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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.

Photo Gallery:

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- 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
Jettying 1475-1600

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.

See also:

- 1 High Street

- 24 High Street

- 33 High Street

- More of John Brooks of 33 High Street

- 86 High Street

- Estimating the age of old trees