Thursday, May 03, 2012

Question from Ben - Plastering over timbers on Tudor buildings

I have been told that the timbers of Tudor buildings would have been 'plastered' over. This surprised me as the white buildings with their black timbers are so characteristic. It makes me wonder if this is true. Any ideas?

1 comment:

Ladyhoby said...

Hi Ben
I am not sure about your question “Tudor buildings would be plastered over” were you thinking inside or outside?

If inside then a lot of the timbers were covered but mostly with fabrics or wood panelling.

While on the outside I haven’t come across anything yet, but what I can say is timber buildings have changed over the centuries.

You may have heard the saying “breaking and entry” it comes from when thieves would smash the plaster walls to gain entry to the houses, also it may have been done to stop the damp streets rotting the timbers. Bricks or stones were then introduced to the lower floors were the plaster work would have been. Some properties had the upper floors done just leaving the timberwork exposed on both levels

Other timber buildings were built in brick on the ground floor with another floor 2nd/3rd built with a decorative upper floor of timber and plaster when they could afford it. This method means that the bricks are more even to the timber unlike the other method were the bricks have to fit the timberwork. Showing the timber work was your way telling the Jones’s that I have money look at me, although more does not always mean lots of money spent. Large even squares said I have large timbers, small squares or oblongs could mean that they could afford the good timber, having the timbers carved into shapes would have also cost money.

To make your quest even more complicated the Georgenes kept the frame work of the older houses but change the outside completely and the only way you would know they had say extended the property, is by looking the front door and realising that it is slightly off centre, because the timbers cannot be made to fit. As I am writing this I just thought of a shop in Canterbury that someone had taken out a timber or two and it’s so lopsided that the door is off kilter
(the picture isn’t mine and it’s the bottom 2) It might be around this time that they were putting render/ plaster over the timber to make a very old building look new?

You also need to look very closely at any timber building it may not be as old as you think, I saw many last year that had been build in the last few years and that at first glance you would think were the real thing. Some clues are the timbers are smooth, they have been painted gloss black, the carvings have a modern twist but most of all when they are dated 1997.

You mentioned the buildings being black and white that’s believed to be the Victorians that made this popular, they would have been more earth tone colours grey, red, and yellow the timbers when left untreated turn a lovely silver grey