The OXON RECORDER. Issue 51 Summer The Newsletter of Oxfordshire Buildings Record

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1 The OXON RECORDER The Newsletter of Oxfordshire Buildings Record Issue 51 Summer 2012 Reminder of the contents of this issue, so you can come back later for more information. OBR visit to Dorchester-on-Thames A well-illustrated report OBR Annual Report & town walk, Deddington Report and AGM Minutes More Lost Buildings And a member s comment Membership Renewal Have you got a pink reminder? Ewelme Recording We ve started, more to come Recent Recording Street House, Long Wittenham & 84A St Aldates, Oxford. Brief outline of work in progress. Recording Walled Gardens An invitation to join in a neglected area of research. Demise of Abingdon Buildings Record But OBR welcomes some members. Launch Friends of Oxfordshire History Centre A new group will be forming. Book Collections. Available to OBR members. Heather Horner, newsletter editor The Silver Marching Band passes The George Hotel at Dorchester, during the St. George s Day parade. OBR members were examining the jettied and galleried courtyard inn as the band passed. Report overleaf. Photos: top, Sue Fielding, bottom, Russell Weston Top right: former OBR Chairman John Steane s drawing of the mid-15 th C crown-strut roof of The George, made during alterations in Oxfordshire Buildings Record 2012

2 Dorchester-on-Thames: a day s walkabout with architectural historians Malcolm Airs (town) and David Clark (Abbey). On Sunday 22 April, OBR took a trip to Dorchester-on-Thames. Our experienced guide, OBR member and long-time local resident Malcolm Airs made some general points before we started. There has been a northward migration of settlement over time, from the earliest settlement, the Iron Age fort on Wittenham Clumps, across the Thame - Thames confluence onto the river meadows protected by the massive man-made Dyke Hills during the late Iron Age, then the Roman town was yet further north, sited on the present allotments and stretching as far north as Northgate House on the present High St. The mediaeval planned town itself was originally sited even further north, around the Saxon Minster, (now the Abbey), with an adjacent market place, largely in-filled by 17 th C with building encroachment in the area now known as Rotten Row. Malcolm described Dorchester as an aspiring town, once with its own Bishopric, which never quite achieved its aspirations. The 17 th and 18 th C elaborate and fashionable refronting of timbered buildings has often preserved the original structure of the interior. The dates on such buildings indicate the date of the re-fronting, not the date of the original building behind, which could well be 15 th C. Our very first building demonstrated this with its brick and knapped flint coursing and date stone of Externally the giveaways are the projecting purlins on the gable end and the swept down roof over utilities on the rear; internally, the mediaeval timber frame is visible. In The White Hart the re-fronting of 1691 retained the timber frame but replaced the wattle and daub infill with brick-nogging. In some ways this was deleterious to the building, as the inert brick, unlike wattle and daub, didn t allow the wood to move, causing stresses within the fabric. It is also a very poor insulator, being only one brick thin. Early bricks show uneven firing and those nearest the fire are often more oxidised and glazed with wood ash. These gleam in the sun and rain as illustrated by 14 Rotten Row, also a refronted mediaeval house. Notice the care given to the patterning of the overburnt bricks. The refronting date of the building above can be gauged by the early 18 th C sash window with its thin glazing bars, showing the frame flush with the brickwork. After a series of disastrous fires in London, this type of flush frame was deemed a fire hazard, and in 1709 regulations were introduced requiring frames to be set back within the brickwork.. The right-hand window above also shows the simple rectangular mortis and tenon joint at the lower edge of the upper sash frame, which was weak point. Later joints show a horn in this position, strengthening the joint, and the frame is set back within the brickwork (photo left of No.3 High St.), which also 2 Oxfordshire Buildings Record 2012

3 illustrates nice use of decorative header bond and contrast red brick window surround. An early sash dating from the late 17 th C is shown above. The earliest glazing bars were thick and the curved frame is also typical of an early date. There were several mediaeval courtyard inns in Dorchester, all competing for custom from pilgrims to the Abbey shrines. The George is the best preserved, demonstrating a classic development in techniques of timber framing from 15 th to 17 th C. A nice detail in the woodwork is shown left:- an angled cut or scotch shows where the frame would have been supported by a wooden prop during construction. Galleried accommodation (modernised!) in the yard of The George was also evident, typified by an external staircase to the first floor where an open-sided gallery (which once extended all round the yard) allowed access to a series of individual rooms. Privacy and ventilation were thus available for travellers in these mediaeval motels (in Malcolm s apt phrase). (Photo: p1, lower) Accommodation for guests at the Abbey was also galleried, and now houses the Abbey museum and tea room, which we visited in the afternoon. The doorway to what was an external staircase is visible in the north wall and the interior where we had tea still contains the original gallery woodwork even down to the telltale early snap scar where the two saw cuts met just off-centre of the timber sawn from both ends over a trestle. Undoubtedly the finest surviving late mediaeval building in Dorchester is the three storeyed and double jettied Northgate House in the High St. It clearly shows its original date of 1610 with owner s initials; a relatively late date for a jettied timbered house. The woodwork shows much ornamentation and the fenestration was abundant with glazed oriel windows alternating with high level windows to give the appearance of an almost complete window frontage, a status statement by the owner. I was reminded of a similar statement by Bess of Hardwick in her fenestration of Hardwick Hall. In Northgate House the original oriel windows were replaced soon afterwards but there are tell tale marks in the woodwork indicating the former width of the window. The photo below shows its mouldings, carvings and high level windows. When Malcolm came to Dorchester as Conservation Officer tthese windows had been covered by laths (nail holes still visible), and the frontage rendered to show just the lower level windows. The owner had just obtained permission, with a grant, to remove the rendering and restore the original frontage. A self-confessed purist at the time, Malcolm objected, but admits he is glad his objection was over-ruled! 3 Oxfordshire Buildings Record 2012

4 This is the frontage today, with the reinstated fenestration. (photo: Russell Weston) Access was from The Bull next door, for which Northgate House was constructed as a lodging range. The larger windows would have projected and been wider as oriel windows, illustrated by the surviving oriel window in another building. This one has canted sides, though Northgate House had boxed rectangular sides. Although most that survives is 19 th C revival, cob walling in Dorchester can be seen in boundary walls and even in two buildings at the north end of the town, Cob Cottage and Orchard Cottage in Wittenham Lane. Orchard Cottage has a cob extension built as a non-conformist chapel. The whole building was later bought by the Anglican rector who sold it in 1911 with a covenant that the chapel was not to be used for religious purposes! The photo above shows Orchard Cottage with the chapel extension on the right. Cob walls need a hat and boots and if they lack these they will soon crumble from above or below. This one has boots but no hat and the result is clear, accelerated in this instance by the mining of a multitude of mason bees! There was much else explained and discussed, including the use of clunch (=hard chalk), poor quality as a building stone, often disguised as ashlar with pseudo pointing. But I have reached my allotted space and I have hardly even touched on David Clark s tour of the Abbey, with his revealing insights about barrow doors, (right, with member David Hughes for scale. Photo: H.Horner) necessary when building extensions without disturbing the current working building (i.e. the monks in the abbey) and collapsing chancels (look at that east window again!). We finished in the Abbey guest house with its mediaeval woodwork noted above, demolishing the generously provided home made scones and cake provided by the local ladies and washed down with large pots of tea. Altogether a most stimulating day led by two experts communicating their knowledge clearly. A John Piper exhibition in the Abbey rounded off our St. George s Day tour perfectly. David Fielding All photos Sue Fielding except where stated. 4 Oxfordshire Buildings Record 2012

5 Oxfordshire s lost buildings Chestnuts, a typical early 20 th C prefabricated settlers bungalow at Carterton, demolished photo Simon Townley c1997 Tyndale Villa, Carterton, early 20 th C, now demolished. photo Simon Townley c1997 Here are a couple more lost Carterton buildings from Simon Townley s collection, Chestnuts is probably a kit form bungalow, as outlined by Michael Oocock(see right), but Tyndale Villa was in a different league, and had a certain panache. We are sorry to hear they are gone. We have not had many offers of photos of lost buildings for the web site; keep it in mind when trawling your archives. To include your photos, please send them with a caption and full details (including location, date taken, and approximate date of demolition) to Our cover feature in Issue 50 on Carterton Settlers bungalows prompted this response from member Michael Ocock. Similar buildings to the early settlers bungalows illustrated in the last issue are described in detail and with plans in How to Build or Buy a Country Cottage and fit it up by Home Counties, with an introduction by Henry Norman M.P., published by William Heinmann, London Firms such as Boulton & Paul of Norwich and The Wire Wove Roofing Co., Queen Victoria Street, London EC, capitalised on the desire of the new middle classes for cottages in the country on the cheap. Designs for economic wooden and metal-framed bungalows were published by architects and manufacturers who lobbied for exemption of the buildings from the operation of stringent Public Health by-laws. Many were fire traps and their passing is to be welcomed. Developers also took advantage of the fashion and often sold inaccessible plots of land far from roads and services and on which building was almost impossible; a problem only solved in the 1970s when the unclaimed plots were acquired by the Government and made available for new housing. Michael Ocock, Ambrosden Recent Recording has got squeezed out again. We recorded Street House in Long Wittenham, which turned out to be two houses of similar 17 th C date but separate build. Our biggest recording ever the deconstruction from 20 th C to 17 th C of 84A St Aldates in Oxford is reaching its climax; scaffolding is going up as I write, and the timber frame should be finally skinned of its 30-year coating of plywood and plastic sheeting, ready for dismantling, repair, and reinstatement. A report is in preparation. H.Horner Left: the charming alms houses of 1820s Deddington Walkabout Saturday 12 May 2012 Just room to report on our visit toward the north of the county for our (brief) Annual General Meeting, lunch, and a guided tour of Deddington, led by local resident Dr Chris Day. The ironstone belt creates a strong building tradition of its own, warm colours and strong lines softened with thatch. A planned medieval town on a cross roads, a large market place and regular animal fairs meant prosperity for several centuries, but eventually the rise of Banbury and changing transport systems eclipsed the town, leaving a legacy of buildings representing trade and farming. I loved 5 Oxfordshire Buildings Record 2012

6 the atmosphere of making the most of what you have, which for me includes true vernacular building as well as a thriving social life. Worth another visit! Formal report of our AGM below. H.Horner Oxfordshire Buildings Record TWELFTH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Minutes of the twelfth Annual General Meeting of the Oxfordshire Buildings Record held on Saturday 12 May 2012 at 11.30am at the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Deddington. The Chairman, Paul Clark, was in the chair. The following members were present: Vic Allison, Louise Armstrong, Ann & Damian Atkinson, Frank Casey, Mark Casson, David Clark, Paul & Janet Clark, Barbara Creed, David Fielding, Mary Finch, John & Sue Hine, Heather Horner, David Hughes, Claire Jeffery, Melody Mobus, Helena Nielsen, Susan Rose, Sally Stradling, John Steane, Donna Thynne, Russell Weston, Martin Whitworth. 1. Apologies for absence had been received from Tim Peacock, Keith Randall and Simon Townley. 2. Minutes of the eleventh AGM on 14 May Adoption was proposed by H Horner, seconded by D Hughes, and they were subsequently signed by the Chairman. 3. Matters arising. There were no matters arising from the minutes 4. Treasurer's Report and Accounts for the year The Treasurer, Ann Atkinson, tabled copies of the audited accounts for The excess of payments over receipts had been There had been additional costs during the year for the OBR banner and for re-printing 4000 leaflets. While current expenditure was somewhat more than subscription income, donations and gift aid refunds provided invaluable additional funding. The bank balances at the year end totalled She thanked members for their donations, the Oxford Preservation Trust for their support for the newsletter, and Brian Tonkin for auditing the accounts. J. Steane proposed, and J. Hine seconded a motion to accept the accounts. This was carried nem con. 5. Secretary's Report: The Secretary reported that the first months of 2011 were dominated by recording work in preparation for the VAG conference in April This event went off very well and had established the credentials of the OBR in the wider community of architectural historians working on vernacular buildings. A major group recording day was held at Enstone where the buildings and mill equipment at Mill Farm were recorded with the help of SBAB mills section members. During the year a number of members responded to the offer from Sally Stradling to have training with her on some of her professional jobs this has so far been successful. The annual presentation day was held at Steventon in November, with a walk through the village. There was a full programme of presentations of OBR work during the year, supplemented by talks from Nat Alcock and Chris Currie on some aspects of the major documentary project on the village carried out over the previous two years. Thanks were expressed to Barbara Creed for the design of the new membership leaflet which has proved popular and for producing the OBR banner. She has also continued to develop the website. The newsletter under Heather s management had maintained its high standard as a key means of communication between members. The secretary is looking to pass over a number of the secretary s tasks to other members and would welcome help with archiving and recording. Ann has agreed to manage the committee meeting agendas and minutes. 6. Membership Secretary s Report: Paul reported that there were now 210 members, including 6 corporate. 18 new members had been recruited in the year, but 11 had lapsed. 189 were paid up. 7. Events Secretary s Report: David Hughes reported that two excursions were held in 2011, to Whitchurch Silk Mill and Whitchurch village and Wheatley Windmill and Rectory. They were both well attended and enjoyed by all. David also mentioned the proposed tour to Italy in October. Ann reminded members about the excursions to Gloucester in June and to Hook Norton in September. 8. Newsletter Editor s Report: The usual four issues of The Oxon Recorder were produced. Heather extended thanks to all the contributors and encouraged members to continue to send in reports, photographs and notes. Heather still sets out the newsletter as a WORD document and has been trying with no success to use Microsoft Publisher; she requests help from any member with experience in Microsoft Publisher with setting up a template. She thanked The Oxford Preservation Trust, particularly Eluned Hallas for reproduction of the newsletter at no charge and her husband Keith Chandler for his assistance. 9. Election of Officers and Committee: Nominations were received for Chairman, Paul Clark: Secretary, David Clark: Treasurer, Ann Atkinson. Their election was proposed by V Allison and seconded by S Hine. The following agreed to stand for election to the committee, all have been proposed and seconded; Vic Allison, Barbara Creed (Webmaster), Heather Horner (Newsletter Editor), David Hughes, Claire Jeffrey, Tim Peacock, Martin Whitworth and Simon Townley. There being no further nominations, D Thynne proposed and L Armstrong seconded a motion that they be elected en bloc. This was agreed nem con. 10. Election of Auditor. Brian Tonkin was proposed by D Clark and seconded by H Horner. There being no other nomination, he was declared duly elected. 11. Any other business: Notice was given of future events and of on-going recording work at Ewelme and 84A St Aldates, Oxford. Sally Stradling said that the Oxfordshire Gardens Trust had received a lottery grant towards recording Oxfordshire s hidden historic gardens. Helpers were needed for work starting in the summer as well as a paid position as Project Manager. The meeting closed at pm with a vote of thanks to the Chair. Ann Atkinson, Admin. Secretary, 14 May Oxfordshire Buildings Record 2012

7 Welcome to Abingdon Buildings Record members. At a recent Extraordinary General Meeting, our sister organisation Abingdon Buildings Record formally disbanded, and agreed that membership be merged with OBR. Quite a few already hold welcome ABR members to OBR, and hope you will find our newsletter and activities of interest. We will continue to encourage and support recording of the unique buildings in the historic town of Abingdon. dual membership, but we take this opportunity to Paul Clark, Chairman Recording Walled Gardens & associated buildings Oxfordshire Gardens Trust is recruiting volunteers for a Heritage Lottery funded 2 year project recording and researching the history of Oxfordshire historic walled gardens. Full training in researching, surveying and recording is offered, so no previous experience required, just an interest in this often neglected aspect of buildings and landscape history. There will be a Oxford, on 12 July, 4 8pm, where you can meet the team and find out more, the coordinator, Sarah Cotter Craig tel. no to let her know you are coming. Or if this newsletter arrives too late, for more details contact Sarah. There is a volunteer job description that can be ed or posted to you (no commitment), or check out the website at launch party at Kellogg College, Banbury Road, Do you still want a paper copy of The Oxon Recorder? At OBR AGM on 12 May 2012, a question was asked about electronic versions of The Oxon Recorder. Each issue (in full colour) is uploaded to the members section on our website, sometimes even before the hard copies have been posted. If this is your preferred way to receive our newsletter, please the membership secretary Paul Clark We will edition is available. We will then also use to remind you about membership renewal, and remove you from our postal list. Or do you want back copies of The Oxon Recorder? OBR member Marabel Hadfield finds she has spare back copies of Issues Contact her at 122 New Road, Woodstock, OX20 1PD. send you an to notify you as soon as a new inventories) frequently contain detailed architectural information. The extensive map collections, including tithe and estate maps, can be crucial in clarifying both a building s evolution and its ownership and occupation, while the Centre s historic photographs only a fraction of which are currently available online record huge numbers of vanished or heavily altered buildings. More general sources such as land taxes help to trace ownership over time, and census enumerators books can be electronically searched at the Centre. Last but not least, the Centre is curating the OBR s own archives. The aim of setting up a Friends group is to make all these resources more widely and easily available, and to improve conditions for researchers. A FOXHIST website will go live shortly but meanwhile, put 29 September in your diary and go along to find out more. Friends of Oxfordshire History Centre (and Buildings!) Any OBR members who have researched a building s history will be familiar with the Oxfordshire History Centre (OHC) in St Luke s Church at Cowley, home of the combined Oxfordshire Record Office and Oxfordshire Studies. Ever short of much-needed funds, the Centre is setting up a new Friends group (Friends of Oxfordshire History Centre or FOXHIST), which will be launched at OHC on Saturday 29 September. Details of the day are still under discussion, but it promises to be a fun and interesting event in aid of a very good cause. For anyone unfamiliar with OHC, it houses some of the most varied and important archive collections for Oxfordshire local history, including its buildings. A significant number of collections include architects drawings and plans, while deeds and probate material (especially probate 7 Oxfordshire Buildings Record 2012

8 Book Collections available to OBR members Geoffrey Morgan, Librarian for Architecture at Oxford Brookes University, Headington campus, writes to inform us that he holds two special collections, both open to OBR members at no charge. The first one is the Oxford Society of Architects: details of the collection as well as the holdings list can be seen on the following webpage: The second is the Paul Oliver Vernacular Architecture Library: html. The general enquiry site is [These sites will be going on our website as links.] Most of the books are available on the open shelves, but to be sure you can see a particular book it would be advisable to contact Geoff in advance to confirm opening hours, etc. osa.html. or tel Ewelme Building Recording: Saturday 28 April 2012 Despite very wet conditions, there was a good turnout of OBR members and Ewelme residents for the first of our recording days in connection with the Victoria County History's work in the village. Four teams set out to different areas in the morning, and after a debriefing at lunchtime in the well-equipped Watercress Centre, groups divided further for the afternoon. A great deal of information has been accumulated, which will be Members may be interested to hear that Shire Books have published a 1789 street map of Oxford: _ Barbara Creed processed before further recording days are arranged. These are more likely to concentrate on particular buildings, although there could be a similar 'mass recording' exercise in a neighbouring village at some point. Thanks to everyone who took part: we have your contact details, but more volunteers are always welcome, no previous experience necessary. Contact: Simon Townley, VCH Oxfordshire Membership Renewal Reminders for 2012 If you have a pink form enclosed with this newsletter, we would like you to send us a cheque, or better still, a banker s order. If you have no pink reminder, thank you, we will collect your subscription from your bank. FORTHCOMING EVENTS OBR events Recording Day(s) at Ewelme Will continue when first results analysed, training available, suit beginners. Still time to get your name on the contact list. Simon Townley. Saturday 6 October 2012 OBR trip to Hook Norton, tour of brewery and hopefully guided tour of town We will details in good time, or telephone Ann Atkinson to get your name on the list. OBR Presentations Day in November Venue & date to be confirmed Details in Issue 52. Other organisations Saturday 29 September Launch of Friends of Oxfordshire History Centre. Details from website OUDCE weekend and weekly courses. All open to the public. Oxford University Department of Continuing Education, Rewley House, Wellington Street, Oxford. Information and booking or Thursday evenings 10 weeks from January 2013 Medieval Rural Houses Tutor: David Clark, at Rewley House Tuesday evenings 10 weeks from April 2013 Talking Houses: An Introduction to Vernacular Architecture. Tutor: Paul Clark, at Ewart House. Friday evening Sunday lunch September 2012 Medieval Communal Life and its Buildings Weekend school in conjunction with Vernacular Architecture Group (open to all) (Several other 10-week and weekend courses could be of interest to OBR members, e.g. churches, gardens, interiors. See brochures) Copy date and contacts Copy date for Issue 52 is 1 September Please send articles, information, letters, reviews, etc. to the editor, Heather Horner, at Windrush Cottage, Station Road, South Leigh, Oxon. OX29 6XN, telephone , The Secretary is David Clark, 21 Walton Street, Oxford OX1 2HQ, telephone , or Our website is at where all the illustrations are in full colour! The OBR are extremely grateful to The Oxford Preservation Trust for their generosity in supporting the production of The Oxon Recorder and to Awards for All in supporting our work to record the built heritage of Oxfordshire. 8 Oxfordshire Buildings Record 2012