Wealden Hall Houses
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Those wealden hall houses that retain much of their original character are now listed buildings, the best examples being Grade II* listed.
The timber framed walls would be filled with earth and dung and horse hair, the floor of chalk and sour milk (an early form of concrete), and the roofs were steep thatched hipped roofs, later to be upgraded to clay tile.
The timber frame was built in a bayed construction usually of three fairly equal bays, based around an open hall in the central bay, with an open fire place in the centre and no chimney.
At one end of the building would be the private bedrooms, the upper chamber was called the 'solar'. To the other end the 'service' and servants quarters and a cross passage entrance (front and rear doors joined by corridor directly opposite one another).
Roofs were constructed in rectangular hipped form, typically to a 50° pitch. Some situated in village and town centres had gable ends.
A toilet may have been provided suspended over the end of the building, quite an advancement in its day!
Common modifications included;
Insertion of a brick chimney place and stack, usually positioned between the front and rear doors, changing the layout to a 'baffle entry' house.
Replacing the roof thatch with clay tile.
A floor was placed in the open hall to increase floor space at first floor.
Central bay was jettied inline with the end bays.
Jettied first floors walls were filled in below, often with brick, to increase floor space at ground floor.
Original thatched roofs were replaced with clay tiles.
Rendering or tiling hanging to the external walls, hiding the exposed timbers.
Extensions and gable roofed front bay windows.
Parapeted front facade.
Many heavily modified Wealden hall houses are now being renovated and reverted back nearer their original form.
TQ49674869), and reconstructed at the Weald and Downland Museum as it would have been when originally built. It is one of the best examples to be found.
National Trust for the sum of £10. A carving of an acorn within the central hall is said to be the originals of the National Trust logo. It has been restored, though not to its original form, still retaining a brick and tiled extension to the rear, and a brick chimney and tile hanging to one side.
Romden Hall House was destroyed in the great storm of 1987, and later its timbers were used to be faithfully rebuilt at a new site in Smarden. See a record by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust
Eating and drinking establishments
A number of buildings have been converted to public houses or cafés
See more Wealden Hall House photos
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