Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ludlow, Shropshire


Dazzler

One of my readers asked me, in response to the previous post about a building in Buckinghamshire, whether I had any thoughts on regional variations in timber-framed buildings. Just a few, so I thought I'd do a group of posts about such structures in different parts of England.

One of the most rewarding places to look at this type of building is in the west Midlands and the counties that mark England's border with Wales. In this area Shropshire and Cheshire in particular stand out: one of the features of the local architecture here is a tendency towards highly ornate timberwork in which the frame is made up of many small square sections, themselves embellished with additional woodwork in the form of a multitude of diagonal braces, quatrefoils, small arches and the like. Carved bargeboards, brackets, and ornamental heads add to the effect on the most elaborate buildings. A town in which all these details can be seen is Ludlow, and perhaps the most magnificent timber-framed building in Ludlow is The Feathers, built in 1619 as a house for a Welsh lawyer, Rees Jones, and as dazzling a display of conspicuous wealth as you'll see on an English street. The building became an inn in about 1670.

This is high-status architecture. There are many buildings in this region with much plainer woodwork. But for rich merchants, lawyers, and landowners who wanted houses that stand out on a crowded street, Shropshire's carpenters had the skill to fit the bill.

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I've posted before about Shropshire's dazzling timberwork here and here.

13 comments:

Karin Corbin said...

There is a very real design connection between the elaborate decorative designs on the timber and the influence from the Spanish strap work designs (which was influenced from the Moors. These design motifs also showed on furniture. It also showed up in clothing as "black work" embroidery which was brought to England by Catherine of Aragon.
So half timber buildings suddenly became Tudor buildings during the time of Henry VIII due to fashion styles at court.

bazza said...

When I think of 'English Buildings' this is what comes to mind. Looking at the other posts that you linked to I wonder if it's even possible to build like that now? I doubt if the requisite skills exist. Fabulous!
Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

faye said...

this is really awesome!

c. n. opitz said...

Wow, that really looks like something out of a fairy tale! Are you sure it's timber and not gingerbread?

Philip Wilkinson said...

Karin: Thanks for that observation about the link to Spain. Fascinating.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Bazza: The skills are out there, and there are a few carpenters doing stunning work, but they are thin on the ground.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Faye and C. N. Opitz: thank you so much. It's extraordinary, isn't it?

acorn said...

The diamonds on the first floor seem to have carved heads in their centres (photo is a bit small to see the detail). Were these a standard mould or does each face have some significance? What was the purpose of having faces rather than some other form? It's a beautiful building.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Acorn: The heads are individually carved but I don;t know what the significance of each is. As far as I remember they don;t have symbol of attributes that might give us some idea.

Anonymous said...

from Chris Morley

The Ancient High House on Greengate Street in the centre of Stafford, Staffordshire, is said to be the largest surviving timber framed town house in England. Staffordshire is also in the West Midlands and is about 35 miles from Ludlow.

Stylistically both town houses are similar.
It is larger and slightly earlier than the Three Feathers in Ludlow, being 4 bays wide and 3 bays deep, and built in 1594.

Most of it is now a museum so much of the interior can be seen. Open from Tuesday to Saturday 10.00am - 4.00pm

http://www.flickr.com/photos/brianritchie/274923830/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_High_House

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

Its stunning and looks to still be an Inn. I wonder if you went inside?
julie

Philip Wilkinson said...

Julie: Yes: it's a hotel now, and has some lovely interiors - oak panelling, decorated plaster ceilings, etc.

Thud said...

It was your original post on Ludlow that started me off making gothic style barge boards and now I just can't stop...I blame you, in a nice way! i'm working on some gates with some nice detailing before starting a new build which will consist of a red sandstone bothy/cottage with as much detailing as the masons and I can manage so any posts on small scale Gothic houses would be appreciated.