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Dr Richard Haddlesey is the director of Historic Building Consultations. We offer our clients several techniques for the dating, conservation, recording and surveying of historic buildings. This could be as simple as providing a time period and report about a property to a full scale archaeological investigation or planning consult. Most buildings are added to the photographic database. The survey is carried out by Dr R Haddlesey BSc MSc PhD. These techniques include: database intergration, Geophysics, GIS, GPS, Photographic surveys, tree-ring dating and web design - with over 25 years experience in the construction industry.

He is also working as a teacher/lecturer of Computer Science.


Richard completed a BSc in Heritage Conservation at Bournemouth University (2004) and an MSc in Archaeological Computing (virtual pasts) at the University of Southampton (2006). He has just been awarded a PhD from the Universities of Southampton (Oct 2010).

He is presently working as a teacher of Computer Science.

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Dr Richard Haddlesey BSc MSc PhD

His MScthesis was titled;

"Virtual Meccano": The Creation of Virtual Joints to Explore Vernacular Timber-framed Construction Methods of the Late Medieval Period (c1400-1530)

Richards supervisors for his MSc thesis were:

Professor Matthew Johnson (medieval archaeology)

Dr Graeme Earl (Virtual pasts).

Present PhD

Richard was awarded a studentship to undertake Doctoral research (a PhD) into carpentry techniques employed during the era of the 'Black Death'. The post was awarded by King Alfreds College at the University of Winchester, back in February 2006. Computational technologies will still play a major role in his research by utilising database management systems (DBMS), GIS and Virtual Reality.



Dr Richard Haddlesey BSc MSc PhD

Dr Richard Haddlesey


The role of the house (or dwelling) in society is a theme which transcends the period boundaries.  Approximately 108 timber-framed medieval buildings have been dendrochronologically dated to between 1244 and 1530 AD in Hampshire. As part of my doctoral reserarch, an extensive  survey has been carried out on these buildings to record the different types of joints used in their construction; these joints have then been grouped, by type, to provide a chronology. Although my project is heavily informed by scientific dating methods theory is also an important component. Once my chrono-typologies have been produced and cross- referenced with regard to Hewett’s Essex data, the effects, if any, of the Black Death (1348-50) on carpentry techniques and technologies canl be analysed.

The project utilises digital technologies to collect, collate, manage, query and ultimately disseminate data relevant to the study of timber joints. Such technologies include:
•       Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
•       Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
•       Database Management Systems (DBMS)
•       3D modelling

The 3D modelling provides a means to explore how joints interact with each other, whilst also forming a visual database. This database can be disseminated through various mobile devices, supplying researchers with a real-time, portable, dating aid, for comparison in the field. The combination of GPS and GIS enable the data to be analysed spatially to understand how the buildings work within a landscape context. This then permits the answering of the question "building on fear" by applying theory to the science and asks the question: are the houses being built to protect the occupier from war, famine and plague or are they just projecting status and society?

In order to facilitate archaeological analysis of carpentry joints in late medieval timber-framed buildings and to illuminate demographic and socio-economic change through time, it is necessary to create a new methodology. Zubrow suggests “In order to reach past behaviour, past thinking must be combined with past environments” (Zubrow 2006). In order fully to apply this cognitive theory to buildings archaeology (Whitley 1998), and to answer archaeological questions , I have begun to collate work undertaken by previous scholars with special regard to Hampshire (James & Roberts 2000; Lewis et al. 1988; Miles 2000-05; Roberts 2003b). This will allow me, within a framework of dendrochronological chronology, to study the joints and the houses which they frame, in their surviving settings, by implementing various computer models and simulations outlined below:

• a relational database (utilising MS Access)
• by visiting and recording selected buildings (Alcock et al. 1989; Pearson & Meeson 2001), as suggested in (Roberts 2003b) in consultation with Mr Roberts as adviser to the project
• by gathering photographic, photogrammetric and textual information through fieldwork
• by gathering data from printed sources (Lewis et al. 1988; Miles 2000-05; Roberts 2003b; James & Roberts 2000) and local records offices (maps, plans etc)
• by combining all information in one location and making that available to the wider public via the internet (Welfare 2001; Richards 2006)
• to provide a means to access, amend, expand and update by granting permissions to peers via the internet (AHDS 2005)

• a geo-database (utilising ArcGIS)
• by digitising modern Ordnance Survey maps, historical tithe maps (e.g. at Hampshire Record Office) and aerial photographs, (e.g. from to create map layers in ArcGIS, the past environment can be simulated (Daly & Evans 2006; Gillings 2005; Lock 2003; Gillings & Wheatley 2002; Dibble & McPherron 2002)
• by digitising locations of the buildings on to various layers, grouped by date and type
• a visual database (utilising both AutoCAD and 3ds max)
• by gathering various 2 dimensional (2D) illustrations from published works (Alcock et al. 1989; Harris 1978; Hewett 1969; Hewett 1980) 
• by gathering photographs and text from field work
• by creating and building various 3D models from the above 2D records of different joint types using 3D studio max, AutoCAD, Maya etc
• placing the resulting 3D models in a relational database (Haddlesey 2005)

Following the compilation of the databases and the creation of a computer based methodology, a systematic examination of the selected timber-framed buildings centred on Hampshire will commence. The structure of the databases allows queries to be run against the data to examine patterns and trends in the data. Both the creation and dissemination of digital data, especially with regard to buildings archaeology, have been flagged as major concern by both English Heritage and the AHRC (AHRC 2005; English_Heritage 2005). This methodology will not only permit to answer the question I propose, but will also allow other researchers to access the data, via the ADS and WWW, to help answer their own questions (Richards 2006; Welfare 2001). Such queries may include:

• grouping houses by date through the period 
• establishing similarities or differences in the groupings
• analysing the evolution of the later medieval domestic plan (Gardiner 2000)
• assessing joint typologies in relation to date (Hewett 1969; Hewett 1980)
• identifying if location plays a part in the survival of houses –i.e. rural versus urban, proximity to ecclesiastical sites etc
• analysing whether spatial location can infer social status (Dyer 1986; Gardiner 2000; Johnson 1993a; Johnson 1997; Hillier & Hanson 1984) 
• undertaking map regression by virtual means to explore spatial changes related to the identified properties (using ArcGIS)

The study will provide images and movie-clips of the various joints and their interactions in ways that will enable researchers to take the work into the field, by using various mobile media devices (Haddlesey 2005b)

The PhD analysis will compare results from Hampshire with data from a wider geographical area (Harris 1978; Miles 2000-05; Pearson 1994; West 1970). In comparing Hampshire data to that from selected structures in adjacent counties within central southern England, the questioning of present social and theoretical debates can be undertaken. For example using, archaeological standing –buildings study techniques (Alcock et al. 1989; Pearson 2001; Harris 1978), progress will be more secure in the study of dated timber-joints (Miles 2000-05; Roberts 2003b). Other plastic arts, for example architectural style, manuscript illumination, stained glass, stone sculpture etc have largely been studied on an art-historical, typological basis, which makes the application of secure dating to timber-jointing an especially valuable comparison. Can a break or change be perceived in carpentry jointing around the period of the “Black Death”? (James 1999c; James & Roberts 2000; Johnson 1997; Johnson 1993b; Johnson 2000; Lindley 1996; Samson 1990; Tilley 1994). It remains an element in the study to try to establish changes in vernacular carpentry-jointing during this period through standing-buildings study in order to assess if the carpenters of the time acted in response to demographic change (“building on fear”) or simply employ changing technologies of jointing through time.

The methodology was initially explored during my Masters, where I began to test various computer technologies required to undertake the research I propose here. A small library of timber joints was created, and a full structural “virtual” model built, to test the methods and workflow necessary to create the visual element of this proposal (Fernie & Richards 2003; Haddlesey 2005c). Another methodology learnt at post-graduate level, was how to create and maintain Database Management Systems (DBMS) and Geo-databases using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) (Dibble & McPherron 2002). The learning of eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and its associated technologies has equipped me to provide data and meta-data that can be gathered, accessed and updated, together with ensuring longevity and interoperability across emerging platforms (AHDS 2005; Fernie & Richards 2003; Haddlesey 2005c). This analysis and methodology will underpin and establish a platform which will enable my research to contribute new understandings locally and regionally and point the way for a potential national survey.

PhD supervisors - Professor Tom Beaumont James (Black Death), Dr Keith Wilkinson (Computing), Dr Amanda Richardson (Medieval landscapes) and Edward Roberts (housing specialist)



Annie completed her BSc in Heritage Conservation at Bournemouth University. She is the present owner of the Devizes medieval corbel heads and the former owner of the castle. Annie has just begun (Jan 08) her PhD research at Cranfield University on the Impact of UXO (unexploded ordnance) and Explosive Ordnance Removal from the Plain of Jars in Laos, she welcomes ANY comments on the subject and works under the guidance of Prof Chris Bellamy (Professor of Military Science and Doctrine).

email her

Immediately after the tsunami hit Thailand on Boxing Day 2004, Annie was able to work alongside relief workers in an effort identify bodies through the collection of DNA. This year (June 2008) Annie has gone out to Burma (Myanmar) to utilise her knowledge there to help with the relief effort following Cyclone Nargis in May 2008. It is the management of natural (Tsunami) and mad-made (the bombing of Laos) that were the focus of her PhD.

The open hall house

In England, by the end of the fourteenth century, it is thought that the fully developed medieval hall arrangement had been attained. That is to say - the addition of two compartments either side of the open hall house to accommodate the service rooms and living quarters, forming a tripartite design, had become common place.

photographic archive

The archive stands at over 100 buildings dendro dated between AD1244 and 1574 with 4 dated by documents (denoted by*). The majority of the dates are available on the Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory website and the Vernacular Architecture Group's website.