Museum News

Saxon building update 4: wattle and daub

By 13 July 2016January 26th, 2021No Comments

Much of the work and excitement in the last few weeks has been around the ‘Raising of the Frame’ of our medieval house from Sole Street. However, work on the Saxon building has continued at a steady pace over the winter and spring.

First the wattling of the walls took place with material that came from our immediate local area. Rosie Rendell, a Saxon building summer 16c smallcoppice worker and craftsperson, provided hazel which was used for the sails (uprights) and horizontal wattle.

The picture to the right shows the design with double sails. All the wattle is the same thickness, more or less, although we know that in some Saxon buildings material may have been more varied, depending on what was available.

After some discussion and testing, the wattling of the lower and then higher sections of the building all took place in situ. Treenails are used to secure the hazel to the frame and this was done quite soon to ensure the woven structure did not dry and subsequently move away from the frame.

Saxon builidng summer 16b smallThen to the daubing. Joe Thompson, Museum Carpenter-in-Residence, and his team used their experience of other buildings here and have tested four slightly different daub mixtures.

Ironically they were applying the daub test panels during one of the short hot periods, so sacking was placed over them to ensure it did not dry out too quickly.

After some weeks and close inspection the final daub mix has been chosen and the mix includes loam, ox dung and barley straw. This is going to be applied over the coming weeks.

During the ‘Raising the Frame’ weekend we had a lime burn, and the Saxon building will be limewashed to lighten the interior in due course with the material from this burn.

The official opening of this building will be Friday 14 and Saturday 15 October and there will be a range of talks and activities in and around this space to enjoy; we hope you can join us then!

This September we will hold a conference on Replicas & Reality in The Heritage Values of Replication and Reconstruction. The Saxon building will feature as one of case studies on this day.

See our earlier Saxon building updates here: