Search the website

The dating of historic houses by tree rings

— 08 May 2019


#833

Greenham Barton where a dendrochronology report will be undertaken funded by Historic England

#831

Jacobean House in Somerset, the hammerbeam roof of which was dated by dendrochronology

#832
Conservation of historic house dendrochronology thumbnail

Dating a building is generally undertaken by identifying architectural details that indicate the period when buildings of that style were being constructed. This will provide a date range when the building is likely to have been built.

To gain a more accurate picture of the date of construction, it is possible to use dendrochronology, or the study of tree rings, to give an insight into the history of the timber used in the construction of the building.

As trees grow the growing conditions in the area affect the rings that form. The resulting cross section shows differing patterns of rings which indicate growing conditions year on year.

From years of studying tree rings a database of information now exists which maps tree ring patterns across the country. This means that timber in a property can be examined to find matches in tree ring patterns from similar trees in the local area. As long as bark exists on the sample it is possible to date the exact year that the tree was felled.

Many large historic properties, especially those dating from the Medieval period, were built with trunks that still had the bark on them. This means that samples can be taken and the property dated much more accurately than was previously possible.

When archaeologist Stuart Blaylock undertook the archaeological survey of 13th Century Greenham Barton, he identified it as a property that would potentially be suitable for a dendrochronological study. Historic England, agreed to fund the study as the information gleaned from the report should be of archaeological importance. The Grade I listed house has origins dating back to the 13th Century, and was significantly remodeled in the 16th Century, with additions continuing until a significant phase of works to update the property in the 1920s. The dendrochronological report will contribute to the owners’ understanding of the architectural progression of the house as well as providing valuable information for future research.

Dendrochronology also helped to date the architecturally significant hammerbeam roof of a Jacobean Manor House which Jonathan Rhind Architects worked on several years ago. As Conservation Architects working on historic properties, it is likely that we will see more of this in the future.

Recent posts

From the archive

Social feed

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-02-17 14:49:09)

    Tina and Georgia recently joined Jonathan Rhind Architects as Architectural Assistants. Read about what inspired th… https://t.co/DXtERKpJm9

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-02-17 14:36:16)

    RT @almshousesTD: This really is going to be a fine example of a 21st Century almshouse - can't wait to see it come out of the ground! Than…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-02-17 14:35:57)

    RT @HistoricEngland: Roof repairs are complete at Moseley Road Bath’s Gala Pool in Birmingham 🏊 Check out the restored roof architecture,…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-02-17 14:34:42)

    RT @NellytheWillow: Poundstock #Cornwall More of what makes the Gildhouse rather special https://t.co/FDAJlv0S6E

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-02-17 14:34:12)

    RT @DABuildings: St Andrew Cullompton #Devon Outer South aisle begun by wealthy cloth merchant John Lane c.1526. Fan vaulting inspired by…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-02-11 15:11:07)

    Read about plans to replace a derelict hall with a sensitive almshouse development including a community room and o… https://t.co/uhCwO4vShF

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-02-10 13:30:48)

    RT @almshousesTD: Exciting times at Taunton Heritage Trust - successful team meeting yesterday - all progressing well. #almshouses https://…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-02-10 13:28:31)

    RT @NellytheWillow: Poundstock Gildhouse #Cornwall An exceptionally significant survival of a church house, once common in SW, particularl…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-02-10 13:26:33)

    RT @almshousesTD: Thanks for this @almshouseAssoc - today we have another team meeting with @JonathanRhind1 and our other consultants to pr…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-02-04 09:17:52)

    RT @nationaltrust: A number of buildings we look after have starred in film and TV shows. Do you know these locations? Bonus points if yo…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-02-04 09:16:56)

    RT @NTSouthWest: This view from #Montacute's Long Gallery has been revealed after the re-display of #paintings loaned from the #NationalPor…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-02-04 09:16:04)

    RT @SPAB1877: Lovely photos showing the healthy state of the soft capping put on by volunteers during our 2016 #SPABWorkingParty 🌱🌿💚 https:…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-02-03 16:14:47)

    See how works are progressing on the Woolsery village shop in our blog https://t.co/yBCX0B9WhN #villageshop… https://t.co/UnxqFh2BWu

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-02-03 10:17:21)

    RT @NTSouthWest: Towering trees and romantic ruins - this shot of Corfe Castle sums up why we think winter can offer up some of the best vi…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-01-30 12:21:15)

    RT @HistoricEngland: Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission’s report, 'Living with Beauty', highlights heritage as an important par…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-01-29 10:19:22)

    RT @EnglishHeritage: From star chambers to gold tiled bathrooms, the most influential figures from our past certainly knew how to dress (th…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-01-29 10:18:44)

    Work to revitalise this tired 500-year-old farmhouse is now underway. With a roofed scaffolding protecting the stru… https://t.co/2x5VSOEXpt

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-01-28 14:52:29)

    RT @visitexmoor: We are so lucky to have so many amazing walks here on #Exmoor! Feeling inspired? #VisitExmoor https://t.co/q2Au4F7uxk

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-01-28 09:13:30)

    We are delighted to welcome new team members Tina and Georgia as Architectural Assistants #expanding #devonarchitects #somersetarchitects

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-01-27 14:16:32)

    RT @PCAeng: PCA and @JonathanRhind1 strategically assessed the Bridge Chambers spire and advised on the structural timber and intricate int…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-01-24 10:33:34)

    RT @CbgCornwall: This year's winter lecture will be by Linda Beskeen on the Redruth architect James Hicks. All are welcome. We look forward…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-01-24 10:31:54)

    RT @SPAB1877: Prince Frederick Duleep Singh was born #otd in 1868. 'Freddie' was the son of the last Sikh Maharajah but was born and bred i…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-01-22 11:00:30)

    RT @CofE_Churchcare: The deadline for grant for bells & bell frames, where we provide grants of up to £10,000 for the conservation of bells…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-01-21 16:10:08)

    See our plans to improve the balance of this house on Dartmoor with a Georgian style elevation to create an elegant… https://t.co/fzMX5xV0dK

  • Jonathan Rhind (2020-01-21 09:17:18)

    RT @ExmoorNPCs: We are looking forward to seeing everyone at #Dunster Tithe Barn on March 16th #Exmoor @dunsterofficial @Dunster_Info @yar…

Get in touch to see how we can help you

Contact us
Scroll up