Medieval Carpentry

For the largest collection of photographs of medieval Carpentry, head over to


Research Abstract

The main focus of this thesis is to establish the usefulness of a timber joint typology, produced by dendrochronology between AD1250 and 1530, in the dating of previously undated buildings, along with the recalibration of Cecil Hewett’s published typologies (Hewett 1980). This contention is addressed, in Hampshire, through the physical surveying of 95 properties, and through the recalibration of Hewett by surveying 9 of his case studies, from outside the county, to act as a control set. A primary aim is to explore the wider material culture surrounding the late-medieval carpenter, to address Richard Harris’s suggestion that timber-framing was a result of “cultural activities” and, therefore, “no building form or method of construction was ever determined by timber, stone, rainfall or sunshine” (Harris 1989, 1). When this is taken into consideration, it is clear to see that an understanding of the “cultural activities” that occurred between 1250 and 1530, needs to be investigated in order to understand the structures designed and built within that culture, for that culture. As the collation of published works regarding the “crisis” of the 14th century will show, the attitudes toward death of the survivors of famines, wars and the Black Death (1348-50) changed. Chapter 6 will give evidence for how the shifting cultural values shifted in the wake of the pandemic through its depiction in art, burial, church architecture and social-economic upheaval. Though the study of such is well represented in the literature, especially with regard to the Black Death, it is how carpentry was affected by these “cultural activities” within Hampshire that is ground breaking.

Because the research included the photographic survey of joints using a digital camera, and locations recorded via a Global Positioning System (GPS), a computer based methodology was applied. This also permitted the creation of a geo-database that also included original graphical information, regarding the various joint types, through the medium of three dimensional (3D) modelling. The result of which is both novel and cutting edge within the field of buildings archaeology and dendro-archaeology and inextricably linked with the expansion of this dataset in the future. This will be facilitated by enabling researchers in other areas to access, query and ultimately update the information contained within. Therefore ensuring longevity and promoting the significance of this pilot, regional study. This also means that now it is possible to emulate this research by accessing the database, rather than the structures themselves. This may not be an issue for those researchers living within the area, but for peers researching from another country, the placing of the information online is invaluable. Attention is therefore drawn throughout to the power of Information Communications Technologies (ICT), to illustrate how the ensuing data were managed and recorded.

The thesis, representing an unprecedented, systematic study of a near comprehensive corpus of scientifically dated structures in Hampshire between 1250 and 1530, is supported by references to printed primary sources and accompanied by an associated website The site was created to both support and disseminate the findings of this new research into joint typologies; together with engaging the wider community in interacting with a visual database, resulting from the unique photographic surveys. While the previous works of Cecil Hewett and Edward Roberts have greatly informed and inspired this research, the systematic recording of timber joints in Hampshire is unique to this project, and although regional in its scope, the novel methodology designed to record and collate the masses of data means the work can be expanded to incorporate other regional studies and ultimately inform a general examination of English Late-medieval carpentry in greater detail in the future.


I can provide a GPR free of charge if for academic research
clipped from

An Archaeologist’s Guide to Headache-free GPR

Developed in the 1970’s, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) uses radio waves to detect and map underground objects and soil/rock strata. In the last three decades archaeologists have made extensive use of the technology. It allows them to detect, map and analyze archaeological remains without putting a shovel into the ground.

How it works

The science behind GPR is complex and has been the source of plenty of headaches for archaeology students. A very basic explanation of the technology works like this:

The antenna of a GPR system shoots radio pulses into the ground. Each pulse travels through the ground as a wave.

Within the ground there are different layers of subsurface materials (soils, rocks and, hopefully, archaeological remains).

Every time this wave comes in contact with a new layer of soil or debris, the velocity of the wave changes. This causes some of the energy of the wave to “bounce” back as a reflected wave.

  blog it

Britains oldest timber bridge

The bridge has been dendro-dated to the 11th century AD
clipped from

Medieval timber bridge unearthed in gravel pit: Discovery of 11th-century remains shed light on development of English carpentry. David Keys reports

BRITAIN’S oldest large-scale example of sophisticated medieval wooden architecture has been discovered – buried 12ft deep in a gravel pit in Leicestershire.

Now, after four weeks digging, the substantial remains of a great medieval timber bridge have emerged. Dating work on the timbers – conducted by the University of Nottingham tree ring dating laboratory – show that the bridge was constructed in the late 11th century, at about the time of the Domesday Book.

About 25 per cent of the bridge’s timbers have survived, including Britain’s earliest known large-scale examples of sophisticated carpentry. The structure is 30 to 40 yards long, 10ft wide and was built using at least eight different types of lap and butt joints.

  blog it

Glossary of Church Architecture

a useful guide to what all those words mean in architecture
clipped from
Glossary of Church Architecture
Altar – the holiest part of a church. In the medieval period
the altar was a table or rectangular slab made of stone or marble,
often set upon a raised step. After the Reformation the stone altars
were replaced by wooden communion tables.

Ambulatory – a covered passage behind the altar, linking
it with chapels at the east end of the church.

Apse – the domed or vaulted east end of the church. In Britain
the apse is generally squared off, while on the continent, rounded
apses were common.

Baptistery – where the font was stored and baptisms were
performed, generally near the west door. Sometimes a screen or
grille separates the baptistery from the nave.

Bay – a vertical division, usually marked by vertical shafts
or supporting columns.

Bell Tower – a tower where the church bells were installed.
This could be separate from the church, or, more usually, attached.
Sometimes called a campanile.

Chancel – the eastern end of a church.
  blog it

beautiful Russian timber architecture

I can’t believe these buildings have just been left abandoned
clipped from

Russian wooden architecture 1

Some other masterpieces of Russian medieval wooden architecture were found abandoned.

Some of them look like they are just left – even some furniture stays on its places. The reason they are so undisturbed – it stays deep inside the Russian forests.

Russian wooden architecture 2
  blog it

keep you machine running clean!

clipped from

Clean your computer

Dust clogs the vents behind your computer, which causes your CPU to heat up—and heat is the biggest cause of component failure in computers. Regular cleaning could save you costly maintenance fees down the road.


You’ll need:

  • screwdriver

  • can of compressed air (available from computer dealers or office-supply stores)

  • cotton swabs (do not use a cotton ball)

  • rubbing alcohol

  • paper towels or anti-static cloths

  • water

Always turn your computer off before you begin and unplug all the cords.

  blog it