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There are a great number of timber-frame buildings in Hungerford.
For some, the timber-frame is clearly visible, whilst for others, a brick or tile re-fronting, usually during Hungerford's prosperous coaching period, disguises and hides the frame from the outside.
Visible timber-framing can be seen at 1 High Street, which also demonstrates the changes made when a brick High Street frontage was added, perhaps in the early 19th century.
24 High Street shows some the best jettying in any timber-frame in Hungerford. The previous ironmonger's shop was restored in 1987.
Wilton House, 33 High Street, despite its brick frontage, gives away its identity as a timber-frame building because it has 6-bays on the ground floor, five-bays on the first floor, and four-bays on the second floor (and gables). Expert studies of its internal structure revealed a timber-frame dwelling which includes a 15th century open hall house, with many later extensions and additions.
One of John Brooks' drawings of the timber frame of Wilton House, showing the site of the 15th-16th century open hall, a reconstruction of the 16th century front bay, the 17th century malthouse, and the brick frontage of c1710.
Follow this link for more of John Brooks drawings of 33 High Street.
- 1 High Street, Jul 2012
- 24 High Street, showing its very fine jettying, Apr 2009
- Wilton House, 33 High Street, 2007
- 86 High Street (pink), Mar 2007
- 86 High Street - Conjectural reconstruction of timber construction by John Brooks, c1985
Dendro-dating timber-frame buildings:
It is now possible to discover the exact year in which the timber of a timber-framed building was felled. As felling normally took place shortly before the building was erected, dendro-dating can give a pretty accurate date for the construction of some buildings.
Dendro-dating of some buildings in Hungerford has been carried out by Tree-Ring Services (Dr Andy Moir) of Hungerford.
In Oct 2009 the timbers of 86 High Street were assessed for dendrochronological study. The project was a joint initiative between the owners (Clive and Dianne Wynell-Sutherland), the Hungerford Historical Association (under Chairman Lois Pihlens), and Andy Moir of Tree-Ring Services.
The result of the survey was of great interest, and two of the samples could be precisely dated to a felling date during the winter of 1448/49. It is likely that the two-bay house was erected in 1449. This is only 50 years after John of Gaunt died!
If you would be interested in having your timber-framed property assessed for tree-ring dating, please contact Andy Moir via the Tree-Ring Services website.
Estimating the age of timber-framed buildings:
The dating of timber-frame buildings can be estimated by studying a number of design features, including:
- Smoke control:
Open hall 1475-1550; Smoke bay 1550-1600; Chimney 1600-1700.
- Roof Structure:
Hipped 1450-1580; Half-hipped 1580-1600; Gabled 1600-1700
Crown post 1450-1500; Queen post 1500-1700
- External framing:
Down braces curved 1500-1600; Down braces straight 1600-1700
Large panels 1450-1570; Small panels (1m x 1m) 1570-1700
The above data is based on studies in Surrey, but gives a guiode to West Berkshire features.
Follow this link for a summary table of Typographic Dating of Timber-framed buildings.
Follow this link for the definitive paper on "Key Dating Features for Timber-Framed Dwellings in Surrey", 2013, by Rod Wild and Andy Moir.