common rafters having ashlars rising from an inner wallplate.  Another significant feature is the undercroft beneath the hall.  This retains the original timber structure of the hall floor with central tenons and charring evidence for a central hearth. The cross-wing roof structure is even more remarkable given the simple carpentry typical in Oxfordshire.  Both the tiebeams and the arch-braced collars are cranked. Above each collar, a crown strut rises to a yoke in the angle beneath the junction of the principal rafters. Crown braces rise from the struts to the square-set ridge; the latter is threaded through the principal trusses.  Scarf joints include splayed scarfs.  The earliest documentary reference to the site is from 1423 as the site of the Novum Hospitum Angulare, owned by Thomas and Christiana Spicer.  By 1464 it had been bequeathed to the church, and from 1507 to 1734 it was known as the Crown.  From this time it has been used as a pharmacy, the ‘oldest chemist in England’.  Dating supported by the owners and OAHS. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 179)


BURFORD, 10 Sheep Street, Titcombs (SP 251 122), Barn          

Felling dates: Winter 1570/71

Upper cruck in linking passage 1570(12C); Collar in linking passage 1570(19C); Upper crucks in barn 1553(7), 1543(h/s); Tiebeam in barn (0/1). Site Master 1486-1570 BURFRD7 (t = 7.9 SOMRST04; 7.8 HANTS02; 7.5 MIDHSQ02)

To the rear of Titcombs is a two bay stone barn with a through passage, connected by a linking structure to the front range. The barn has an upper cruck truss in the centre with a collar and two sets of trenched purlins, and the link also has an upper cruck truss. The west gable of the barn has a distinctive ‘candle-flame’ ventilator found in other local buildings. Previously the barn has been believed to be eighteenth century, with the linking upper cruck probably brought in from elsewhere, possibly in the early twentieth century. However, the precise date of 1570/71 for the link, and date ranges consistent with this from the upper crucks in the main part of the building, suggest that all are of one phase, contemporary with the stone walls. Dating commissioned by the owner, OAHS and VCH. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 191)


BURFORD, Calendars, 25 Sheep Street (SP 252 122)

(a)     Front, Middle, and Rear Ranges 

Felling dates:  Spring 1473

(b)     Rear Range Inserted Floor         

Felling dates:  Spring 1487

(a) Tiebeams 1472(24¼C), 1451(13); Purlin 1472(24¼C), 1471(24), 1458(H/S), 1455(H/S); Rafter 1443(37+30C NM); Wallplate 1459(17); Principal rafters 1451(1), 1447(1); Collar 1452(2); (b) Transverse beam 1486(23¼C).  Site Master 1321-1486  BURFRD2 (t= 11.0 BURFORD6; 10.8 OXON93; 10.7 SENG98)

Calendars is a courtyard complex of which three ranges survive: a jettied range along the street, another jettied range running back, and the stone kitchen range at the rear of the plot. All three elements are coeval, with a tiebeam of the middle range originating from the same tree as a collar of the front range.  Timbers in the reconstructed rear range roof also had the same 1473 felling date as another tiebeam from the middle range.  The front range has a close studded first floor over a stone ground floor, as well as an extended jettied gabled projection at first floor level.  The middle range is jettied on the courtyard side with the studs set at wider spacings than that used for the front range; it also has an original timber window.  The rear range has a ceiling beam dated to 1487 apparently relating to the insertion of the floor in this range. Dating supported by the owners and OAHS. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 179)


BURFORD, The Tolsey, High Street (SP 251 122), Primary structure.

Felling date:  Spring 1525

Stud 1524(19¼C); Common rafter 1524(17¼C); Principal rafters 1524(20¼C), 1518(15); Purlins (1/2) 1524(31¼C); Collar 1508(1).  Site Master 1388-1524  BURFRD3 (t= 6.0 PORCHBC; 5.8 MASTERAL; 5.7 OLDFIELD)

The earliest documentary reference to the Tolsey – traditionally where market and other tolls were collected – is 1561, but recording work in 1999 by John Steane and Pat Harding suggested an earlier building date. It consists of a timber-framed structure supported on octagonal stone columns forming an open market area with a small lock-up. The roof comprises two parallel ranges of two bays each with tiebeam and collar roof trusses, two rows of purlins and wind-braces (mostly curved but with some straight ones). The kinked continuation of the southern range to the west has been shown by the dendrochronology to be contemporary with the main structure. Dating supported by the owners and OAHS. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 179)


BURFORD, 82 & 84 High Street (SP 251 122)                  

(a)     Front Range No. 84a     

Felling date:  Winter 1431/2

(b)     Rear wing No. 84a, reused timber          

Felling date range:  1433-65

(c)     Rear wing No. 82, , reused timber          

Felling date:  ?Spring 1473

(d)     Front Range No. 82       

Felling date range (OxCal modelled): 1529-49 (unrefined 1523-55)

(a) Principal rafter 1431(17C); Tiebeam 1425(H/S); Purlins 1415(4), 1409; Collar (0/1); (b) N principal rafter 1st rear truss 1424(H/S); (c) SW purlin 1472(30?¼C); (d) Principal rafters 1519(H/S), 1510(1).  Site Masters (a – c) 1307-1472  BURFRD4 (t= 12.2 BURFORD2; 7.8 OXON93; 7.7 SENG98; 7.4 PEBBLE); (d) 1409-1519 BURFRD5 (t= 5.7 HAR-F; 5.6 KNWESQ02; 5.5 FAWSLEY1)

These two High Street tenements were united by a common frontage when the 16th century roof of No.82 was raised in the18th century. In this work, cambered collars or windbraces were reused as struts between the old and new roof structures. In No.84 the dated principal is thickened at the point where the purlin (now missing) went through it. This feature was noted at Corpus Christi Farmhouse, Littlemore dating from 1424 (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 100, p.103), and the detached kitchen at Shapwick House, Somerset from 1428 (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1996, VA 27, list 71).  The principals support a square section ridge. Two rear wings at right angles contains much reused timber including the two timbers sampled. Dating supported by the owners and OAHS. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 179)


BURFORD, 2-4 Priory Lane (SP 252 123) 

Felling date:  Spring 1650

Ceiling beam 1649(12¼C).  Site Master 1567-1649  bfde1 (t= 5.5 HANTS02; 5.2 NEWDIG2; 5.2 BLTCHMNR; 5.1 BRADNM1)

These two cottages are built up against the rear wall of Falkland Hall, an imposing building on High Street (said to have been built by Edmund Silvester in 1558, but lacking documentary evidence). The stone wall of No. 2 and the drip-mouldings on its Priory Lane elevation continue those of the Hall, although it is structurally separate. Inside, the axial beam supports the floor of what at one time seems to have been a large reception room, accessible through an internal doorway through the wall from Falkland Hall. It was heated by a large 4-centred arched fireplace. The axial beam is moulded and the carpentry is of good quality. The beam dates from around the time that the Bear Inn was founded on the adjacent tenement, and it is possible that these cottages and the Falkland Hall were also part of the inn; doorways through to the Hall were found at each level during renovation work in 2005. Dating supported by the owners and OAHS. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 179)


BURFORD, The Gabled House, 162 The Hill (SP 252 120), Front Range

Felling date:  Spring 1459

Transverse beam 1458(17¼C); Upper crucks 1440(H/S), 1432(+10 NM to H/S); Joist (0/1).  Site Master 1336-1458  BURFRD6 (t= 9.5 PEBBLE; 7.3 GREYSCT1; 7.2 OXON93)

One of a number of houses extensively restored in the 1920s by E J Horniman, it had a series of earlier remodellings, in particular the gabled front which is from the 17th century. The main roof of the front range consists of 4 bays of which the upper parts of three trusses are visible. The southernmost A-frame truss is a relic of an earlier lower roof. Next is an upper cruck truss (dated) with cranked blades and a type A apex with a short collar linking the blades a few inches below the ridge, and a lower collar which has been removed. The third truss is again a pair of upper crucks, with long knees visible below the present floor level. This has a type C apex, with the blades almost touching beneath the yoke. The west wing has simple principal rafter trusses; the purlins are crudely scarfed within the principals using visible tongues and edge pegs.  Six samples from the principals and purlins failed to date conclusively due to pollarding. Dating supported by the owners and OAHS. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 179)


CHASTLETON, Chastleton House (SP 248 291)

(a)     Main House – North Range (Long Gallery) roof 

Felling dates: Winter 1608/9 and Winter 1609/10

(b)     Main House – South and East Range roof reconstruction

Felling date: Spring and Summer 1789

(c)     Stable Block Range        

Felling date: Winter 1475/6

(d)     Brewhouse Range          

Felling date: Summer 1611

(a) Principal rafters 1608(30C2), 1609(22C, 26C), 1587(H/S); (b) Purlins 1788(23¼C, 30½C), 1776(25+5 to 10 NM); (c) Transverse beam 1475(28C); Principal rafter (0/1); (d) Principal rafters 1610(23½C), 1588(H/S2), 1586; Collar 1588(H/S); Transverse beam 1590(1). Site Masters  (a, d) 1452-1610 CHSTLTN1 (t = 8.5 NUFF; 8.1 SALOP95; 8.0 HIERCALL); (b) 1671-1788 CHSTLETN2 (t = 8.4 CHATHAM2; 7.9 EASTMID; 7.4 HANTS02); (c) 1394-1475 cst7 (t = 5.8 HANTS02; 5.6 CLRENDN7; 5.3 MOTISFNT).

Chastleton House is situated in Oxfordshire 5 miles west of Chipping Norton.  It was erected by Walter Jones, who had made his money as a cloth merchant.  The three storey main house has a courtyard plan with projecting staircase towers on the east and west elevations and it includes a two-storey hall on the south, and a long gallery along the north side at second floor level.  The Long Gallery roof is of barrel-vaulted form with elaborate plasterwork. The trusses are of an unusual form.  The arch-braced collar trusses have substantial through-tenons to the collars which are secured with four ordinary pegs and a large, 2” diameter central peg.  The dendrochronology suggests that the main house was under construction during 1609 and 1610, and that all of the roofs except that in the north range were replaced shortly after 1789 (slightly earlier than the late 1790s date inferred from a rainwater hopper head dated 1795).

The brewhouse felling date (d) suggests that this range was constructed immediately after the main house, linking it to the pre-existing stable block range, from which a single beam produced a tree-ring date of 1475/6 (c). Further sampling is needed to confirm whether this date is representative of the entire range or is from a reused timber.  Unfortunately all but one of its roof trusses have been replaced. Dating commissioned by the National Trust. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 36, list 168)


DORCHESTER, Dorchester Abbey (SU 579 942), nave roof (reused timbers)       

Felling date range: 1621-53

Braces 1612(h/s), 1601. Site Master 1502-1612 DRCHSTR1 (t = 5.5 bct4; 5.0 BDLEIAN3; 4.9 THEVYNE1)

Restoration and other building works have allowed a programme of building investigation and recording, including dendrochronology on two wind braces within the roof above the nave. The roof is essentially a nineteenth-century structure, but the braces were reused from an older building. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 152)


DORCHESTER, Dorchester Abbey, Guest House (SU 578 942)

(a)     Primary phase roof         

Felling dates: Spring 1444; Winter 1444/5

(b)     Repair phase      

Felling date: Winter 1543/4

(a) Ex situ rafter sprockets 1444(16C, 14C), 1443(14¼C), 1424(h/s); (b) Replacement stud 1543(25C). Site Masters 1332-1444 DRCHSTR2 (t = 6.3 TEWKES; 5.9 MILKST1; 5.4 MASTERAL); 1469-1543 dorc15 (t = 6.7 POLLICOT; 6.3 SARUM11; 6 NUFF; 5.9 LAWNS)

The Guest House at Dorchester Abbey is a two-storey timber-framed building apart from its stone south wall. The roof has clasped purlins with steeply-pitched windbraces. It is likely that it originally extended to the west end of the Abbey and included a gatehouse. The building was probably truncated when the tower was rebuilt in 1602. The date of construction closely follows the visitation of the Bishop of Lincoln in 1441 at which the Abbey was described as having a £200 debt and being in a poor state, with the tower ruinous. In 1544 the monastic buildings and precinct were granted by the Crown to Sir Edmund Ashfield of Ewelme, and the 1544 date of a gable-end stud must relate to repairs carried out at this time (Kate Tiller, Dorchester Abbey: Church and People 635-2005, (Witney, 2005)). The roof was repaired in 1989-93 when four rafter sprockets, which carried the roof over the stone wall, were saved, as was the repair timber from the gable end. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 191)


EAST HENDRED, Godfrey’s Farm, 2 St Mary’s Road (SU 460 885)

Felling date: Winter 1419/20

Tiebeam T2 1419(34C). Site Master 1301-1419 eahc10 (t = 6.8 RYECOTT1; 6.5 HANTS97; 5.5 LONDON)

This house has a two-bay open hall with a central cruck truss, a floored chamber bay and an unfloored service bay, all with box-frame trusses. It was sampled and recorded as part of the Leverhulme Cruck Dating Project ( Alcock et al., VA 20 (1989), List 31). A felling date of 1418/9 was obtained for the saddle and arch-brace of the cruck truss, and this is complemented by the additional sample from one of the box-frame trusses taken during repairs, which shows that construction must have been slightly later than previously anticipated. ( Currie, op. cit., 120). Dating commissioned by the owner. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 126)


EAST HENDRED, Hendred House  (SU 460 885)

(a)     North cross wing

Felling dates: Winter 1533/4 and Winter 1535/6

Corner post 1533 (11C); Principal rafter 1535 (16C); Joists (1/2) 1504); Stud 1516 (H/S); Windbrace 1503 (18); Sill beam 1498; Transverse beam 1511 (10).  Site Master  1481-1535  ehh4 (t=9.8 BRUCE2; 9.0 SENG98; 7.8 HANTS97)

(b)     South cross wing

Felling date: Winter 1335/6

(c)     Later alteration/repair?

Felling date range: 1375-1407

(b) Wall plate (1/2) 1286; First-floor girt 1335(22C). (c) SW corner post 1366(h/s); SW wall plate 1366(h/s). Site Master 1216-1366 EHENDRED2 (t = 11.4 OXON93; 9.8 HANTS97; 9.1 SOMPTING)

(d)     Garderobe to south cross wing

Felling date: Winter 1522/3

Mid girts 1522 (18C, 25C); Lower pierced vent studs (1/2) 1505(3); Corner posts (0/2); Tiebeam (0/1); Reused beam under chimneystack (0/1). Site Master 1438-1522 EHENDRED3 (t = 5.8 UPRLAKE; 5.2 PLASMWR1; 5.2 BEARSTP2)

(e)     South-west library wing

Felling date range: 1575-1607

Reused purlin 1567(h/s); post (0/1); studs (0/2). Site Master 1440-1567 EHENDRED4 (t = 6.4 CHERGTN; 6.4 MASTERAL; 6.3 SENG98)

Hendred House is a complex series of ranges which includes a thirteenth-century chapel, a later in-line range which forms a southern cross-wing to an open hall with a fine false-hammer beam roof, and a northern cross-wing with a later parallel range to the north of this.  Presently undergoing substantial renovation, the opportunity was taken to sample the north cross-wing.  This is most likely a service range and is of three unequal bays, and is jettied at the west end.  The front double-bayed room has a moulded transverse beam with a hollow chamfer between two rolls, and the joists are chamfered with progressively simpler stops from west to east.  The roof includes clasped purlins and ogival plank windbraces, and has only one truss, there being only an intermediate collar to the front double bay.  The one roof truss has diminished principals, but this unusually occurs just above the purlin rather than from the back of the purlin notch itself.  The tree-ring date of 1535/6 from various sections of the wing confirms that the whole of the block, including the floors is of one building phase. For further information see Currie, C R J, 1992, Larger Medieval Houses in the Vale of White Horse, Oxoniensia 57, 114-8. (Miles and Worthington 2001, VA 32, list 116)

The north wing at Hendred House has been dated to 1535/6 (VA 32). Repair works to the hall and southern ranges allowed access to formerly concealed timbers. Although a couple of oak samples from the hall failed to date (most of the timber is elm), timbers from the south cross wing identified three phases of construction. The earliest is of 1335/6 for a first-floor side girt, and a terminus post quem of 1295+ for a wall plate abutting the hall. This is consistent with structural details identified as 14th century by Currie, such as dragon ties and lodged floor joists. However, this interpretation is complicated by the corner post into which the 1335/6 girt is framed and the wall plate above, both of which give felling date ranges of 1375-1407. The roof may date from either period; it has a crown strut braced to the collar in the central truss with a down-braced crown strut in the end truss. The lodged floor joists, mostly reset, are substantial 6in square elm timbers chamfered on their lower edges; the chamfering is interrupted for a passage along the side nearest the hall leading to the chapel.

On the south side of the south cross wing a small projecting porch was probably a garderobe. This has a masonry ground floor and timber-framed first floor, and the interesting feature of wide studs each with two round-headed chamfered ventilation slits. These, as well as the mid-girts, produced a felling date of 1522/3. The library has been moved from the south cross wing to the adjacent south-west wing. Here a purlin reused as a window lintel yielded a date range of 1575-1607. This wing was partially rebuilt, probably in the 18th century, but the reused purlin may have come from the original roof. (C. R. J. Currie, ‘Larger Medieval Houses in the Vale of White Horse’, Oxoniensia 57 (1992), 114-8). Dating commissioned by Mr Edward Eyston. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 126)


EAST HENDRED, Hillside and the Old Forge, Church Street (SU 458 885)       

(a)     Cruck block (Old Forge)

Felling dates: Spring 1553 and Spring 1556

(b)     Box-framed block (Hillside)

Felling date ranges: 1497-1517; 1521-50; 1538-52

Old Forge: NW cruck blade 1552(34¼C), SW cruck blade 1555(19¼C); Reused timbers in Hillside Cottage: rail 1480(4); studs 1496(19), 1537(26); window sill 1520(11). Site Master 1379-1555 HILLSIDE (t = 9.3 HANTS97; 8.8 SOUTH; 8.5 SENG98)

Hillside is a three-unit complex running north-south, with the two northernmost sections nearest the church being in one occupation. The oldest section is the centre part, known as the Old Forge, which comprises two truncated type W cruck trusses and some wall framing on the east side. The roof structure and west wall framing are lost, as has the original north and south ends of the outer cruck bays. This section had previously been dated to 1526-61 with a likely felling date of c.1541 (Alcock et al, VA 20 (1989), List 31). Further sampling undertaken in advance of proposed conversion works produced two felling dates - the northern pair of crucks were felled in the spring of 1553, the southern pair in the spring of 1556. (Currie, op. cit., 120).

The northern block (Hillside) is a two-storey box-framed structure of three unequal bays terminating in a gable-end jetty on Church Street. The largest bay, to the south adjacent to the cruck range, is 16ft long, of which the southern 5ft has been divided off by a storey post and higher floor level. Evidence of door posts in both front and back wall frames of this end of the bay suggest it formed a cross passage. Later, the introduction of a massive chimneystack seems to have converted this to a lobby entry. At the rear of the wall frame, a small window was cut into the wall brace. Very few suitable samples were available due to most timbers being of elm, many also reused. Four oak timbers had sufficient rings to allow successful dating, although none retained complete sapwood. A stud and a girt produced felling date ranges of 1497-1517 and 1538-52 but may have been reused, whilst a window sill produced a felling date range of 1521-50; these dates may relate to the cruck-framed building to which this range is attached. Framing and carpentry details suggest a 17th-century date for the box-framed building. Dating commissioned by the Hendred Estate. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 126)


EAST HENDRED, Wisteria House and The Stores  (SU 460 888)

Felling date: Winter 1472/3

Collar 1472 (25C); Principal rafter 1472 (41C); Rafters 1472 (22C, 23C).  Site Master  1353-1472  EHENDRD1 (t=6.2 PRINCE; 5.6 SWKBARN; 5.4 PEBBLE)

The house now combining Wisteria House and The Stores is situated on the east side of the High Street and has a hall with an integrated and jettied north and south cross-wings, whose ground floors are flush with the hall at the front, although the south wing projects slightly at the rear where it adjoined an earlier range since demolished. The house was close-studded at the front and sides, and has some early brick nogging which is nevertheless inserted (one brick having the date 1780 painted on what was probably an earlier brick), but the rear walls had open framing now replaced by brickwork.  The wing fronts have Wessex gables each with a crown strut and raking struts, and the Perpendicular bargeboards with sunk quatrefoil panelling are an exceptional survival.  The jetties have fascias with a double hollow chamfer and bowtell moulding.

The hall has two tiers of chamfered tenoned butt purlins and four-centred windbraces similarly chamfered. It was previously presumed to have been of cruck construction with the crucks later removed. The central hall truss has now been found to be an arch-braced collar truss jointed into posts with extended jowls, an unusual framing technique in this area; it is almost perfectly intact above the middle bedroom ceiling. The south end has a closed truss with tiebeam and collar, and a similar truss is set over the former screens, with a crown strut, beyond which are single unchamfered purlins bearing on layboards of the north and south cross-wings.  The west wall has evidence of blocked two-light windows over the screens passage and in the lower hall bay, and of a three-light one in the dais bay. No direct evidence remains for the position of the smoke louvre in the roof, but weathering on the north side of the arch-braced collar suggests the possible position of the open hearth.  The wings, like the hall, have ridgeless clasped purlin roofs in two bays with four-centred windbraces.  The centre and rear trusses have queen struts between tiebeams and collars.  The purlins, like the hall wall-plates, have secret-bridled scarf joints.  For further information see Currie, C R J, 1992, Larger Medieval Houses in the Vale of White Horse, Oxoniensia 57, 118-9. (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 100)


EWELME, Cottesmore Farm, Small Barn (SU 635 992)

Felling date: Spring 1602

Wallplate  1601 (16¼C); Principal posts 1601 (15¼C; 23¼C); Spring 1602; Tiebeams 1601 (17¼C); 1598 (27); Stud 0/1; brace 0/1.  Site Master 1433-1601 COTTESMR  (t=8.9 NUFF; 8.8 OXON93; 8.6 MASTERAL; 8.3 WC KITCH)

The smaller barn at Cottesmore Farm, Ewelme, is part of a larger complex of barns which have been recently converted into residential accommodation.  Here dated to 1602, only one central bay and two trusses remain intact.  The wall framing consists of principal posts with either jowled or unjowled heads, intermediate posts, mid rails, and subsidiary studs, with the lesser members being in both elm as well as oak.  The roof trusses comprise of a collar and queen struts clasping an upper set of purlins, a lower set being clasped by raking struts.  There are short braces from the tiebeams to the principal posts, but the wall framing seems devoid of any bracing.  An interesting feature is the tiebeam which exhibits elongated mortices excess peg holes for the queen posts suggesting reuse, but the dendro date of after 1598 with incomplete sapwood which instead suggests poor carpentry.  The purlins have bridled scarf joints which are splayed on the edge or top side rather than the face.  The dating was commissioned by ‘Preservation in Action’ on behalf of the owners. (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 82)


GREAT COXWELL, Court House (SU 2691 9394)

(a)     Primary phase    

Felling dates: Summer 1457; Winter 1457/8

(b)     Inserted floor     

Felling date range: 1465-97

Collars (1/3) 1456(14½C); Purlin 1457(16C); Principal rafters (2/3) 1450(14), 1435(1); Moulded dais beam 1431(6); (b) Inserted floor beam 1457(1). Site Master 1321-1457 COXWELL2 (t = 6.2 CHKSPQ01; 5.7 EASTMID; 5.7 BAYLINS)

The Court House is situated immediately south of the well-known monastic grange barn at Great Coxwell. The two-storey house, built of rubble stone with dressed stone quoins and stone slate roof, almost certainly formed part of Beaulieu Abbey’s monastic grange and the name ‘Court House’ suggests that the manorial court was held here. In 1458, a large open hall was constructed with western chambers divided off by a closed truss. Shortly afterwards, the open hall was ceiled over. Dating commissioned by the National Trust. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 191)



HARPSDEN, Harpsden Court (SU 764 809)

(a) Main range Felling dates: Winter 1566/7; Winter 1567/8

(b) Staircase tower Felling dates: Winter 1550; Winter 1571/2

(c) Kitchen range roof Felling date: Winter 1721/2

(a) Purlin 1567(23C); Queen posts 1502, 1547(2), 1567(19C); Principal rafters 1566(32C), 1566(36½C); Tiebeam (0/1); Collar (0/1);Rafter (0/1). (b) Purlins 1550(29C), 1563(37); Wallplate 1561(3); Brace 1567(16C); Post 1571(22C); Queen strut (0/1). (c) Rafters (1/5)1721(24C); Purlin (0/1); Principal rafter (0/1). Site Masters 1413–1571 HARPSDN1 (t = 12.9 GREYSCT2, 11.1 SALOP95, 11.1 SENG98); 1655–1721 hrp33 (t = 7.7 MDM13, 7.3 MDM24, 7.1 HANTS02)

This manorial building of medieval, Tudor, Regency and Victorian dates was drawn in 1586by the Blagraves, a family of well-known cartographers of Reading, for Sir Humfrey Forster. The aim of the recording was to identify the multi-gabled range shown in the bird’s-eye view. The roof survives almost intact. It is of F-shaped plan, with a short cross wing at the west end, an axial roof of three bays with gables and a rear stair block. The dating shows that is of one period, apart from the slightly later roofing of the stair block. The cross wing roof covers a medieval stone building, but is of the same construction type and period as the main roof. This contains tiebeams supporting tall queen struts with stub collars which clasp the single purlins, ensuring uninterrupted access throughout the attic; each pair of rafters has an upper collar for additional strength. Both tiebeams and wallplates form integral parts of the floor structure; their upper faces serve as floor boards as well as receiving the diminished-haunch tusk tenons of the vertically-laid ceiling joists. Three original cavetto moulded, mullioned windows survive, one in the south-east gable and two in the stair block. The roof over the kitchen wing is of a straightforward clasped purlin form. Dating supported by the owners, VCH and OAHS; Recorded by members of the OBR and HA&HG; report by Ruth Gibson. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2009, VA 40, list 214)
 

HARWELL, Princes Manor (SU 494891), barn 1 (north-west)

Felling date range: (OxCal modelled) 1504-1515 (unrefined 1499-1525)

Tiebeams 1497(10), 1494(H/S), 1490(H/S), 1473(H/S); Raking strut 1488(14+11NM); Storey posts 1473, 1438; Queen strut (0/1); Intermediate collar (0/1); lower purlin (0/1). Site Master 1355-1497 PRINCES2 (t = 10.8 MDM11X; 10.2 SALOP95; 9.9 WINDSOR2).

The main barn at Princes Manor has six bays and a further four narrower bays, all with aisles. The larger section is mainly constructed of second-hand timbers from a high-status building of at least four bays. It includes five tiebeams with large cyma recta mouldings, three from central trusses with mouldings on both sides, and two end tiebeams with mouldings on only one face. Two unmoulded tiebeams may relate to the same building. The wall framing below the tiebeam to Truss 1 is made up of a re-used ceiling with smaller cyma recta mouldings which have been partly lost due to subsequent dressing of the timbers. In addition, re-used moulded arcade braces and braces to the under side of the tiebeams have hollow mouldings. It was initially thought that this building was the remains of an early in situ manorial court-house (J. M. Steane and J. Ayres, ‘Princes Manor Barns Harwell: Archaeological / Historical Report Vol 2’, Unpubl report for owner (2004)) but further examination during repairs has shown that the timbers are not in their original configuration and have been truncated when reconstructed in their present form, probably during the seventeenth century. The dating has shown that the re-used timbers date from the first quarter of the sixteenth century, and provide an early use of the cyma recta moulding profile, generally found in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. Dating commissioned by the owners. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 191)



HENLEY-ON-THAMES, 20 Bell Street, The Old Bell (SU 760 826)

Felling date: Spring 1325

Wallplates (1/2) 1324(23¼C); Braces 1308(7), 1300(+22½C NM); Window jamb (0/1); Rafters (0/4). Site Master 1188–1324 HENLEY5 (t = 9.3 HANTS02; 8.8 PILGRIMS; 8.2 BAYLLOLS).

This is a small public house in Bell Street, the former North Street which runs south–north parallel to the Thames and pre-dates the planned market town. Its mock timber framing hides a medieval, three-bay building with cross passage of outstanding quality. The front has a ‘tacked on’ jetty in which the front corner posts rise through both storeys. A complete crown-post roof survives in the centre in the form of an arch braced, cambered tiebeam supporting the octagonal shaft, from which four braces rise to the collar and collar purlin. The front/west truss lost its crown post when the roof was later cut back and hipped, but preserves the top arch and splayed jambs of a gothic window below the tie, possibly formerly a projecting oriel. The roof has what appears to be original framing for a lateral chimney stack immediately beyond the first truss in the middle bay. It is Henley’s earliest vernacular structure yet identified, very probably part of a once larger building.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2009, VA 40, list 215)
 

HENLEY-ON-THAMES, 77–81 Bell Street, The Bear (SU 760 829)

(a) Rear kitchen Felling date: Spring 1438

(b) North extension to rear kitchen Felling dates: Winter 1500/1; Winter 1589/90

(a) Rafters 1437(10¼C, 12¼C3, 17¼C); Purlin 1437(19¼C); Girt 1437(18¼C); Wallplate 1436(12); Principal post (0/1); Tiebeam (0/1). (b) Principal rafters 1589(11C), 1579(3); Extension to tiebeam (?reused) 1500(8C). Site Masters (a) 1388–1437 HENLEY6 (t = 9.2 OXON93; 8.6 GREYSCT1; 8.1 HALL). (b) 1450–1500 bbh13 (t = 8.8 STE-A; 7.0 TFDEANE; 6.9 BDLEIAN4), 1541–89 bbh112 (t = 10.8 GREYSCT2; 8.5 MDM27; 8.5 BLCKHSFM).

The Bear inn has a long, narrow courtyard, located at the important northern entrance to the town. Its street front has four gables, which have provided first floor chambers with comfortable accommodation for travellers over many centuries. The two left-hand gables, which include the two chambers over the carriage arch, have crown strut trusses of high quality scantling. These truss types are repeated over a large first floor parlour of the range behind No. 77. None of these trusses were suitable for dating, but similar ones in the area date to the mid-fifteenth century. The two right-hand bays at No. 81 have large, canted oriel windows and are of seventeenth-century date. Behind this and separated by a one-foot gap survives an earlier two-bay open hall (dated to 1438), which appears to have had a smoke bay in its smaller, eastern bay. This hall was enlarged by the unusual method of extending it sideways (to the north); this involved the construction of a new, taller roof over the wider building, achieved by extending the common rafters, leaving the earlier ones on the south side of the roof in situ, and by extending the tiebeams with scarf joints. The new principal rafters have been dated to 1589/90 which represents the construction date of this extension; the 1500/1 date for the tiebeam extension suggests that the timber had been reused from elsewhere. The entire roof of this range has sooted timbers and was probably used as the inn’s kitchen. It may have started as a small detached kitchen or it may represent the remnant of a once longer hall, which made way for the new seventeenth-century front. Dating supported by the owners of No. 81.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2009, VA 40, list 215)



HENLEY-ON-THAMES, 10 Thameside, Granary Cottage (SU 762 825)

Felling dates: Spring 1548; Winter 1549/50; Spring 1550

Floor joists 1549(27¼C), 1538(27), 1534(28); Transverse beam 1549(14C); Tiebeams 1547(39¼C), 1541(21). Site Master 1420-1549 HENLEY4 (t = 8.6 REDLION; 8.1 LWYMON2; 7.6 GREYSCT2).

Granary Cottage and Barn Cottage, which it adjoins near the corner of Friday Street, form part of an interesting group of (almost) continuous timber-framed, jettied buildings along Thameside and Friday Street, although only Granary Cottage was sampled. They were used as grain stores from the late eighteenth century and photographs of c.1900 show them with shuttered and barred upper openings and barn and stable-type doors at the ground floor. However, they all have chamfered and stopped ceiling joists of excellent quality, and Barn Cottage has a splendid dragon beam for the jettied corner. The joists at the Friday Street (western) end of the range are flat laid, more closely spaced, whilst further along towards the eastern end and into Thameside the joists are square. Their purpose at the time of construction was probably a dual one, offices and accommodation on the ground floor and safe storage (from water and thieves) of goods above. Dating partly commissioned by the owners.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 204)
 

HENLEY-ON-THAMES, 13 Gravel Hill (SU 758 825), roof

Felling date: Spring 1454

Common rafter (1/4) 1453(23¼C); Transverse beam (0/1); Purlins (0/2); Purlin from extension (0/1). Site Master hgh04 ( t = 6.1 JARVIS1; 5.8 DITTON4; 5.8 KIMPTON1; 5.3 bltc11).

This two-bay, two-storey crosswing was added to the west side of a double hall house of three small bays, now Nos. 9-11 Gravel Hill. All three buildings have crown-strut trusses with collars and clasped purlins. The rear truss of No. 13 has a single strut, whilst the street-facing front has a fan truss, with a central straight strut from tie to collar and two curved struts. The two small halls, which may have been renters originally, built to serve the upper market area of the town, have smoke-blackened roof timbers. This use of the halls must have ceased by the time the wing was built; its rafters and plate intrude into the smoke-blackened space but are totally clean. The 1454 date for the crosswing confirms that the adjoining small halls are some decades earlier. Dating partly commissioned by the owner.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 204)



HENLEY-ON-THAMES, 49 Duke Street, Tudor House (SU 761 825)

Felling date range: 1569-1601

Principal post 1451(+15NM); Door post 1511(H/S?); Rail 1563(8); Jetty joist 1565(3); Joist (0/1); Tiebeam (0/1). Site Master 1408-1568 HENLEY5 (t = 11.6 MASTERAL; 11.2 ANGLIA03; 10.2 HANTS02).

This is a modest, one-and-a-half-storey house, jettied at both front and rear, and built gable end onto the street near the corner of Duke and Friday Street. It is the only survivor of its kind in this street, although an 1860s photograph of the now demolished west side of Duke Street, shows nothing but jettied buildings crowded onto the narrow foot way, illustrating the early importance and pressure on the street which probably pre-dates the medieval laying-out of Hart Street and Market Place. Tudor House may have been the storeyed crosswing to a now vanished hall. It has square-laid joists to the jetty, with rectangular joists behind. The roof has a single crown strut from cambered tie to collar truss, arch braces from posts to tie, clasped purlins, and curved windbraces, all typical of Henley. The majority of the timbers in the building are reused, and the date of the present building is represented by only a jetty joist and a rail. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 204)
 

HENLEY-ON-THAMES, 60 Friday Street, Baltic House, Thameside, and Baltic Cottage (SU 762 825)

(a) Primary phase (Baltic House and Cottage) Felling date: Winter 1438/9

(b) Crosswing to Baltic Cottage Felling date: Winter 1537/8

Principal rafters (1/2) 1438(22C); Common rafters (0/6); Crown post (0/1); Tiebeam (0/1). (b) Rafters (4/5) 1537(11C, 23C, 32C), 1536(11); Principal rafter (1/2) 1536(17); Inserted cross beams (0/2); Inserted tiebeam (0/1). Site Master (a) 1383-1438 bltc11 (t = 7.8 BRAUGH2; 7.5 GOLEIGH1; 7.3 SENG98; 6.7 GREYSCT1), (b) 1449-1537 HENLEY3 (t = 7.6 HANTS02; 7.6 HILLSIDE; 7.4 REDLION).

The two-bay hall house (a) is located close to the river at the corner of the eastern end of Friday Street and Thameside. It has a smoke-blackened crown-post roof, a rare type of roof structure in the town. The collars are lap jointed to the rafters, virtually all of which are of small, boxed-heart scantling, with only one timber producing a positive date. A large brick stack has been inserted in the centre, creating a lobby-entry house. The two-story crosswing (b) was built at the western end in 1537/8, by which time the hall must have been chambered over, as there is no smoke blackening on its timbers. This crosswing was subsequently truncated at the front along the plane of the hall-range roof. Three timbers from this phase failed to produce a date. In c.1800 the building was extended along Friday Street towards Thameside by an elegant front wing with two reception rooms and central staircase. Dating partly commissioned by the owners. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 20)
 


HENLEY-ON-THAMES, 88 Bell Street, Countess Gardens (SU 760 829)

Reused rafters Felling dates: Spring 1611

Reused rafters (3/6) 1610(27¼C, 30¼C), 1594(5). Site Master 1517–1610 HENLEY7 (t = 7.9 GASKYNS2; 7.5 WAR; 7.5 NETTLE1).

This is one of the town’s grandest early eighteenth-century houses, located at the northern entrance to the town. It takes its name from the large grounds behind it, which are associated with the former royal manor and named after the early fourteenth-century Countess of Cornwall. It is built of silver-grey bricks, has red gauged window arches, tall sash windows, an elegant door case, and a parapet, which hides the hipped roof. Much of the interior is fully panelled and has an elegant, open string staircase with a variation of turned balusters and toads back hand rail; both typical for the early part of the eighteenth-century (Linda Hall, Period House Fixtures and Fittings, 1300–1900 (2005), 112 and 127). The roof is divided into three low ridges ending in hips. The low quality of the timbers used for the pegged common rafters, single purlins and irregular struts is surprising in a house of this status; the date of 1611 shows that second hand timbers were used for its construction with the builder saving on those parts not intended to impress.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2009, VA 40, list 215)
 

HENLEY-ON-THAMES, 95 Bell Street (SU 760 829), rear wing

Felling date: Winter 1758/9

Tiebeams 1758(23C, 22C). Site Master 1668-1758 HENLEY2 (t = 7.7 GREYSCT4; 7.3 MDM24; 5.9 MASTERAL).

Located at the northern entrance to the town, this was originally a rather grand house consisting of four unequal bays, aligned along the street: The two southern bays represent either a hall or a solar with an arch-braced truss, of which the principal rafters remain as well as moulded purlins and windbraces. The two northern bays, which form one large room on each floor, retain richly moulded ceiling beams, wall plates, posts, knee braces and also cusped windbraces. The double hollow-chamfer mouldings indicate a building date between 1450 and 1500. All the timbers were fast grown and failed to date. However, a three-bay rear range produced a date of 1758/9; this range was very likely built when the house had gone down the social scale and had become a bakery, for which there is documentary evidence in 1777 from records of the ‘beating of the bounds’. The building straddled the Henley and Bensington boundaries and the instructions were to go ’through the window and through the oven’ of Mr. Toomer, baker. Dating partly commissioned by the owners.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 204)
 

HENLEY-ON-THAMES, 19–23 Hart Street, The Old White Hart
(SU 761 827)

Felling dates: Winter 1530/1; Spring 1531

Jetty joists 1507(h/s), 1511(h/s+9NM), 1514(h/s), 1527(18); Stud 1508(h/s); Mid-rail 1521(6); Post 1530(21¼C); Wallplate 1530(20C). Site Master 1446–1530 WHITEHRT (t = 8.1 LWYMON2, 7.8 ANGLIA03, 7.2 GOSFIELD).

The documentary history of this inn goes back to a Court Roll of 1428/9 where it is mentioned as ‘Le Harte’. Remnants of a three-bay crown post roof in the front range may date to this period, but were not suitable for sampling. Around the courtyard, accessed by a wide carriage entrance, are three lodging ranges, most of them still connected by a jettied gallery which gives access to fi rst-fl oor chambers. Two bays of the west range were built as an open hall, but with a large brick fi replace in the south gable wall. Bricks, about 2in thick, laid in English bond, were used for the outer walls and gables and up to jetty height for the courtyard walls. These brick walls support the jetty beams, timber gallery and roof structures and are integral to the 1530s dated timbers. This is the earliest known brick building in Henley, erected at a time when brick was still the building material of royalty and nobility. The importance of the building for the town may also be refl ected in the fact that it gave its name to the main street, formerly called High Street. Dating supported by various tenants.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2009, VA 40, list 215)
 

HENLEY-ON-THAMES, The Kings Arms, 32-36 Market Place, Stables (SU 759 826)

Felling dates: Spring 1601, Summer 1601, and Spring 1602

Wall brace 1600(29¼C); Principal post 1600(28½C); Transverse beam 1601(16¼C); Joists (3/6) 1601(18¼C, 19¼C, 20¼C); First floor girt (0/1).  Site Master  1488-1601   KNGSARMS (t=7.6 WHTOWER6; 6.5 CHAWTON1; 5.8 OXON93)

The rear stables or barn behind the Kings Arms is a long range six bays comprised of two wide bays, a short bay, two more wide bays, and a final narrow bay.  It is of two storeys, with the ground floor used for storage or stabling as it was even into the early 1900s.  Upstairs however seems to have been domestic, although no evidence of heating has been found.  The floor frames are number consecutively from west to east, and although the western half was reconstructed in the late 1800s, the surviving joists and axial beams suggest that there was no internal staircase to the first floor.  However, two doors from the south at first floor level have evidence for access from a projecting landing and staircase with roof above.  There is evidence for mullioned windows in the north wall, some of which were inserted subsequently, although the framed openings are primary; this suggests that such finishing details were intended to be inserted once the frame was complete. The window openings in the frame on the south side of the building have no evidence for mullions at all, as these were attached to secondary timber head-boards morticed for the mullions.  The narrow third bay had been floored over at tiebeam level; this took place at the time of construction as evidenced by the subsequent shrinkage of the joist mortices in one of the tiebeams.  Dating commissioned by Henley-on-Thames Town Council as part of a restoration project on the building. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 107)


MAPLEDURHAM, the Almshouses (SU 670 768)

Felling date:  Spring and Summer 1616

Purlins 1615(17¼C, 12¼C); Queen struts 1615(26¼C, 27½C); Principal rafter (0/1); Collar (0/1).  Site Master 1336-1458  ALMS (t= 5.5 HANTS02; 5.5 ALKINGTON; 5.4 THESPAIN)

In his will (1613), Sir Charles Lyster transferred to Sir Richard Blount lands in Berkshire which could be sold and the proceeds used to erect and endow a hospital or a free school for the poor in either Mapledurham or Bicester (A H Cooke 1925, The Early History of Mapledurham, Oxford Univ Press 152-3).  However, the almshouses were not actually erected until the middle of 1616 at the earliest, as evidenced by the dendrochronology.  They consist of six single-bay units of brick with queen-strut roofs.  The almshouses have now been bought by the Mapledurham Estate and converted to two cottages of three bays each, with later rear extensions. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 179)


MAPLEDURHAM, The Bothy, (SU 670 768)        

Felling dates: Spring 1619

Axial beam 1618(8¼C); Joists (3/5) 1618(14¼C); Re-used principal rafter (0/1).  Site Master 1527-1618 MDM23 (t = 7.4 ROSE; 6.6 BRDNM1; 6.4 NEWDIG2)

The Bothy comprises one half of a pair of cottages in Mapledurham village.  It is  one and a half storeys in height, built of flint and brick with a brick hood mould to the ground floor window and a stone mullioned window to the cellar.  The roof is in two bays and is constructed of re-used principal rafters which failed to date.  The cellar ceiling is also constructed of reused joists.  The timbers dated are from the ground floor ceiling frame which appears to have been constructed of primary timbers. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 140)



MAPLEDURHAM, Bottom Farm Cottage (SU 671 777)

Felling dates: Spring 1715; Winter 1715/16

Rafters 1715(20C, 18C, 14C2), 1714(17¼C, 20); Tiebeam 1715(16C); Axial beams 1715(15C), 1708(5), 1704(6); Joists (1/6) 1715(18C), Principal rafter (0/1). Site Master 1663-1715 BTMFMCOT (t = 13.6 HANTS02; 10.6 ORACLE6; 9.4 RADCLIFF).

This is a two-bay, brick-built cottage of two storeys with end stacks. An unusual feature of the brickwork is the use of presumably reused narrower bricks up to the level of the upstairs window sills, with larger bricks above. This might suggest that the roof was raised from a storey-and-a-half to two storeys, but the dendrochronology has shown that both the ground and first-floor ceiling beams are coeval, and the cottage was originally built to its present height. Later brickwork to the left-hand side of the rear bay suggests that the cottage originally adjoined an earlier building subsequently demolished. Access to the upper floor was originally by a trap-door still present above the kitchen ceiling. Roof trusses are typical tiebeam-and-collar trusses with the queen struts of reused timbers. The samples from the lower floors were originally taken during repair works during 1986 but failed to date at that time due to lack of local chronologies.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 203)
 

MAPLEDURHAM, Bottom Farm Granary (SU 672 776)

Felling dates: Summer 1775

Corner posts 1774(19½C, 24½C), 1772(19); Wall -plates 1774(20½C, 22½C); Rafters 1774(20½C, 22½C); Centre post 1764(4); Ceiling joist (0/1). Site Master 1665-1774 MDM24 (t = 12.8 MASTERAL; 12.6 OXON93; 10.5 MDM17b)

The semi-derelict granary at Bottom Farm is of two bays with half-hipped roof and central opposing doors.  The building is of interest in that the ground floor joists, purlins, and the axial beam to the half-loft are all of pine, whilst the rest of the building is of local oak.  The roof truss is of queen-strut construction and the corner posts have gunstock jowls. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 140)


MAPLEDURHAM, 1 & 2 Hodmore Cottages (SU 684 781)

(a)     Present structure

Felling dates:  Winter 1607/8

(b)     Re-used timber  

Felling date:  Winter 1474/5

(a) Girt 1607(12C); Stud (1/2) 1607(16C); Brace 1607(19C); Joists (0/2); (b) Re-used stud 1474(24C).  Site Masters (a) 1453-1607  HODMORE (t= 6.1 NUFF; 6.0 OXON93; 5.0 SARUMBP6); 1503-1607 hod6 (t= 5.7 chz21; 5.5 WAR; 5.2 HERGEST3); (b) 1373-1474 hod1 (t= 6.9 LONDON; 6.9 BRTNSTCY; 6.8 CLRENDN7)

Hodmore Farm Cottages was constructed as a two-storey house of two large bays either side of a chimney bay.  The wall framing has four large-panels per bay, with two in the chimney bay.  The only decoration is a chamfer with lamb’s tongue on the ground-floor axial beam.  Some of the timbers was re-used, as evidenced by the stud (b).  The ceiling joists failed to date due to pollarding.  The house is now divided into two dwellings, enlarged by additional wings. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 179)



MAPLEDURHAM, Pack Horse Inn (SU 691 782)

Felling date: Winter 1707/8

Girts (4/5) 1707(18C, 14C), 1706(20), 1702(8+5C NM); Posts (2/3) 1707(24C, 11C). Site Master 1626-1707 PCKHORSE (t = 7.2 ORACLE6; 7.0 MDM24; 6.5 MDM13).

This is a three-bay timber-framed structure of storey-and-a-half height. The right-hand two bays of the front wall have been subsequently replaced in brickwork, with the left-hand bay having the large panel framing infilled with brick. However, the first-floor rear wall retains much of its original wattle-and-daub panels. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 203)

MAPLEDURHAM, New Farm House  (SU 679 757)

Felling dates: Winter 1739/40 and Early Spring 1740

Inserted rafters (3/5) 1739(13C, 15¼C, 19¼C).  Site Master 1658-1739 MDM15c (t=7.2 HANTS97; 7.0 STEPCOTT; 6.7 MDM17b)

New Farm House, Mapledurham, is a three-phased building with a two-bayed seventeenth century timber-framed core, a Victorian wing, and the front cross-wing which has already been dated to 1758/9 (VA 26, list 64).  The primary phase failed to produce a date, but a group of secondary rafters within the roof have here been dated to 1740, possibly relating to the insertion of the dormer windows which severed the wall plates. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 107)


MAPLEDURHAM, The Old Estate (Don’s) Yard (SU 670 767)

Felling dates: Winter 1623/4, Spring and Summer 1624, and Winter 1624/5

Tiebeams 1623(16½C), 1624(13C); Corner post 1623(22¼C); Centre post 1624(19C); Intermediate principal rafters 1624(34C), 1623(28¼C); Queen strut 1624(20C); Rafter 1623(22C); Wall plate 1623(20½C); Brace (0/1). Site Master  1525-1624 MDMYARD (t = 9.5 HANTS02; 8.0 CHAZEY1; 7.9 OXON93).

The Old Estate Yard is an enigmatic building in the centre of the village which has, for the past 50 years, served as the estate carpenter’s workshop.  Before this, it was a fruit store and before that possibly a stable, though it has a ceiling height of less then seven feet. It is of 1½ stories, originally timber-framed but with the ground floor replaced in brick in the late 18th or early 19th century.  The building was originally lathed and plastered on the outside of the timber frame, the first-floor rear girt projecting 1” to form a rebate for the plaster.  This finish had been removed and replaced with brick panels at the same time as the underbuilding in brick, except for the front wall which was protected by an earlier lean-to. The four bay roof has a central tiebeam truss and two intermediate arch-braced collar trusses.  The purlins are clasped at the gable ends and butt-jointed with double tenons to the internal trusses.  The upstairs was originally accessed from the outside by an external stair or ladder, and one small original window opening with evidence for diagonal mullions survives on the rear wall. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 36, list 168)


MAPLEDURHAM, Rose Farm Cottage  (SU 685 766)

Felling dates: Summer 1745 and Winter 1745/6

Tiebeam  1744 (23½C); Collar 1744 (17½C); Ceiling laths (1745 (20C, 22C).  Site Master  1677-1745   ROSEFMCT (t=9.2 MDM17b; 7.0 BASINGDF; 6.7 HANTS97)

The detached cottage, or bothy, at Rose Farm is a brick-built, two bayed structure of one-and-a-half storeys.  Unusually, the central truss appears to have originally been supported on a tiebeam a few feet above the first floor, an obviously inconvenient arrangement.  However, there is no evidence for a lower tiebeam which might have carried extended queen struts restraining an interrupted tiebeam, and tree-ring dates from the plaster laths of the ceiling below show that this is contemporary with the rest of the building.  Another unusual feature are the end tiebeams which are the same section as, and are morticed into the sides of, the wall plates, an arrangement more commonly found in hipped roofs.  The 1745 date is yet another instance of the massive campaign of building on the Mapledurham Estate during the early 1740s.  (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 100)


MAPLEDURHAM, Rose Farm, Main Barn (SU 685 766)

Felling dates: Winter 1742/3

Rafter 1742 (27C). Site Master 1688-1742 rfb1 (t=8.0 MASTERAL; 7.8 BARN; 7.8 BAREFOOT)

The main barn at Rose Farm, Mapledurham, collasped in 1996.  It consisted of three bays with a central projecting porch with a dovecote in the hipped roof.  The dating of 1742/3 is from a rafter which is thought to be primary, although the structure had been much repaired and altered.  Nevertheless, the date is significant in that it is the fourth in a series of barns constructed at New Farm and Mill Farm, on the Mapledurham Estate, from 1739 to 1742/3 (Haddon-Reece et al 1990, 46-50). (Miles and Worthington 1997, VA 28, list 82)


MAPLEDURHAM, St Margaret’s Church (SU 670 767), tower

(a)     Original tower roof         

Felling date: Spring 1608

(b)     Raising of tower and bellframe    

Felling dates: Spring 1862; Summer 1862; Spring 1863

(a) Tiebeams 1607(33¼), 1587(1); (b) Bellframe braces 1862(43¼C), 1861(20½C); Bellframe base plate 1861(33¼C). Site Masters (a) 1514-1607 MDM27 (t =7.6 CHAZEY1; 7.5 NUFF; 7.4 OXON93); (b) 1755-1861 mdmch15 (t = 5.7 EASTMID; 5.5 THEHOVEL; 5.1 MAPLEALL)

The date 1445/6 for the nave roof was reported in 1993 (VA 24, 54). The tower here dated to 1608 is constructed of brick and flint chequer-work with angle buttresses. In May 1862 substantial alterations were carried out to the church, which included raising the tower an additional 24 feet and topping it with a pyramidal roof, a new bellframe, and creating a false aisle in the nave with the introduction of a non-structural timber arcade to balance the early side aisle on the other side. The four tiebeams from the original tower roof are now ceiling beams. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 191)


MAPLEDURHAM, Step Cottage (SU 676 773) Repair phase

Felling date: Winter 1809/10

Corner posts (1/2) 1809 (18C); First floor girts (3/4) 1809 (27C)2; 1754; Stud (0/1). Site Master 1688-1809 STEPCOTT (t=6.9 MASTERAL; 6.1 BARN; 5.9 CHALTON)

Step Cottage, Mapledurham, is a small two-bayed, one-and-a-half storied cottage situated on the side of a steep bank.  Originally thatched, the cottage was virtually destroyed by a fire and was re-built in 1810 as evidenced by the tree-ring dating.  Fragments of the original structure include the end wall-frame, one storey of the front wall in the same bay, plus the chimney stack, axial beam and two joists.  Everything else appears to date from the 1810 rebuild which interestingly includes medieval-styled assembly marks using long gouges with compass arcs and ‘tags’.  The original structure appears to date from the sixteenth-century, and was certainly in place by 1587 (shown on an Estate map of that date).  The cottage has recently undergone a substantial programme of repairs by the Mapledurham Estate, who commissioned the dating as part of the long-running tree-ring survey of the parish. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 90)


MAPLEDURHAM, The Old Vicarage (SU 670 767)

Felling date: Winter 1761/2

Timber re-used as lintel (20C).  Site Master  1685-1761   mdmov1 (t=8.4 MDM17b; 7.7 BAREFOOT; 7.3 NORTH)

There has long been a vicarage at Mapledurham, frequently re-built and altered over the centuries.  The present complex consists of a Georgian double-piled core with servants’ wing constructed in 1834 by Lewis Wyatt on the site of an earlier service range.  Wyatt also raised the roof of the main block by some two feet and carried out some internal alterations for the incumbent, Lord Augustus FitzClarence, fifth son of William IV.  Recent alteration work revealed a blocked doorway in the spine wall of the Georgian block, and which had been blocked during Wyatt’s alterations.  The timber lintel to this doorway has here been dated to winter 1761/2, but the timber showed clear signs of re-use in that the mortar bedding on either side had respected the seasoning deformation, and that it had previously been used in a situation which had been covered with lath and plaster.  Therefore, this sample provides a terminus post quem for the building of the Georgian house.  The sample was processed by Michael Davis and Judith Broadgate as part of a MSc course in archaeological science at Oxford. (Miles and Worthington 2001, VA 32, list 116)



MAPLEDURHAM, The Watermill (SU 669 767)

(a)     South wing

Felling dates: Autumn 1745, Winter 1745/6, Spring 1746

Longitudinal beams 1745 (18C, 14C), 1745 (12½C); Upper purlin 1745 (16¼C).  Site Master 1664-1776 MDM17b (t=8.5 OXON93; 8.3 MASTERAL; 8.1 BAREFOOT; 8.0 ORIEL1)      

(b)     North wing

Felling dates: Autumn 1764, Winter 1764/5

Jetty bressumer 1764 (17½C); Transverse beams 1764 (16½C, 17½C); Wall-plates 1764 (18½C), 1764 (17C).

(c)     Cupula

Felling dates: Spring 1775, Winter 1776/7

Corner posts 1768 (8), 1774 (21¼C); Stud 1776 (18C).

(d)     Later repair

Felling date: Spring 1796

Inserted purlin North wing (1/2) 1795 (20¼C).

The earliest record of a watermill at Mapledurham appears in the Domesday Book, although nothing remains from the Norman period.  The mill is now a large multi-phased building of which the central core failed to date through dendrochronology.  However, the tree-ring dating has shown that the mill was extended with a large two-storied downstream extension in brick in 1746, continuing the improvements on the Estate by Michael Blount II, (Haddon-Reece et al 1991, 49). In 1764/5 a jettied wing upstream was constructed, and in 1776/7 the mill was further improved with the construction of a cupula for a sack hoist, and immediately afterwards moving and extending a barn onto the island as a granary (burnt down in the 1950s).  The date of 1796 relates to a purlin replaced in the roof of the upstream wing. (Miles and Haddon-Reece 1995, VA 26, list 64 Part II)

MAPLEDURHAM, The Watermill (SU 669 767) Turbine House sluice gate repair

Felling dates: Winter 1856/7

Upright to north gate 1856(37C); Head beam (0/1). Site Master 1739–1856 mm51 (t = 6.2 ORIEL1; 5.9 MDM24; 5.6 MASTERAL).

Although the earliest record of a watermill at Mapledurham appears in the Domesday Book, a number of later phases have been previously dated through dendrochronology (VA 26, List 64, Miles and Haddon-Reece, 1995). The Turbine House is situated at the southern end of the mill and was constructed in the early 1920s over the site of two waterwheels, the last of which was removed in 1920. Two timbers were sampled which relate to the pair of sluice gates, and the 1856/7 date obtained from one of the uprights most likely refers to a later replacement or repair to the sluice gates.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2009, VA 40, list 214)


MAPLEDURHAM, The White House (SU 671 771)

Felling date:  Spring 1726

Tiebeam 1725(25¼C). Site Master  1670-1725 twh3 (t = 7.2 OXON93; 6.8 MDM6; 6.4 MDM13).

The White House is a three-bay house on the outskirts of Mapledurham village.  It had once served as the village pub, and is now a private dwelling, the end inglenook fireplace having been removed in the 1960s.  The building is rendered brick on timber-frame, the roof is constructed of re-used timbers, some of which appear to have been crucks.  The ground floor ceiling is entirely of black poplar transverse beams and joists.  The only visible primary oak timber is a tiebeam which, despite having only 56 rings, matched exceptionally well with the 18th Mapledurham oak master chronologies. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 36, list 168)


MAPLEDURHAM, Whittles Farm (SU 671 784), Cross-wing       

Felling date: Winter 1412/13

Tiebeam 1412 (20C); Cornerpost 1412 (23C); Wall plate (0/2); Purlin (0/1). Site Master 1350-1412 MDM25 (t= 6.8 BURROWEM; 6.3 SHAPWCK1; 6.3 ASHLEWTN)

Whittles Farm consists of a cross wing dated to 1412/13, and a truncated two-bay cruck open hall dated to 1471/2 (Miles and Haddon-Reece, VA 24 (1993), List 54). The wing is of three bays, boxed-framed with clasped purlins, and retains fragments of the original barge boards. Other possibly later features include an end brick chimney stack and a part of a solid-tread staircase. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 152)


OXFORD, The Bodleian Library (SP 515 064)

(a)     Duke Humfrey’s Library – Primary phase

Felling dates: Summer 1457 and Spring 1458

Rafters (4/6) 1439; 1441 (H/S); 1442 (H/S); 1457 (21¼C); Principal rafters (1/2) 1416 (H/S); Ridge 1440 (H/S); Principal purlins 1434 (H/S); 1456 (13½C); Secondary purlins 1421; 1427 (H/S); 1430 (H/S); 1433 (H/S); King post 1408.  Site Master  1322-1442  BDLEIAN1 (t=9.3 CCFARMHS; 5.9 ZACHS; 5.3 PEMBROKE)

(b)     Raising of roof and insertion of intermediate trusses

Felling dates: Spring 1485 and Spring 1486

Replacement tiebeam 1470 (H/S); Wall posts (3/4) 1455 (H/S); 1460 (H/S); 1485 (31¼C); Intermediate principal rafters 1485 (23¼C, 31¼C); Replacement principal purlin 1484 (14¼C); Principal arch-braces 1484 (34¼C, 46¼C); Intermediate arch-braces 1451 (-5 to H/S bdy); 1459 (H/S).  Site Master:  1346-1485 BDLEIAN2 (t=9.5 MASTERAL; 9.3 HIGH; 9.2 SENG98; 8.8 OXON93)

(c)     Repairs by Bodley and insertion of painted panels

Felling dates: Winter 1597/8 and Spring 1598

Replacement tiebeams 1597 (14C, 32C, 23¼C); Inserted moulded rafters (2/3) 1585 (H/S); 1596 (41); Spandrel strut 1596 (28C); Spandrel rib 1543; Arch-braces (1/2) 1552; Wall posts (1/2) 1562; Replacement secondary purlin 1531.

(d)     Arts End roof

Felling dates: Spring 1610 and Spring 1611

Tiebeams 1609 (20¼C); 1610 (30¼C); painted panel 1580.  Site Master  1395-1610  BDLEIAN3 (t=9.0 WHTOWER6; 8.7 NUFF; 8.3 OXON93)

(e)     Bodley painted panels – Duke Humfrey’s Library

Felling date: After 1578 (probably c. 1598)

Ceiling boards (15/19) 1569; 15672; 15652; 1564; 1563; 15624; 1561; 1560; 1551; 1546; Cover pieces to tracery slots (7/10) 1570; 1568; 1562; 1561; 1558; 1549; 1523.  Site Master  1436-1570  BDLEIAN4 (t=12.1 WC_KITCH; 11.0 SENG98; 9.5 MASTERAL)

(f)      The Nine Shields - unprovenanced painted panels

Felling date: After 1565

Painted boards 1527; 1534; 1555.  Site Master  1389-1555  BDLEIAN5 (t=5.9 EX198HS; 5.3 MASTERAL; 5.2 GROVEFM)

A programme of investigation on the roof of Duke Humfrey’s Library has begun to unravel the various stages of construction.  The building was begun as a Divinity School shortly before 1430, and in 1444 an exceptionally large donation from Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester provided the impetus to create a library above the uncompleted building.  Previously thought to have been completed only after the outstanding fan-vaulted ceiling was added to the Divinity school in the early 1480s, the dendrochronology has here shown that in 1458 an elaborately moulded low-pitched open roof was constructed above the library, the majority of which still survives.  This has been confirmed by documentary references to payments of 4 nobles in 1457 and a further £10 in 1458 for some sort of roofing (Gillam 1988, 14).  This roof consisted of low king-post trusses with arch-braces and tracery panels; each bay comprised a heavily moulded principal purlin with a simpler subsidiary purlin either side,  and with a central intermediate rafter of the same profile.  The common rafters, which survive above the later painted ceiling, all had a large hollow chamfer below and were rebated for panels above; a few surviving fragments of these are English rather than imported oak. Clearly this would have structurally completed the library at this time, although it was not until the following decade that the fittings were installed.

In the early 1480s the Divinity School was altered by the insertion of the stone vaults which necessitated raising the floor level, window heads, and wall tops in Duke Humfrey’s Library above it.  Dendrochronology has shown that during 1485 and 1486 the original roof of 1458 was raised wholesale some five feet, with new, longer, arch-braces and wall posts supported by the original corbels, but retaining the rest of the roof structure.  Tree-ring dating has also shown that a number of purlins were replaced at this time.  These alterations were carried out in a simpler, plain-chamfered style, without tracery, as evidenced by one truss which was replaced from tiebeam down. The original roof  had evidently been under-designed and the principal purlins were seriously deflecting after only 30 years, therefore new intermediate trusses or brackets were inserted to provide additional support to the centre of each bay.

During the Reformation the Library was pillaged, and by the late 1590s lay derelict.  Thomas Bodley restored the roof, and tree-ring dates of winter 1597/8 and the following spring showed that at least three of the principal tiebeams and arch-braces were replaced, as were some of the purlins.  Analysis of the painted ceiling panels produced a clustering of last heartwood ring dates from the prepared oak panels, strongly suggesting that Bodley inserted these under the original moulded rafters at the same time, along with the moulded secondary rafters dividing the ceiling into nearly-square panels.  Three samples were also taken from the Arts End, and felling dates of spring 1610 and 1611 confirm the documented construction date of 1610-12.  The Selden End, similarly documented to have been constructed between 1634-40, was not sampled due to lack of sapwood which would have prevented any meaningfully precise dates being obtained.  The dating was commissioned by the University of Oxford, in conjunction with the Oxford Archaeological Unit, as part of the restoration programme of the Old Bodleian Library.  Compiled with notes by Julian Munby of the OAU. See Gillam, Stanley, 1998, The Divinity School and Duke Humfrey’s Library at Oxford, Bodleian Library.  (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 100)


OXFORD, Old Clarendon Building, Broad Street (SP 515 064)    

Felling dates:  Winter 1711/12

Principal rafters 1711(28C), 1702(16), 1700(12); Tiebeams 1711(17C2, 20C, 25C); Collars 1711(25¼C, 28¼C); Handrail 1711(24C); Brace 1691(2).  Site Master 1539-1711 CLRNDNOX (t= 13.7 OXON93; 12.5 STNSTJN4; 12.4 ORIEL1)

Old Clarendon Building was designed between 1711 and 1713 by Nicholas Hawksmoor for the Oxford University Press; this accords well with the precise felling dates of winter 1711/12. The building dominates the east end of Broad Street, and although of only two storeys with basement and attics, the two principal floors are exceptionally high.  Apart from the dated roof timbers, a handrail from one of the original staircase also produced a felling date of winter 1711/12, demonstrating that larger elements of joinery such as staircases were not always seasoned.  The roof trusses are of queen-post construction, and the staircases have twisted balusters, close strings, and square newels with pendants (City of Oxford, RCHME 1939). Dating commissioned by English Heritage; M. Worthington and D. Miles, ‘The Tree-Ring Dating of the Old Clarendon Building, Oxford’, CfA report, 67/2006. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 179)


OXFORD, Christ Church Cathedral, Chapter House (SP 515 059)

Felling date range: Felling dates: Spring 1259 to Winter 1260/61

Roof soulace (notch-lap joint) 1236, Rafters 1260(23C), 1259(31C), 1258(15¼C, 21¼C, 25¼C), 1255(20); Collars 1260(23C), 1259(10¼C, 13½C).  Site Master 1142-1260 CHCHCH (t = 11.9 MASTERAL; 10.9 SOUTH; 10.7 COXWELL)

(1989) The chapter house of St. Frideswide’s Priory (now Christ Church Cathedral) was rebuilt in the first half of the thirteenth century.  Above the vault is a seven-cant roof with notch-lap joints.  Although the sample was only measured on the external face of the timber, the match is a good one.  In the absence of sapwood a date after 1236 is indicated; if the roof is contemporary with the stone vault a date after 1250 is not very likely. Moreover the use of notch-lap joints became less common in the second half of the century, See John Ashdown, Ian Fisher and Julian Munby, ‘The Roof Carpentry of Oxford Cathedral’, Oxoniensia 53, in press. (Haddon-Reece, Miles, and Munby 1989, VA 20, list 32)

(2003) The Chapter House at Christ Church, was built as part of the Augustinian Priory of St Frideswide. The timber roof above the stone vault consists of 30 individual rafter couples with no original longitudinal bracing, such support being provided by solely by the external roof covering. The trusses have two collars about 5ft (1.5m) apart, and the lower collars originally had soulaces bracing them to the rafters. The rafters have simple half-lapped joints at the apex. The collars and soulaces have open notch-laps with refined-entry profile. In addition to the usual face-pegs, these joints have pegs driven in at about 45 degrees from the lower edge of the collar, through the lap-joint and into the rafter. These were probably intended to draw the lapped end of the collar firmly back into the rafter. Comparable double pegging has been noted in the thirteenth-century roof at Cogges Priory, Oxfordshire. The timbers are all substantial, mostly some 8ins (20cm) square. A single sample without sapwood was dated in 1988, giving a terminus post quem of 1245+ (VA  20, 46-9).  This is superseded by the present work. Ashdown J, Fisher, I, and Munby, J, 1988  ‘The Roof Carpentry of Oxford Cathedral’, Oxoniensia, 53, 195-204; Worthington, M J, and Miles, D W H, The Tree-Ring Dating of the Chapter House Roof, Christ Church, Oxford, CfA report 3/2003. (Miles and Worthington 2003, VA 34, list 140)


OXFORD, Corpus Christi Farmhouse, Littlemore (SP 536 027)

Felling dates: Spring 1422 to Winter 1423/4

Wall-posts (1/2) 1407 (H/S); Principal rafters (1/2) 1421 (26¼C); Joists 1422 (20C); 1423 (25C); Purlins 1409 (1); 1422 (15C); Arch-brace (1422 (23¼C); Rafters 1394 (2); 1411 (14); 1422 (15½C, 18½C); Transverse beam 1414 (11); Tiebeam (0/1); Windbrace (0/1).  Site Master 1311-1423  CCFARMHS (t=6.1 OXON93; 5.8 BDLEIAN2; 5.7 STHELEN1; 5.5 PEMBROKE)

The stone-walled farmhouse, which has belonged to Corpus Christi College since the 16th century, was formed by amalgamation of peasant holdings in the late 14th century.  In 1423 the estate was sold by an Oxford goldsmith to Robert Hye, a Cowley yeoman, who presumably built the present structure (V.C.H. Oxon V, 209).  It consists of a storied range with two upper halls or chambers of equal status, with smoke-blackened timbers.  The (identical) roofs have arch-braced trusses, wall posts and partially diminished principals not unlike those at the detached kitchen at Shapwick House, Somerset from 1428; VA27, 96), threaded purlins and windbraces.  The first floor framing, which is original, has plain soffit tenons.  While there is a possibility that an open hall lay to the rear (as in an Oxford town house), it is perhaps as likely that the property was divided for two households. Notes compiled by Ric Tyler and Julian Munby.  (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 100)



OXFORD, Golden Cross  (SP  5136206245)

Felling dates: Summer 1532, Spring  1533, Winter 1534/5

Principal Rafter (5/5) 1532 1533; Queen Strut (2/2) 1534/4; Strut 1533; Collar (1/1) 1532; Collar (1/1); Rafter (0/1)   Site Master 1410-1532  CGOLDENx1 (t=6.56 BDLEIAN3; 5.49 ACTON; 5.1 ROMSEY)  Site Master 1425-1534  CGOLDENx2 (t=7.47 KNWESQ01; 6.79 SOMRST04; 6.71 CHSTLTN1)

Eleven timbers were sampled from the north range of the Golden Cross, an historic inn in Oxford. Four samples were combined to form the 123-ring site master GOLDENX1 that was dated as spanning AD 1410–1532 and five were combined to form the 110-ring site master GOLDENX2 that was dated as spanning the years AD 1425-1534. Sample gxo5 dated individually as spanning the years AD 1415-1531; the remaining sample did not date. Seven of the samples retained complete sapwood: one was felled in the spring of AD 1532, one in the summer of AD 1532, two in the spring of AD 1533, two in the summer of AD 1534 and the final one in the winter of AD 1534/5. Three samples without complete sapwood were found to have felling date ranges consistent with the precise felling dates.

The range of dates obtained from the samples would seem to suggest that timbers were stockpiled prior to use in the construction of the building shortly after the winter AD 1534/5, which provides us with a terminus post quem for the remarkable series of wall paintings surviving on the first floor of the building.    ( Worthington and Miles  2008, The Tree-Ring Dating of The Golden Cross, Oxford, Oxfordshire, VA 30, list 100)



OXFORD, Jesus College (SP 515 064), hall roof

Felling date: Spring 1618

Arch braces (1/2) 1617(34¼C); Arcade braces 1588(H/S), 1578(H/S), 1538; Arcade plates 1612(22), 1604(14+7C NM). Site Master 1390-1617 JESUS (t = 7.6 BDLEIAN3; 7.2 SOMRST04; 7.1 SHAW1).

The college was founded in 1571; the west range (including the hall) was not constructed until nearly half a century later. Although the hall roof suffered fire damage in the 1970s, sufficient timbers are still accessible to allow successful dating. It is of hammer-beam construction and has side posts, lower collars with moulded and curved braces and pendants, and upper collars also with curved braces. Turned balusters infill the area above the hammer beams. Roof types of this form are a throwback to the medieval period but are found in a number of Oxford colleges in the early seventeenth century, such as Wadham (1610-13) and Oriel (1637-42). In 1741 the hall was ceiled over with a coved and decorated plaster ceiling, and a fellows’ rooms created above the hammer beams.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 203)


OXFORD, Lincoln College Buttery  (SP 515 063)

Felling date: Winter 1436/7

Floor joists (5/9)  1411 (H/S); 1420 (H/S); 1436 (15C, 19C, 24C).  Site Master  1333-1436  LINCNOX1 (t=7.3 MASTERAL; 7.3 OXON93; 7.2 HALL)

The sequence of construction of the college buildings after the foundation in 1427 is uncertain, but John Forest, Dean of Wells, paid for completion of the college, which was described as fully built in June 1437 (V.C.H. Oxon III, 167).   This date for the buttery ceiling (in the NE corner of the front quadrangle) confirms that the hall range was under construction then.  The first-floor framing uses soffit-tenons with-diminished-haunches, the earliest dated occurrence in Oxford  (They are absent from College Farm in 1424 [above], but are used in a merchant’s house in Abingdon, 26 East St Helen's in 1429 (VA26, 64), and then in Oxford at All Souls College 1438-42 [building accounts].  These diminished haunches are thus contemporary with Hewett’s ‘spur tenons’ used in Wells and Lambeth in the 1430s (Hewett, C, 1908, English Historic Carpentry,  figs 296-8) but predate by almost a century their use in Cambridge. Dating carried for the Oxford Archaeological Unit on behalf of the Rector and Fellows of Lincoln College.  (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 100)


OXFORD, Magdalen College (SP 521 062)

a) West Cloister Range - primary phase

Felling datesSpring 1475, Winter 1475/6, Summer 1476, and Winter 1476/7

Principal rafters (10/11) 1476(27C), 1475(35½C, 21C), 1474(31½C, 26¼C, 31), 1459(h/s+15 NM), 1457(h/s), 1455(1), 1446(h/s); Arch brace 1445.

b) Alterations to President’s Lodgings in West Cloister Range south of Founder’s Tower

Felling date range: Spring 1482-1484

Door post to partition in roof 1462(27+20¼C±1 NM); Stud (0/1). Site Master 1321-1476 MAGDALN1 (t=10.6 MASTERAL; 10.5 OXON93; 9.4 SENG)

c) Reconstruction of West Cloister roof over Old Library north of Founder’s Tower

Felling dates: Winter 1822/3 and Winter 1824/5

Scissors braces 1822(19C, 20C), 1824(23C). Site Master: 1746-1824 MAGDALN5 (t=7.1 GIERTZ2; 6.3 WALES97; 6.2 THEHOVEL)

d) Carved chest in Chapel

Felling date range: 1326-1358

Back board 1321(4). Site Master: 1192-1321 mco29ii (t=6.0 WALES97; 5.6 STOKE2; 5.5 SALOP95)

e) Chest 3 in Muniment Tower (iron-clad)

Felling date range: After 1369, after 1375

Boards 1367, 1361, 1347, 1260.

f) Chest 4 in Muniment Tower (leather-clad)

Felling date range: 1426-1442

Boards 1423(h/s), 1416(h/s), 1415(h/s), 1412. Site Master 1080-1416 MAGDALN2 (t=14.3 REF4; 12.9 GAS-T10; 9.3 BALTIC1)

g) Winchester deed box (C) from Muniment Tower

Felling date range: 1463-1479

Lid 1404; Bottom 1382; Sides 1459(4), 1444. Site Master 1222-1494 MAGDALN3 (t=15.8 WNCHSTR1; 12.0 BALTIC1; 11.1 HULLBLDS)

h) Guton Hall deed box (D) from Muniment Tower

Felling date range: After 1464

Lid 1448; Bottom 1452; Sides 1456, 1403.

i) St Mary’s Oxford deed box (E) from Muniment Tower

Felling date range: 1495-1508

Bottom 1482(+6 NM); Sides 1494(10), 1490(6). Site Master 1320-1482 MAGDALN4 (t=8.8 BALTIC2, 7.9 REF2; 4.8 WNCHSTR1)

Although founded in 1458, Magdalen College initially utilised the remaining buildings from the hospital of St John the Baptist which itself was re-established on the site in 1231 (B. Durham (1991), ‘Hospital of St. John the Baptist at Oxford’, Oxoniensia, LVI, 17-75). It was not until 1474 that work commenced on the Great Quadrangle which on the west side included the Chapel and Muniment Tower, the original President’s Lodgings to the south and the Old Library to the north of the Founder’s Tower. Apart from the Chapel which was re-roofed by Wyatt in 1790, the rest of the west cloister range retains substantial amounts of early woodwork. This includes not only the structural timberwork of the floors and roofs, but also original fittings such as chests and deed boxes. A programme of dendrochronology has been drawn up with John Steane and the College to study this important collection of woodwork. Its first year included three main areas of research: The main roofs either side of the Founder’s Tower, the collection of early chests in the Muniment Tower and Chapel, and some of the wooden deed boxes in the Muniment Room cupboards. Previous limited dendrochronological work (1988) produced a terminus post quem of after 1475 for the Old Kitchen (VA 20, 47). The programme was commissioned by Fellow Librarian Dr Christine Ferdinand and Archivist Robin Darwall-Smith on behalf of the President and Fellows of Magdalen College. Roger Nathan assisted with the analysis and the writing of the report.

Samples taken from the roof timbers of the West Cloister range in the Great Quad (a) produced precise felling dates of spring 1475 through to summer 1476. There are a number of documentary references to stonework in this range. First is an indenture of 16th September 1475 for the making of the great west window of the Chapel as well as windows for Library. The stonework was still progressing on the 8th of January 1478/9 when an agreement was made to provide buttresses and battlements for the Chapel, Hall, Library, Muniment and Founder’s Towers, and the cloister chambers. Near the end of the work, another agreement was made on 17th April 1479 for a "vyse" to the Founder’s Tower with a spire over and for the pinnacles over the Hall, Chapel, and two towers (Magdalen Archives, Robin Darwall-Smith pers com). Thus, it would seem that both the roof and the stonework were being prefabricated during 1476, though probably not installed until a year or two later. A single door jamb (b), from an infilled partition over the present Fellows Smoking Room, produced a felling date of 1481/2, suggesting that parts of the roofs to the original President’s Lodgings were being floored over to make further habitable rooms within a few years of completion.

In 1824, the north cloister range was largely demolished and rebuilt, and the dendrochronology has shown that the roof over the Old Library was also reconstructed at this time (c), re-using the original principal rafters but inserting king posts and passing scissors-braces. This work was carried out by Joseph Parkinson.

Three chests were also examined. The largest and most elaborately decorated stands immediately outside the small chantry chapel at the north-east end of the Choir. This had been previously attributed to the seventeenth century (VCH, The City of Oxford 1939, 71), but dendrochronology (d) has here shown it to date from 1326-58, predating the foundation of the College by over a century. The tree-ring dating matched best with local chronologies, suggesting that it came from the original hospital of St. John.

The other two chests are in the archive room at the top of the Muniment Tower, and it is likely that they have resided there since the tower was constructed in the late 1470’s. Chest 3 is a large iron-bound chest reputed to have been William Waynflete’s ‘treasure’ chest (e). No sapwood rings were present on either of the two trees identified in the sides of the chest, however the last measured ring dates of 1361 and 1367 suggests a construction date of sometime after 1375, but not much later than 1400, as being most likely. Chest 4 is an even larger chest or trunk with a round-headed lid originally covered in leather (f). Some of the boards used in the construction of this chest had over 330 rings and some heartwood/sapwood boundaries, giving a felling date range of 1426-1442, and suggesting that this may have been one of Waynflete’s travelling trunks. Both of these latter chests were constructed of timber originating from the eastern Baltic region.

A number of deed boxes from cupboards within the Muniment Tower were selected on the clarity of the ring pattern, the presence of sapwood, similar morphologies and the ages indicated by the documents in the boxes. All of the timber used in the boxes originated from the Baltic. The Winchester deed box (C) contains 63 deeds dating from 1221-1556 concerning lands owned in Winchester by Selbourne Priory which was closed in 1484/5 and its property transferred to the College soon after. A heartwood/sapwood boundary on one panel (g) produced a felling date range of 1463-1479. Interestingly, this sequence matched spectacularly well with the painted panels from the Warden’s Lodging at Winchester College, dating only a generation later but clearly from the same eastern Baltic source (Miles, D H, 1995 ‘Analysis of Timberwork’ in E. Lewis ‘A Sixteenth Century Painted Ceiling from Winchester College’,Proceedings Hampshire Field Club Archaeol Soc 51, 142-6) (VA 27, list 72).

The Guton Hall deed box (D) contains 54 deeds which date from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries and relates to the manor of Guton Hall at Brandiston, Norfolk. This was part of the estate of Sir John Fastolf who died in 1459. Waynflete, negotiated for most of the lands to come to Magdalen College in 1483. As there was no sapwood (h), only a terminus post quem date of after 1464 could be given.

St Mary’s deed box (E) contains deeds dating from c.1190-1637 for with properties in the parish of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford. The Hospital of St. John was closed in 1457 by William Waynflete and became part of the college’s original endowment in 1458. Sapwood on two boards (i) produced a felling date range of 1495-1511, suggesting the box was constructed during a re-boxing programme for the deeds. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 107)



OXFORD, Magdalen College, Great Tower (SP 521 061)

Replacement beams Felling date: Winter 1629/30

Beams 1529(22C), 1625(17), 1614(10), 1613(9), 1608(h/s). Site Master 1473–1629 MAGDALN7 (t = 8.3 OXON93; 8.2 WHEATLY1; 8.0 BDLEIAN4).

A number of phases of the College have been dated, ranging from the roof over the JCR (Haddon-Reece, Miles, and Munby, 1989, VA 20, list 32), to the west cloister range and muniment tower (Miles and Worthington, 2000, VA 31, list 107). The Great Tower was begun on 9 August 1492, and appears to have been largely complete by 1505. In 1964–5 the internal beams were removed and replaced in steel. It was though that they had been destroyed, but seven sections of these great timbers were recently discovered stored at the Wytham Woods workshop of carver Michael Black. The dating of 1629/30 was not expected, revealing an entirely unknown date of replacement for the main timbers within the Tower. See L. W. B. Brockliss (ed.), 2008, Magdalen College Oxford — A History. Dating commissioned by the University and Magdalen College.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2009, VA 40, list 214)



OXFORD, Merton College (SP 5178 0605), Fellows’ Quadrangle

(a)     Primary construction phase         

Felling dates: Spring 1607; Summer 1607; Summer 1608; Spring 1609

(b)     Alterations to staircase F3          

Felling date: Spring 1694

(a) Principal rafters 1608(20¼C), 1607(11½C, 10½C); Purlins (2/3) 1608(31¼C), 1606(18½C); King strut 1606(23½C); Rafters (2/4) 1606(26¼C), 1604(10); Cellar axial beams (0/2); (b) Stair newel 1693(23¼C). Site Master 1442-1693 MERTON2 (t = 8.7 OWSTON2; 8.7 BDLEIAN3; 8.5 WHTOWER5)

The Fellows’ Quadrangle at Merton College is recorded as having been built between September 1608 and September 1610. It consists of three three-storey ranges around the quadrangle, the north side being occupied by the existing thirteenth-century hall and the Fitzjames Gateway of c.1500. The cellar ceiling has an axial beam jointed with bridled scarf joints. The roof trusses have no tiebeams, but instead have two collars, with a wide king-strut and two raking struts between them, and double purlins. The second-floor chambers appear to have been ceiled below the lower collar. A single timber from a cellar-stair newel in the south range was felled in the spring of 1694 indicating its insertion over 80 years after the construction of the range. Dating commissioned by English Heritage; D. Miles and M. Worthington, ‘The Tree-ring dating of the Fellows’ Quadrangle, Merton College, Oxford’, RDR 80/2006. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 191)


OXFORD, Magdalen College, Kitchen (SP 521 061)

Felling date ranges: After 1428, After 1475

Tiebeam 1462; Collar 1428 (11); Purlin (0/1).  Site Master 1368-1462 mck123a (t=5.9 OXON; 5.6 HALL; 4.2 EASTMID; 3.7 KENT88)

A thirteenth-century building of the Hospital of St. John was converted to use as the kitchen of Magdalen College, founded in 1457. Evidently the roof is a replacement, as had been previously suspected from its queen-strut construction, and from the fact that its bays are out of step with the earlier medieval window openings, Information from Brian Durham, Oxford Archaeological Unit. (Haddon-Reece, Miles, and Munby 1989, VA 20, list 32)

OXFORD, Magdalen College (SP 521 062)

a)       West Cloister Range - primary phase

Felling dates: Spring 1475, Winter 1475/6, Summer 1476, and Winter 1476/7

Principal rafters (10/11) 1476(27C), 1475(35½C, 21C), 1474(31½C, 26¼C, 31), 1459(h/s+15 NM), 1457(h/s), 1455(1), 1446(h/s); Arch brace 1445.

b)      Alterations to President’s Lodgings in West Cloister Range south of Founder’s Tower

Felling date range: Spring 1482-1484

Door post to partition  in roof 1462(27+20¼C±1 NM); Stud (0/1). Site Master  1321-1476  MAGDALN1 (t=10.6 MASTERAL; 10.5 OXON93; 9.4 SENG)

c)       Reconstruction of West Cloister roof over Old Library north of Founder’s Tower

Felling dates: Winter 1822/3 and Winter 1824/5

Scissors braces 1822(19C, 20C), 1824(23C).  Site Master: 1746-1824 MAGDALN5 (t=7.1 GIERTZ2; 6.3 WALES97; 6.2 THEHOVEL)

d)      Carved chest in Chapel

Felling date range: 1326-1358

Back board 1321(4). Site Master: 1192-1321 mco29ii (t=6.0 WALES97; 5.6 STOKE2; 5.5 SALOP95)

e)       Chest 3 in Muniment Tower (iron-clad)

Felling date range:  After 1369, after 1375

Boards 1367, 1361, 1347, 1260.

f)       Chest 4 in Muniment Tower (leather-clad)

Felling date range: 1426-1442

Boards 1423(h/s), 1416(h/s), 1415(h/s), 1412.  Site Master 1080-1416 MAGDALN2 (t=14.3 REF4; 12.9 GAS-T10; 9.3 BALTIC1)

g)       Winchester deed box (C) from Muniment Tower

Felling date range: 1463-1479

Lid 1404; Bottom 1382; Sides 1459(4), 1444.  Site Master 1222-1494 MAGDALN3 (t=15.8 WNCHSTR1; 12.0 BALTIC1; 11.1 HULLBLDS)

h)       Guton Hall deed box (D) from Muniment Tower

Felling date range: After 1464

Lid 1448; Bottom 1452; Sides 1456, 1403.

i)        St Mary’s Oxford deed box (E) from Muniment Tower

Felling date range: 1495-1508

Bottom 1482(+6 NM); Sides 1494(10), 1490(6).  Site Master 1320-1482 MAGDALN4 (t=8.8 BALTIC2, 7.9 REF2; 4.8 WNCHSTR1)

Although founded in 1458, Magdalen College initially utilised the remaining buildings from the hospital of St John the Baptist which itself was re-established on the site in 1231 (B. Durham (1991), ‘Hospital of St. John the Baptist at Oxford’, Oxoniensia, LVI, 17-75).  It  was not until 1474 that work commenced on the Great Quadrangle which on the west side included the Chapel and Muniment Tower, the original President’s Lodgings to the south and the Old Library to the north of the Founder’s Tower.  Apart from the Chapel which was re-roofed by Wyatt in 1790, the rest of the west cloister range retains substantial amounts of early woodwork.  This includes not only the structural timberwork of the floors and roofs, but also original fittings such as chests and deed boxes.  A programme of dendrochronology has been drawn up with John Steane and the College to study this important collection of woodwork.  Its first year included three main areas of research:  The main roofs either side of the Founder’s Tower, the collection of early chests in the Muniment Tower and Chapel, and some of the wooden deed boxes in the Muniment Room cupboards.  Previous limited dendrochronological work (1988) produced a terminus post quem of after 1475 for the Old Kitchen (VA 20, 47).  The programme was commissioned by Fellow Librarian Dr Christine Ferdinand and Archivist Robin Darwall-Smith on behalf of the President and Fellows of Magdalen College.  Roger Nathan assisted with the analysis and the writing of the report.

Samples taken from the roof timbers of the West Cloister range in the Great Quad (a) produced precise felling dates of spring 1475 through to summer 1476.  There are a number of documentary references to stonework in this range.  First is an indenture of 16th September 1475 for the making of the great west window of the Chapel as well as windows for Library.  The stonework was still progressing on the 8th of January 1478/9 when an agreement was made to provide buttresses and battlements for the Chapel, Hall, Library, Muniment and Founder’s Towers, and the cloister chambers.  Near the end of the work, another agreement was made on 17th April 1479 for a “vyse” to the Founder’s Tower with a spire over and for the pinnacles over the Hall, Chapel, and two towers (Magdalen Archives, Robin Darwall-Smith pers com).  Thus, it would seem that both the roof and the stonework were being prefabricated during 1476, though probably not installed until a year or two later.  A single door jamb (b), from an infilled partition over the present Fellows Smoking Room, produced a felling date of 1481/2, suggesting that parts of the roofs to the original President’s Lodgings were being floored over to make further habitable rooms within a few years of completion.

In 1824, the north cloister range was largely demolished and rebuilt, and the dendrochronology has shown that the roof over the Old Library was also reconstructed at this time (c), re-using the original principal rafters but inserting king posts and passing scissors-braces.  This work was carried out by Joseph Parkinson.

Three chests were also examined.  The largest and most elaborately decorated stands immediately outside the small chantry chapel at the north-east end of the Choir.  This had been previously attributed to the seventeenth century (VCH, The City of Oxford 1939, 71), but dendrochronology (d) has here shown it to date from 1326-58, predating the foundation of the College by over a century.  The tree-ring dating matched best with local chronologies, suggesting that it came from the original hospital of St. John.

The other two chests are in the archive room at the top of the Muniment Tower, and it is likely that they have resided there since the tower was constructed in the late 1470’s.  Chest 3 is a large iron-bound chest reputed to have been William Waynflete’s ‘treasure’ chest (e). No sapwood rings were present on either of the two trees identified in the sides of the chest, however the last measured ring dates of 1361 and 1367 suggests a construction date of sometime after 1375, but not much later than 1400, as being most likely.  Chest 4 is an even larger chest or trunk with a round-headed lid originally covered in leather (f). Some of the boards used in the construction of this chest had over 330 rings and some heartwood/sapwood boundaries, giving a felling date range of 1426-1442, and suggesting that this may have been one of Waynflete’s travelling trunks.  Both of these latter chests were constructed of timber originating from the eastern Baltic region.

A number of deed boxes from cupboards within the Muniment Tower were selected on the clarity of the ring pattern, the presence of sapwood, similar morphologies and the ages indicated by the documents in the boxes.  All of the timber used in the boxes originated from the Baltic.  The Winchester deed box (C) contains 63 deeds dating from 1221-1556 concerning lands owned in Winchester by Selbourne Priory which was closed in 1484/5 and its property transferred to the College soon after. A heartwood/sapwood boundary on one panel (g) produced a felling date range of 1463-1479.  Interestingly, this sequence matched spectacularly well with the painted panels from the Warden’s Lodging at Winchester College, dating only a generation later but clearly from the same eastern Baltic source (Miles, D H, 1995 ‘Analysis of Timberwork’ in E. Lewis ‘A Sixteenth Century Painted Ceiling from Winchester College’, Proceedings Hampshire Field Club Archaeol Soc 51, 142-6)  (VA 27, list 72).

The Guton Hall deed box (D) contains 54 deeds which date from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries and relates to the manor of Guton Hall at Brandiston, Norfolk.  This was part of the estate of Sir John Fastolf who died in 1459.  Waynflete, negotiated for most of the lands to come to Magdalen College in 1483.  As there was no sapwood (h), only a terminus post quem date of after 1464 could be given.

St Mary’s deed box (E) contains deeds dating from c.1190-1637 for with properties in the parish of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford.  The Hospital of St. John was closed in 1457 by William Waynflete and became part of the college’s original endowment in 1458.  Sapwood on two boards (i) produced a felling date range of 1495-1511, suggesting the box was constructed during a re-boxing programme for the deeds. (Miles and Worthington 2000, VA 31, list 107)



OXFORD, Bell Tower, New College (SP 5170 0647)

(a)     Structural timbers           

Felling dates: Summer 1394 and Spring 1397

(b)     Cloister door      

Felling date: After 1369

(a) Joists 1396(32¼C), 1393(19½C); Main ceiling beams (1/2) 1393(16½C); Wall post 1380(H/S); Plate 1368; Trimmer (0/1); Brace (0/1); (b) Door boards 13582; 1348, 1338(+23 heartwood rings not measured).  Site Master (a) 1276-1396 NWCOLLG1 (t= 9.9 OXON93; 9.7 SOMRST04; 8.8 LONDON); (b) 1086-1357 NWCOLLG2 (Baltic) (t = 10.2 MAGDALN2; 8.1 REF4; 8.1 WHTOWR2)

New College Bell Tower is built of roughly coursed Headington stone with Taynton stone dressings; it has four stages with embattled parapets and a projecting south-west stair turret totalling 106ft high. The floor frames consist of double longitudinal beams with wall-posts and brackets supporting lodged common joists.  The ground floor stage is accessed by a doorway in the south wall leading off the north walk of the cloister.  The door consists of two double-boarded leaves, the outer face of each having three-and-one-half vertical boards slightly more than 1” thick (29mm).  The boards average between 10” and 11” (250mm to 275mm) wide and no longer than 8’-9” (2.6m) long.

Extremely detailed building accounts survive in the College archives, running from 12th March to 20th December 1397; the timber came from Windsor Forest, while the boards for the doors were bought as ‘waynscot’ (from an English source according to the dendrochronology). (Tyler, R and Munby J, 1995  ‘The Bell Tower, New College, Oxford Archaeological Evaluation Part 2: Building Recording’, Oxford Archaeological Unit unpubl rep). The accounts detail the construction of the roof, the purchase of fittings such as doors and shutters, ironmongery, lead for the roof, and for hanging the bells; they suggest that the works much have been essentially completed by the end of 1397. It is likely that the tower was constructed over two or three years, and that the two main beams to the first floor ceiling (felled late summer 1394) were laid in place during 1395. Since the common floor joists are simply lodged on the two main longitudinal beams and the half-beams supported on corbels, these could have been installed in 1397, as the tower walls neared completion.   Dating commissioned by English Heritage; M. Worthington and D. Miles, ‘The Tree-Ring Dating of the Bell Tower and Cloister Door, New College, Oxford’, CfA report, 56/2006. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 179)



OXFORD, Radcliffe Camera (SP 5159 0634), Dome         

Felling dates: Winter 1740/41 and Spring 1741

Upper back principal rafters (2/3) 1740(15C, 14C); Upper principal rafter 1740(19C); Curved purlins (2/3) 1740(19C, 12¼C); Princess struts 1740(21C), 1737(11), 1732(8); Inner raking struts 1737(12), 1733(5), 1730(8); Octagonal king post (0/1). Site Master: 1660–1740 RADCLIFF (t = 10.6 HANTS02; 8.3 DRYING; 8.2 BARN)

The Radcliffe Camera, part of the Bodleian Library, was begun in 1737 to the designs of James Gibbs, which included a stone dome. Work on the lower part of the stone drum had begun but by February 1741 work was abandoned as the span was considered too ambitious. On 22nd March 1742 an agreement was signed to complete the dome, including the lead-work, by the 25th of March 1743.

This documentary evidence suggests a construction period of one year to frame and erect the dome, with the timberwork ready for the plumbers by the 1st of November 1742. If work did not commence until the end of March 1742, and was to be completed by the end of October of the same year, this allowed only seven months to frame and erect, an impressive achievement for such a complex structure, though one that is supported by the tree-ring evidence. The precise felling dates obtained are all in winter 1740/1, i.e. between October 1740 and April 1741, with the exception of a curved purlin felled a month or two later. The agreement also specifies that the structural oak timber should be well seasoned; however, as discussed in Miles, VA 37, 87-8, this was probably not achieved. See M. Worthington and D. Miles, The Radcliffe Camera, Oxford: Tree-ring Dating of the Timber Roof of the Dome, RDR 97/2007. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 191)


OXFORD, St Giles Church (SP 511 070), Chancel roof      

Felling date: Spring 1288

Soulaces (5/6) 1287(20¼C), 1269(H/S), 1268(H/S), 1268, 1264(+3NM to H/S); Ashlars (1/2) 1268 (H/S); Collar (0/1); Rafter (0/1). Site Master 1162-1287 STGILES1 (t = 6.5 LONDON; 6.2 STNSTJN1; 6.1 YORKFARM).

St Giles Church dates back to the twelfth century, with the west tower being added towards the end of that century, and the aisles extended. In the early thirteenth century the chancel was rebuilt along with the north and south aisles and the south porch. In the middle of the thirteenth century, the south chapel was added, and towards the end of the century the external walls of the chancel were rebuilt, along with the roof. This roof consists of 21 collar-rafter couples with ashlars and soulaces on double wallplates. All joints are mortice and tenon. Dating commissioned by St Giles PCC with a grant from the Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 191)


OXFORD, St John’s College, Black Hall, 21 St Giles (SP 512 067)         

(a)     Staircase            

Felling date: Spring 1674

(b)     Barn      

Felling date: Winter 1673/4

(a) Balusters 1673(26¼C, 28¼C); Newels (3/4) 1665(14), 1646(H/S), 1636. (b) Tiebeam 1673(17C); Principal rafters 1652(H/S), 1649(4), 1648(4). Site Masters (a) 1585-1673 BLACKHLL (t = 5.4 MASTERAL; 5.4 BRADNM1; 5.2 SARUM12; 5.1 SARUM13); (b) 1576-1673 STJBARN (t = 9.3 CLRNDNOX; 9.2 CORPUS; 8.8 STNSTJN4).

Black Hall and the adjacent barn on the east side of St Giles have previously been known as Queen Elizabeth House, and are now being incorporated in the Kendrew Quadrangle, part of St John’s College. The house is of three stories plus attics, with stone walls, and is thought to have been originally built in the early part of the seventeenth century. The open well staircase with turned balusters, close strings, and square newels was thought to have dated to the c. 1700 remodelling, but the tree-ring dating has shown that this feature dates to 1674. It is not clear whether the staircase was  inserted into an earlier house, or the building was constructed of many reused beams. The adjacent barn with queen-strut trusses was constructed at the same time. Dating commissioned by St John’s College. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 191)


ROTHERFIELD GREYS, Greys Court (SU 725 833)

(a)     Greys Court house, kitchen (south) range

Felling dates: Spring 1445; Summer 1450; Winter 1450/51

(b)     The Keep, primary construction  

Felling date: Summer 1559

(c)     Greys Court house, front range   

Felling date: Winter 1573/4

(d)     Cromwellian stables       

Felling date: Summer 1578

(e)     Well, or donkey wheel house, primary construction         

Felling dates: Winter 1584/5, Summer 1586; Winter 1586/7

(f)      The Keep, southern tower extension       

Felling dates: Spring 1587; Summer 1588

(g)     Well, or donkey wheel house, repair phase         

Felling date: Summer 1707

(a) Principal rafters 1450(18C), 1449(17); Queen struts 1449(22½C), 1432(h/s); Rafters 1450(18C), 1448(40), 1444(25½C); Purlin 1436(h/s). (b) Rafters (2/4) 1558(24½C, 29½C); Tiebeam 1545(2+10C NM). (c) Principal rafters 1573(30C), 1536, 1531; Rafter 1573(29C); Interrupted tie 1573(37C); Principal post 1553(8); Purlin (0/1). (d) Principal rafters 1577(31½C, 36½C); Purlin 1577(20½C). (e) Rafter 1586(18C); Principal rafter 1585(12½C); Tiebeam 1584(31C); Cross beams (1/2) 1564(h/s); Reused rafter 1558(27C). (f) Stud in smoke bay 1587(21½C), Door post 1586(27¼C), 1565(h/s). (g) Replacement rafter 1706(19½C). Site Masters (a) 1319-1450 GREYSCT1 (t = 10.9 BAYLINS1; 9.8 OXON93; 9.2 LONDON); (b-g) 1417-1587 GREYSCT2 (t = 14.5 SENG98; 13.6 MASTERAL; 13.5 HANTS02).

The National Trust has commissioned English Heritage to undertake an architectural investigation of Greys Court, an enigmatic fortified house in the Chiltern Hills. Owned by the Lovells for much of the fifteenth century, it passed in the early sixteenth to the Knollys family. The earliest part comprises three corner towers, part of a curtain wall and a large interval tower, ranging in date from the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries; but the absence of associated timbers excludes any possibility of dendrochronology. Instead, sampling has focused on the additions and alterations made by the Lovells and Knollys during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

The earliest of these (a) is timber-framed jettied wing with a close-studded elevation, now encapsulated within the house but originally facing the base court. It retains a single roof truss, with cambered tiebeam, collar and queen struts. A brick stack to the rear is accommodated by the timber-framing and is almost certainly original – a significant feature, given the date of the timber frame, which identifies the wing as an addition by the Lovells. The other samples relate to building by the Knollys family. On Elizabeth’s accession in 1558, Sir Francis Knollys returned to England from exile and commenced work on ‘The Keep’, a modest wing in the service courtyard of the medieval house with evidence for smoke-blackening in the roof (b). This probably served as a brewhouse, bakehouse or back kitchen. Later, he embarked on a more ambitious remodelling of the medieval upper court which entailed the construction of a large range of brick, flint and stone forming the present main frontage of the house (c). Felling dates of winter 1573/4 are significant in that Elizabethan progress records show that he entertained the Queen at Greys Court in 1574, so this range may have been built in anticipation of a visit. Next was the east wing of the main base court, the ‘Cromwellian Stables’, originally a lodging range (d). This has brick walls, hollow-chamfered stone window surrounds and tiebeam roof trusses with diminished principals and straight wind braces.

In or shortly after 1587 the well house (e) was constructed, with a contemporary donkey wheel – perhaps the largest surviving animal-powered water-drawing mechanism in England: a stunning piece of ‘vernacular engineering’, exemplifying the ingenuity of its time. A reused rafter in the well house dating from 1559 might have originated from the primary phase of the Keep, and this is supported by a 1587 date for the octagonal, south-west corner tower (f). This date is highly significant in that it discounts the established interpretation that this was a medieval tower defining the south-west quadrant of the fortified house. Instead it was built as an architectural device, enhancing the contrived symmetry of the south front by mirroring a medieval octagonal tower at the south-east corner of the house. The Keep was modified internally in 1588 with the construction of a smoke bay. Dating commissioned by the National Trust, description based on notes by Barry Jones of English Heritage. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 152)

ROTHERFIELD GREYS, Greys Court (SP 681 364)

(a) South (kitchen) range Felling date: Winter 1443/4

(b) South-west wing Felling date range: 1476–1508

(c) Western middle range Felling date: Winter 1573/4

(d) Front (east) range Felling dates: Winter 1573/4, Winter 1574/5, Summer 1575; Winter 1575/6 (e) South porch Felling date: Summer 1619

(f) Bow-fronted extension on north side of front (east) range Felling dates: Winter 1755/6, Winter 1756/7; Spring 1758

(g) North-west wing Felling dates: Winter 1756/7; Winter 1747/8; Winter 1758/9

(h) Raising of floor over corridor and south porch Felling dates: Winter 1757/8; 1758/9

(a) Post (1/2) 1423(H/S); Joists (1/3) 1432(h/s); Floor beams (2/3) 1424(h/s), 1443(12C). (b) Ceiling beam 1467(h/s); Joists (0/2). (c) Rafters (1/7) 1573(21C); Collars (1/2) 1545(h/s). (d) Joists (3/10) 1573(14C), 1548(h/s), 1574(17C); Ceiling beam 1550(h/s); Studs (2/3) 1571(36), 1555(14); Rafters (3/4) 1575(21C), 1574(25½C, 29C); Wallplate (0/1). (e) Joists 1589(h/s), 1618(25½C). (f) Joists 1737(h/s), 1756(17C), 1756(18C)2; Bridging joists 1750(8+7¼C NM, 14); Brace 1747(18+8NM); Posts 1751(13), 1732(1); Tiebeams 1752(18+6¼C NM), 1744)1); Queen struts 1755(C), 1753(12). (g) Purlins 1758(23C), 1757(22); Rafters 1756(19C), 1725(9+10NM), 1756(20C); Principal rafters 1756(12½C, 1740(h/s+14NM); Joist 1757(38C). (h) Joists (3/4) 1757(14C), 1758(23C), 1758(24C). Site Masters (a–e) 1315–1618 GREYSCTA (t = 14.8 S.ENGLAND, 14.2 HANTS02, 14.0 OXON93); (f–h) 1640–1758 GREYSCTB (t = 8.6 MEDMNHM2, 7.7 HENLEY2, 7.2 MDM15c).

An initial sixteen timbers were sampled in 2003 and reported in VA 35 (p. 99), establishing dates of 1450/1 for the staircase tower and 1573/4 for the front (east) range roof. Further samples taken in 2006, while the roof was opened up for repairs, and in 2007–8, when all the fl oors were taken up for asbestos removal, providing an excellent opportunity to access virtually all areas of this complex country house. The dating programme has shown that the kitchen range predated the adjoining staircase tower by few years, and more fi fteenth-century timbers, including a ceiling beam, were identifi ed in the south-west wing. The dating of the main east front range has been refi ned from 1573/4 to 1575–6. The middle western wing roof produced one precise felling date of winter 1573/4, suggesting that it too was probably part of the same building campaign, as is the attic fl oor structure. A porch on the south front was added about 40 years later. Samples from the bow-fronted northern extension of the east front range, the north-west wing, and the short linking roof between them, all date to the same phase, probably completed between 1759 and 1760. The passage behind the east front range was also raised about this time. The dating is highly signifi cant in that the apse-ended drawing room was part of this same phase of work, which would include the exceptionally fine rococo ceiling. This had previously been tentatively attributed to Thomas Roberts of Oxford. The present dating shows that the Greys Court alterations were carried out at precisely the same time as Roberts was completing a decorative scheme in the new library at Christ Church, employing many similar features; this strongly supports the involvement of Roberts at Greys Court. Dating commissioned by Gary Marshall on behalf of the National Trust. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2009, VA 40, list 214)

ROTHERFIELD GREYS, Lower Hernes (SU 741 827), primary phase

Felling dates: Winter 1566/7, Spring and Summer 1567

Mid-rails 1554(7), 1566(13C); Girding beam 1553(5); Tiebeam 1566(19½C); Ceiling beam 1566(29¼C). Site Master 1470-1566 LHERNES1 (t = 8.6 GREYSCT2; 8.3 SENG98; 8.3 HANTS02).

This timber-framed farmhouse has three bays and crosswing with brick-and-flint infill panels; though listed as a sixteenth-century hall house, the floors are original. The original two central bays, which have been dated,have a timber mullion window, an external brick stack and fireplaces on two floors, the upper one with a ‘Tudor’ timber bressumer with carved spandrels. The roof has queen-strut and clasped-purlin trusses and short, slightly curved wallbraces and windbraces. It was owned by Sir Francis Knollys of Greys Court and may represent one of the new farms he created at that time; interestingly its date coincides with the major building campaign of Sir Francis at the Court (1559-1588). Dating commissioned jointly by the owners, Henley Archaeological and Historical Group and the Victoria County History. Notes by Ruth Gibson.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 203)



STANDLAKE, Church Mill, The Old Bakery (SP 396 038), purlin reused as tiebeam

Felling date range: 1529-1556

Tiebeam 1528(13); Repair to tiebeam (0/1); Collar(0/1); Queen strut(0/1). Site Master 1463-1528 cms1 (t = 7.7 SOMRST04; 7.2 BREMORE1; 6.6 WIGBORO). In 1763 Edward Harris, baker, bought Church Mill and it is thought that he constructed the bakehouse, later extended as a stable. In 2005 the roof structure was replaced with a new oak frame. Although most of the timbers were of elm, unsuitable for tree-ring analysis, some earlier timbers were reused in the south-eastern gable end of the stable, including a purlin reused as a tiebeam. Dating commissioned by the owner.(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 203)
 

STANTON ST JOHN, Manor Farm (SP 577 095)

(a)     East Range

Felling dates: Spring 1303 and Spring 1305

(b)     Cross range joists

Felling date range: 1290-1322

(c)     West Range

Felling date range: 1299-1331

(a) Joists (3/4) 1302 (19¼C); 1304 (19¼C); 1286 (2); Lintel 1289 (H/S) (1298-1330). (b) First floor joists (2/3) 1252; 1281 (H/S). (c) Joists 1290 (H/S); 1292 (H/S); 1288 (H/S); 1289 (H/S). Site Master 1131-1304 STNSTJN1 (t=10.0 MASTERAL; 9.9  NORTH; 9.4 EASTMID)

(d)     Cross Range roof

Felling date: Summer 1475

Upper crucks 1474 (24½C); 1456 (3); Moulded floor beams; Lintel (0/3). Site Master 1379-1474 STNSTJN2 (t=6.3 REF3; 6.0 MASTERAL; 5.7 SOUTH)

(e)     First floor door W range, N elevation

Felling date range: 1583-1584

Door head 1582 (23+1-2C NM). Site Master 1503-1582 ssj76 (t=7.1 STNSTJN4; 6.9 WHTOWER5; 6.8 POLLICOT)

(f)      West Range Roof

Felling dates: Winter 1635/6 to Spring 1638

Purlins 1635 (27C); 1637 (24¼C); 1636 (27½C); Tiebeam 1624 (13+12NM); Principal rafter 1608 (H/S). Site Master 1533-1637 STNSTJN3 (t=10.4 STNSTJN4; 8.0 POLLICOT; 7.7 MASTERAL)

(g)     Stables

Felling dates: Summer 1646 to Spring 1647

Transverse beams 1646 (16C, 24C); 1641 (19) Joists 1646 (28C); 1646 (30¼C); Tiebeams 1646 (22C, 23C); Strut 1646 (25C);Principal rafters 1645 (32½C); 1646 (33C); Purlins (1/2) 1646 (18C); Windbrace 1646 (17C); Ex situ lintel 1605 (H/S) (1614-1646); Post within buttress (0/1)Site Master 1480-1646 STNSTJN4 (t=10.1 MASTERAL; 9.2 OXON93; 8.8 POLLICOT)

(h)     Barn

Felling dates: Winter 1647/8 and Spring 1648

Common Rafters 1647 (16¼C, 23¼C); Wind brace 1647 (17¼C); Purlin 1647 (1C). Site Master 1571-1647 STNSTJN6 (t=9.7 STNSTJN4; 9.2 MASTERAL; 9.1 OXON93)

(j)      Solid thatch cartshed

Felling dates: Winter 1800/01 and Spring 1801

Spars 1800 (19C); 1800 (22¼C). Site Master 1710-1800 ssj51 (t=8.7 ORIEL1; 8.2 MC19; 8.0 HANTS97)

(i)      Re-used timbers from cartshed

Felling dates: Winter 1348/9 and Winter 1349/50

Spars (4/5) 1348 (12C); 1349 (13C, 14C, 16C). Site Master 1284-1349 STNSTJN5 (t=5.7 KENT88; 5.6 OXON93; 5.5 BAYLLOLS)

Manor Farm is a complex of buildings spanning five hundred years.  The manor house itself comprises a central cross range attached at its north end to an east gatehouse range and at its south end to a small west range.  It occupies most of the north side of the manor farm yard, which presumably evolved from a medieval manorial enclosure.  Original doors and windows dating from the first phase of 1305 survive;  at this time the manor was held by John, 1st Lord St. John (d. 1316), a successful soldier in Edward I’s late 13th-century campaigns.  Dating commissioned by Dr Nigel Gilmour who contributed most of these notes.

(a) The east range was built as a gatehouse with a large chamber over a gateway and adjoining room.  The original chamber floor, dated to 1305, is carried on longitudinal spine beams jointed in the centre where they are supported by the stone cross-wall separating the gateway from the adjoining room.  Large sectioned joists with bare-faced soffit tenons are jointed into the centre beam and supported by half-beams along the outside walls. An exceptional feature is the evidence for a central open hearth on the timber floor, shown by a large deep charred depression where a burning ember must have fallen down a crack in the hearth.  Thus, even in 1305, heated first floor halls or solar chambers existed.  The roof to the chamber has been replaced with second-hand oak and pine timbers probably in the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries.  The ground floor was subsequently converted into a dining room and a kitchen in which part of an oak fireplace bressumer survives.

(b, d) The cross range consisted of a ground-floor room – possibly for storage – with a solar above.  Later, a loft floor was inserted and the solar floor rebuilt.  Its roof, dated 1475, is of two bays with a raised cruck central truss with arch-braces and a cambered collar.  The ground-floor ceiling is carried on a moulded transverse beam with matching half-beams, and may be contemporary with the roof.  Some joists are thirteenth-century and were probably re-used from the primary structure.  The ground-floor room was later panelled; this panelling has been separately studied by Ian Tyers.

(c, e-f) The west range may also have comprised a ground-floor storage room and small solar above.  The tree-ring date of 1299-1331 for the first floor joists shows that the range could be of the same primary 1305 phase as the east range.  A small square block attached to its north wall may have been a garderobe.  The roof to the west wing was replaced in 1638; it is of two bays with a tiebeam and collar truss with a pair of queen struts and clasped purlins.

(g) A stable block stands on the south side of the farmyard.  Both of its gable walls have been rebuilt and the stables appear to have been adapted from an earlier, longer, building which probably framed another gateway to the east.  The south and north walls appear medieval, built of a mixture of calcareous grit and coral rag, both extensively quarried locally.  The building is one-and-a-half-storeys, with a hay-loft floor awkwardly set four feet below the roof tiebeams.  The four-bay roof was constructed in 1647 for the present, shortened, building.  The roof uses straight inner principals, an early precursor to the curved inner principals commonly found in the region in the eighteenth century.  Some of the stonework shows evidence of burning which may be significant, given the proximity of the site to Oxford; the city was surrendered to Parliamentary troops in June 1646, when the process of rebuilding damaged buildings could begin.

(h) To the west of the yard is a barn which has now been partly converted for domestic use.  It is a traditional seven-bay structure built of the local calcareous grit ragstone with Wheatley limestone dressings.  It has a central opening without a porch and with a small doorway opposite, with vents in the other bays.  The roof trusses have tiebeams and collars with queen struts, princess struts and lower interrupted collars.  Two tiers of clasped purlins carry wind braces.  As with the stables, there are extensive areas of burnt internal stonework, and the felling dates of 1648 are consistent with the barn being ‘fired’ during the civil war and repaired shortly afterwards.

(i, j) The final element of the farmyard is the open-fronted cart shed built in 1801 of six large bays with a solid thatch roof. Typically, it stands next to the farm yard entrance, on the east side of the yard.  The three solid walls are of random-coursed coral rag with posts along the front.  The front posts support a wall plate picking up the tiebeams which were secured by deep trenched joints.   The joints between the posts and the plate are of mortice and tenon form, but un-pegged.  The tiebeams are further supported in mid-span by a centre row of posts.  Lodged between each laid, closely spaced timber spars span each bay.  Many of the spars were cleft oak, with some round-wood.  Tree-ring dating showed some of these spars to be re-used from a building of 1349. All the timbers are roughly cut, mostly waney edged, and predominantly of oak (with the exception of one elm tiebeam).  This structure formed a loose timber platform at eaves height on which a hipped solid-thatch roof was been built.  Its core was a roof-shaped mass of faggots, those at the top being blackthorn and the rest gorse.  Each faggot was a roughly five foot long bundle secured with a knotted hazel band.  Over this core, the roof had been thatched with successive coats of long straw and a recent coat of combed wheat reed.  Following the collapse of the roof in 1996, the barn was reconstructed as a more conventional roof on the original base. (Miles and Worthington 1998, VA 29, list 90)


STEVENTON, Priory Cottages (SU 465 474)

(a)     North-west range

Felling date: Winter 1443/4

First-floor girt 1443(15C); Door post (0/1); Tiebeam (0/1). Site Master 1337-1443 pcs12 (t = 6.9 eahc10; 6.4 REF3; 6.3 BURCLERE))

(b)     North linking range

Felling date: Winter 1462/3

Truncated tiebeam 1440(1); Wall plate 1462(16C). Site Master 1410-1462 pcs2 (t = 6.5 QUEEN2; 6.0 HANTS97; 5.9 GEORGIN2)

(c)     Alterations to north-west range

Felling date: Spring 1570/71

Oriel window head 1570(19¼C); Studs 1562(8), 1570(24¼C); Mid rail (0/1). Site Master 1476-1570 PRYCOTT1 (t = 8.4 WHTOWER5; 8.2 BDLEIAN4; 7.8 WHTOWER6)

Priory Cottages was the manor or priory house of Steventon, and was owned by Westminster Abbey from 1399 until the 19th century. The Abbey was responsible for all major repairs during this period, and extensive documentary material survives which includes even minor repairs. See Currie, op. cit., 181-95. The building comprises four ranges around a courtyard,: a hall on the south side, service ranges on the east, two phases of parlour ranges on the west, and a narrow linking range to the north. Repairs by the National Trust to the north-west block and adjoining north range allowed samples to be taken. The single date of 1443/4 from the north-west range is earlier than the presumed 1463 construction date suggested by the documents. However, the latter may relate to the north linking range which produced a 1462/3 felling date, considerably earlier than the previously assigned 1551 date. The north-west block should probably be identified as the ‘solar’ which was repaired in 1444-5. Detailed documentation exists for the 1463 work, including a ‘new chamber’, the whole costing £13 11s 5d. This included £6 to a carpenter for labour and timber, and 28s. 4d. for ‘lathing, slating and pinning’ the roof; 36s. was spent on stone slates, 20d. on clay ridge tiles, and 11s. on 10,000 lath nails, plus an additional 2s. 4d. for another 2,000 lath nails. These quantities are more than would have been required for the north linking range alone, so presumably the ‘new chamber’ lay to the east rather than to the west. It is hoped that future phases of dendrochronological investigation will reveal more of the chronological development of the complex, and further illuminate the documents. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 126)

STEVENTON, Priory Cottages (SU 465 474)

(a)        South-west range         

Felling date ranges: 1315-47; 1337-69

(b)        South range (hall)         

Felling dates: Winter 1461/2; Winter 1462/3

(a) Principal post 1311(5); Tiebeam 1328(h/s); Crown braces (0/2). (b) Collar 1461(26C); Studs (1/2) 1461(18C); Gallery joist 1462(20C); Principal post 1437; Hammer beam 1449(3); Moulded door jambs 1427(1), 1429(h/s); Principal rafter (0/1).  Site Masters  (a) 1182-1328 PRYCOTT2 (t= 7.8 HANTS02; 7.1 NORTH; 6.8 SHERFLD); (b) 1337-1462 PRYCOTT3 (t= 8.3 HANTS02; 8.1 GODBEGOT; 6.7 LONDON).

Dates for the north-west range, 1443/4 with alterations from 1570/71, and the north linking range, 1462/3, were reported in VA 33 (2002), List 126. However, through dating the south-west and the hall range it has become clear that the identification of Priory Cottages as the manor or priory house of Steventon is erroneous.

The earliest surviving part is the two-storied south-west wing. It has jowled crown posts, with down braces in the end truss and four up-braces on the open truss over a cranked tiebeam. Other features include large panels, lodged joists, and dragon ties. The hall has two bays with a short screens bay with gallery at the east end. The central truss has a false hammer beam with traceried spandrels, moulded posts, and raking curved struts above the collar. The other hall trusses are of tiebeam and collar construction with tapering principals. The roof has two tiers of chamfered butt purlins with four-centred wind braces. The moulded door jambs at the south end of the hall are contemporary with the hall. See also C. R. J. Currie, ‘Larger medieval houses in the Vale of White Horse’, Oxoniensia 57 (1992), 181-95. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 152)


SUTTON, Lower Farm, Duck End  (SP 420 062)

Felling dates: Spring 1424

Re-used purlins (2/3) 1423 (20¼C), 1421 (13); Re-used rafters (2/4) 1423 (20¼C, 21¼C). Site Master  1343-1423  DUCKEND1 (t=6.9 LONDON; 6.8 MASTERAL; 5.9 MANORFM)

The house at Lower Farm, Duck End, is an L-shaped structure which is thought to date mainly from the 17th century and reconstructed in 1726.  The roof timbers have recently been uncovered and are all found to have originated from a soot-blackened roof consisting of re-used purlins and rafters, and has here dated to 1424.  This may relate to an earlier phase of house on this site from which a hearth had been recorded by M A Aston in 1972.  The tree-ring dating commissioned by the owners Mr and Mrs Harding. (Miles and Worthington 2001, VA 32, list 116)


WANTAGE, 57 Grove Street (SU 922 989)

Felling dates: Winter 1448/9 and Spring 1449

Crucks 1448(17¼C), 1422; Timbers re-used as rails (1/2) 1448(25C); Stud (0/1); cruck spurs (0/2); inserted mantelbeam (0/1). Site Masters 1344-1448 wntg13 (t = 7.9 EAH-B; 7.8 CRUCKOX2; 5.2 MASTERAL); 1321-1448 wntg7 (t = 8.2 eahc10; 6.7 CANNHALL; 6.5 KIMPTON1).

This house retains two of a possible original three-bays. Two cruck trusses survive, at the north end and in the centre of the building.  The north truss appears to have been the original end with a half-hip with a type W apex, and the middle truss has a type V apex, although it is not clear if the middle truss was originally a truncated full cruck.  Smoke blackening on the north end crucks suggests that a smoke bay existed here before the insertion of a first floor. The roof was later reconstructed.  The south wall has also been reconstructed with many re-used timbers, one of which gave the same 1449 date as the north end crucks. Dating supported by the owners and OAHS. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 179)


WARDINGTON, Wardington Manor (SP 493 461), South-west wing

(a)     Fifteenth-century core    

Felling dates:  Summer 1430 and Summer 1446

(b)     Eighteenth-century alterations     

Felling date range (OxCal modelled):  1739-50 (unrefined 1739-58)

(a) Principal rafter over oak room 1429(7½C); ? re-used ?rafter 1445(19½C); Re-used timbers in chimney C4 (1/2) 1427(5); Windbraces (0/1); (b) Ceiling beams 1738(13), 1711(H/S), Unidentified timbers (1/4) 1714(1); Purlin 1648.  Site Master (a) 1347-1445 WRD-A (t= 8.3 BRUTON3; 7.9 TICKNHM1; 7.9 ORIGINAL); (b) 1547-1738 WRD-B (t = 11.6 CLARNDN1; 9.3 OXON93; 8.7 ORIEL1)

Wardington Manor is a substantial H-plan house constructed primary of local ironstone. Alterations were undertaken in 1665 by George Chamberlayne, and between 1905 and 1914 by Clough William-Ellis.  A fire during April 2004 destroyed about 90% of the roof structure of the south-west wing,  Dendrochronology on the salvaged timbers has identified at least two phases of construction, although sampling of in situ timbers might better interpret the dated timbers.  (Andy Miller, 2004  ‘Wardington Manor, Wardington: Examination of surviving elements of south west wing roof structure’, unpubl report by Oxford Archaeology for Lord Wardington). (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2006, VA 37, list 179)


WEST HANNEY, The Old Dower House (SU 406 928)

Felling dates: Winter 1517/18 and Spring 1518

Tiebeam 1511(12); Studs 1490(H/S), 1517(26C), 1517(32C); Collar 1489(4); Rafters 1517(19¼C2), 1517(17¼C). Site Master  1390-1517 WHANNEY (t = 10.1 HANTS02; 8.4 ARMYNAVY; 8.2 OVERTON2).

The present house consists of four contemporary bays, with a fifth bay added at the south end (unsampled). The original section appears always to have been ceiled, except for a smoke bay in the southern half of the fourth bay. This range was close-studded and the roof has a double row of side purlins, windbraces and a collar.  A gallery originally ran along the east side of the building at first floor level, accessed from the outside, lit by a continuous series of windows.  Both the internal and external walls are close-studded.  The roof trusses have tiebeams and collars with two sets of butt purlins with large chamfers and curved plank windbraces.  There is no ridge beam. Dating commissioned by the owner with a grant from the Oxford Architectural and Historical Society. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 36, list 168)


WHEATLEY, Rectory Farmhouse (SU 922 989)

Felling date: Spring 1630

Principal rafter (2/4) 1629(15¼C), 1603(H/S); Rafters (1/3) 1629(30¼C); Valley rafter (1603(H/S); Intermediate principal (0/1); Purlin(0/1); Landing joist (0/1). Site Master 1509-1629 WHEATLY1 (t = 8.7 OXON93; 8.4 NUFF; 8.4 CLARNDN1).

The two and a half storey Rectory Farmhouse is built of coursed squared local Wheatley stone with a plain clay-tiled roof and two brick chimney stacks with diagonal flues. The main range runs east to west with a three storey stair tower centrally placed on the north side. They appear to have been built at the same time and have ovolo stone mullion windows with label mouldings, and gable copings with obelisk finials on kneelers. The entrance to the house is to the west of the stair tower and opens into what appears to be a cross passage, formed as a tunnel through the base of the chimney stack, with the rear door opposite. A two storey dog-leg staircase with lantern finials and splat balusters rises to the second floor and a small winder spiral staircase continues up into the roof space. A fine moulded and carved twin archway allows access from the stairway to the first floor passage which itself is decorated with plaster scroll-work and a vine frieze. The roof was originally of cruciform plan. The main range roof consists of arch-braced principal trusses, forming four unequal bays, with an intermediate lower truss to the east of the stair tower. The common rafters are tenoned into two sets of butt purlins. Dating commissioned by the owners with a grant from the OAHS. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2007, VA 38, list 191)


YELFORD, Yelford Manor (SP 359 048)    

(a)     Hall range          

Felling date: Spring 1499

(b)     North cross wing

Felling date: Spring 1500

(a) Door post 1466; Principal posts 1472(h/s), 1498 (39¼C). (b) Corner post 1479(h/s); First-floor girt 1499(18¼C). Site Master 1370-1499 YELFORD (t = 7.7 MASTERAL; 7.7 BROOMHAM; 7.7 EASTBARN)

Yelford Manor is large, a timber-framed house originally consisting of a three-bay hall, a two-bay parlour wing and a three-bay service wing at the north. Both cross wings are jettied at the front and are close-studded. The hall has a cross passage in the lower bay with a tiebeam and collar truss, and a moulded arch-braced collar truss in the centre of the remaining two bays. All other trusses are tiebeam and collar trusses without struts. Two tiers of purlins are tenoned with substantial wind braces. Two similar felling dates from the hall and the north wing suggest that the whole was planned as a three-unit building from the outset. Dating commissioned by Mr Roger Rosewell. (Miles and Worthington 2002, VA 33, list 126)