Architectural Detail

1-3 Crabtree Lane


The cottage comprises of 2 bays with 19th Century additions to the north, east and south. It is mainly  two storey. The exterior is rendered under a slate roof and a single brick chimney stack is located externally on the former north gable wall although is now enclosed by a 19th Century single storey  lean to addition.

Internally there are a large number of exposed timbers which show the development of this building. The most noticeable feature is the raised roof which is clearly visible in the first floor rooms.

Original trusses showing roof position north gable

 Original roof line in centre truss

The original building would therefore have been single storey. The ground floor ceiling beams appear to have been inserted to both bays with the chamfered central ceiling beams supported on new timbers and joists supported on the former wall plate or on a supplementary plate. This suggests a non domestic use which may have been associated with the adjacent cottage, Stoneyards which the 19th Century mapping indicates.

Inserted central ceiling beam with lambs tongue stop end

There are some circular holes in some of the wall timbers which will have been for fittings such as shelving, cupboards, panelling or for agricultural buildings; mangers, equipment storage etc. These are similar to those seen in several other houses and barns. There are also a number of carpenters markings.


Holes for fittings     


Carpenters marks

 Some of the walls retain a wattle and daub infill. An exposed area shows an unusual open diagonal weaving of the withies rather than closely woven withies which is the most usual form. This would have required less timber.  The exposed area is situated on the west wall with the wall plate above displaying a number of holes and slots which do not correspond to the timbers in situ. Either the wall plate has been reused or this is where an alteration has been carried out in an apparently lower cost fashion. However, a small section of the original gable wall which is visible in the roof space is also constructed in a similar way.  This is another indication that this building was originally a barn where a cheaper method of infill was used. Timber cladding which was traditionally used on barns in the area may have become more expensive.

This exposed wattle and daub is also adjacent to a small area of wall which has been constructed in clunch for which its purpose is unclear. This may have been part of a fireplace, oven, or associated with activities such as brewing, metalwork etc. There was a chimney on the outside of this gable visible in photographs from the 1940’s but it has been entirely removed. All traces of the fireplace at ground floor level are gone as this wall is now open plan into the side addition.

Diagonal lattice wattle and daub panel with redundant holes for hazel staves

 Clunch in western wall

 The fireplace on the gable wall was constructed externally in 9” brick and is a later addition.

The roof appears to have been raised in the 18th century with the timbers of small scantling typical of this period with their long straight diagonal braces. There is an edge halved scarf joint to the raised eastern wall plate.

     Timbers of light scantling and straight bracing

      Edge halved scarf joint

At least two tear drop burn marks have been deliberately made to the Northern gable truss on the collar of the original truss. Further burn marks are present around the doorway to the central truss between the two rooms. These tear drop burn marks are witch marks made when superstition was rife in the late 17th/early 18th Century and may indicate when the building had become a dwelling although barns could be “protected” from evil as well. Typically these marks are present close to doorways, windows, fireplaces or any opening where evil could enter or move through the building. Burn marks were used as a protection against fire which with open fireplaces, thatched roofs and open cooking pots, was a constant risk. The mark on the northern gable could indicate that the staircase was in this area (prevent evil from entering the upper rooms from the staircase) or to ward off fire from the adjacent chimney although it is not clear if one was present at this time.

Teardrop burn marks


This appears to be another building which has had a change of use due to its timber frame construction which was universal for domestic and non-domestic buildings. It shows just how easy it was to adapt these buildings over time.

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