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Attitudes to "old" items and structures - was "salvaging antique timber....."

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  • julian wilson
    Bill McNutt wrote: v :* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o :* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w :* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 3, 2007
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      Bill McNutt <mcnutt@...> wrote:
      You guys have such a different idea of “old” than we do.
      Around here, anything over 200 years old is surrounded by velvet ropes.
      Yorkshire’s got pig barns older than that that still have pigs in ‘em.
      Yes, Will, - and the same is true in Jersey, where I live.
      2 years back,  my Employers converted a Jersey farm's bakehouse and black-butter kitchen to a cottage for a newly-married young couple - the husband was the son of the Building's owner, who gave them the building and funded the building-conversion as a wedding present. The "Date Stone" Lintol over the entry door has the initials of the Farmers at the time the bakehouse was built - 1648! That;s the first date when the bakehouse appears in the St. Martin's Parish records - though the farmhouse and barns first appear in the Parish records in 1487. As well as the farmhouse, one of the original barns is still in use - as a barn!
      I would point out that the favourite building material, for the walls of older farms in our island, is the local Jersey granite - which at the time was free for the quarrying.
      And from upgrades over the centuries, these older structures have usually been "MODERNISED" - re-floored - and certainly re-roofed -several times. Originally most of them would have been "thatched" with the local seaweed, [otherwise locally known as vraic] - which was free for the gathering from the local beaches.
       When re-roofing, the main roof-beams and purlins have been left in-situ, and only the light timbers altered to provide support for newer roof-coverings - straw or reed thatch, then clay pantiles, then Welsh Slates.
      Nowadays, most of these old buildings are roofed with Welsh slates - which were much impotred during the early Victorian period - so that the slates themselves are "antique" in US terms.
      And many of them have chimney-stacks added onto the outside od their gable walls, showing granite-work of a latter date than the walls themselves, - showing that the famrhouses pre-date "integral fireplaces and chimneys" - and probably had centrally -placed hearths, with smoke-holes in the middle of their seaweed-thatched roofs. Many famrs with such added-on external chimney-stacks have massive internal hearths with intregral "bread-ovens" and "cauldron"-hearths built of imported bricks [though still centuries-old] - another clue to the structure of the building being much earlier than the hearth and bread-oven, and cauldron.
      And how's this for cool?
      The SCA's Insulæ Draconis "Winchester Pilgrimage" is based at the Winchester Almshouse and Hospital of St. Cross. Which is a group of late 14thCent. Plantagenet Buildings, with 15th & 16th Cent "add-ons".
      If you'd like to see this location, the URL is
      Whenb I arrived for the Winchester Pilgrimage event of 2007 [our 2nd at St. Cross - they liked us so much from 2006, that they invited us back for 2007!] - the Doorward [the Porter person] took we "firstarrivals" around to show us the areas we could use - so that we could show later-comers.
      We go into the medieval "Brothers' Hall" where we have been told we can hold our Feast - the which hall is furnished with old-looking tables and benches. So naturally our first question is - "where do you want us to store away your antique furniture?"
      The Doorward says - "no, that's alright, they are only Tudor period - you can use them for your feast!"
      And while we are still "gobsmacked" by this "offhand"comment, she continues - "all except the table between the 2 doors - we believe that to have come from Winchester Castle, and it dates from the 13th Century, But that's quite alright - you can use that one as a "serving table" - the top is Portland marble, which makes the whole thing too heavy to lift anyway!"
      And while we are still reeling from this easy-going attitude - [for as you say, Bill - even in the UK most objects this old are behind velvet ropes with "Do Not Touch" signs on them] - the Doorward goes on - "if you are going to use the central hearth, please only burn charcoal - otherwise you'll be smoked out of the Hall".
      So we got to hold a medieval Feast, in an "untouched" medieval Hall, using medieval tables and benches  - without an anachronism in sight! BTW, we decided not to risk lighting a charcoal fire on the central firehearth.
      And for 2008, there had been a suggestion that our cooks might like to use the Tudor kitchen top prepare our feast! Now, as wonderful as doing that might be from the point of view of actually cooking the food in a medieval room, using all the medieval methods - our cooks are so sued to modern equipoment I don't think they'll take-up THAT offer - but the fact that it has been made at all indicates how "easy-going" the St. Cross staff are with our SCA group.
      Oh, and this year, we were invited to attend the High Anglican Sunday-morning Service in the undamaged and mostly un-modified 15th C. Church - IN OUR PERIOD GARB!
      Re-enacting doesn't get any better than that!

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