Standing the test of time

17th August 2017  |  12:00am

Standing the test of time

Every now and then a surveyor comes across an architectural feature which probably contravenes every known principle of building construction. This happened to me in April 2017.

 

It is a beautifully preserved and exposed timber "cruck" frame, one of three  inside a  Grade 2 Listed cottage in a Leicestershire village. It dates from about 1600.

 

A cruck or "crook" frame is a curved timber, one of a pair leaning inwards, which support the roof of a building. These timbers are then generally secured by a horizontal beam which then forms an "A" shape. They are often pegged at the top. Several of these crook frames are constructed on the ground before being lifted into position to form the general shape around which the building is constructed.

 

Although this is in a cottage, crooks were generally used in the Medieval period for structures such as large tithe barns.

 

Sometimes even a grumpy old surveyor has to just stand back and marvel at the ingenuity of local trades people from those times before mechanisation existed. No power saws or nail guns. I wonder if those people ever imagined their work would be admired 400 years into the future?