The aim of this site is to aid research into English medieval architecture, especially Late-Medieval carpentry and the Medieval Open Hall through the medium of Buildings Archaeology coupled with Digital Archaeology.
The Photographic Archive holds the largest collection of images relating to medieval carpentry joints on the web!
The Open Hall
The medieval open hall is a classic structure synonymous with the timber-framed and thatched cottages of yesteryear. The open hall was a hugely important aspect of late medieval society, forming the central space within a house where social interactions took place around an open fire. It generally consists of three main parts –
- the main central hall open to the roof with a fire place and
- the owners living and sleeping area
- the service end containing the main entrance and
cross-passage, rooms for food storage, workers accommodation or animal housing.
This standard layout is often refered to as the 'tripartite' plan.
The floor of the late-medieval open hall house was generally formed by beaten earth and always featured an open hearth, towards the centre, to provide both heating and an area for cooking. The open hall was popular from Saxon times up until the reformation and was replaced with a floored hall in the early 16th century. The hall was also present in all forms of construction, be it box-frame, base-cruck or cruck and, although plan forms varied regionally, the hall was always a constant. Click me to read more about the open hall.
The photographic archive offers a unique picture record of hundreds of timber-framed buildings and carpentry joints from the medieval period. It really is a gem!