halesworth

A history of Halesworth, Suffolk, UK, through the ages.

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Volume 1



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The Cruck Cottage

The poorer villagers lived in huts which we would now think very rough. But some cottages which were built for the more wealthy men have survived to this day. One which was in use in the 13th & 14th centuries was known as a 'cruck' type of building, as it was supported by sets of crucks. These were two inclined timbers called 'blades' which rise in a curved shape to the roof ridge. These timbers were cut from trees which had a natural curve, or from the trunk of one tree split in two along its length, to ensure that the joiner obtained a matching pair of blades.

The two crucks were set up and supported until the 'ridge beam' and the 'wall plates' were joined to them. Then the framework of the house was further reinforced using 'studs' to support the wallplates, 'tie-beams' to link the two outer wall together, and the 'common rafters' which with the 'purlins' held up the thatched roof. The open spaces between the wall posts and the doors and windows were filled in with a kind of walling called 'wattle and daub' in which the gap is first filled with interwoven hazel twigs. This was then plastered with a rough kind of plaster made up from mud, clay, manure and straw. Then it was smoothly finished off with a finer plaster.


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