Second Floor

The carpentry of the landing at the top of the staircase is worth studying. The medieval builders solved the problem of spanning a large and almost square building by using three roof ridges, side by side. The roof is covered with tiles, similar to examples elsewhere in the town, but was probably thatched originally.

On the exterior, the north gables retain their original moulded borders. Internally, the roof is supported by purlins reinforced by wind-braces, whose tenons are sunk into the sides. The structure is reinforced at the ends by both a collar-beam and a tie-beam and, in the centre, by a massive tie beam which supports the partitioning.

In the large room there is an exposed tie-beam, also massive, set at just the right height to hit the heads of unsuspecting victims! Carpenter’s marks are visible on the side trusses, one having a semi-circle on top of three lines, distinguishing the left hand end. Careful inspection also shows fainter lines marking the location of the mortice above.

The original window-frames are noteworthy, with delicate arches, spandrels decorated with quatrefoils and flowers carved on the exterior, and slides for the shutters which once closed the window apertures. Without glass, protected only by shutters, the rooms would have been either bright but draughty, or gloomy but comfortable. An original wattle and daub partition divides the landing from the central room where, as below, we can see the framing, posts and an original window-frame. The threshold of the north-east room is worn with the comings and goings of many centuries. Part of the plaster has been lifted to show the original wattle covered with clay.

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