Historic building unearthed by survey funded by £35,000 grant - The Droitwich Standard

Historic building unearthed by survey funded by £35,000 grant

Droitwich Editorial 16th Apr, 2015 Updated: 17th Oct, 2016   0

AN HISTORIC Droitwich building which is almost 700-years-old has been discovered thanks to a £35,000 lottery grant.

Dodderhill Parish Survey Group, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, recently completed a detailed study of 33 High Street and found major components of a large medieval house dating back to the early 14th century.

The oak trees used in its construction were felled in the winter of 1339 and would have been used within 12 or 18 months at most, meaning construction would have begun in 1340.

It is likely to be one of the earliest domestic timber-framed structures in Worcestershire.

The project, part of the Historic Droitwich: Its Streets and People scheme, engaged the services of an architectural historian and a scientist.

The pair found much of a medieval frame, of a former open hall, was still visible inside the building and they could accurately date the first phase of its construction thanks to dendrochronology, tree-ring dating.

They also discovered the first floor was inserted into the former open hall in 1594 because the tree which was used as the main ceiling beam in the present shop, Jewels, was cut down in the winter of 1593.

It is believed the extension was part of the modernisation in Elizabethan times and was typical of that time. Similar alterations were also made to buildings in Dodderhill.

The pair also believe the neighbouring property, number 31, was a private wing or solar of what was originally all the same building – it was dated on stylistic grounds to have been built about a century later. Historic England has carried out dendrochronology in the property and is awaiting results.

Lyn Blewitt, Dodderhill Parish Survey Project chair, said: “This is a very exciting result – here we have a building still standing which was begun a decade before the Black Death struck England in 1349.

“It has long been suspected 33 High Street might contain a much earlier structure than the 18th century appearance of the street frontage and we are thrilled to be able to date the building so accurately.

“It is very important we recognise, here in Droitwich, that we have the second or third oldest domestic building yet dated in the county.

“This survey is part of the research by the Historic Droitwich project and has been made possible by the kind invitation of the owner Belinda Terry and the financial support of the HLF.”

The Historic Droitwich project will carry out further surveying and dendrochronology on some of the town’s older buildings later this year.

The external staircase of 33 High Street. (s)


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