Looking at Buildings

Styles & Traditions

Hammerbeam Roofs

The hammerbeam was developed to overcome the problem of spanning wide spaces by cantilevering the upper roof timbers from a beam projecting from the wall.

The late 14th-century roof of Westminster Hall is the most famous example, with hammerbeamsGlossary Term nearly 21 ft long introduced in place of the arcades which had previously divided the 11th-century hall, so that the building is roofed from wall to wall without intermediate supports. The hammerbeamsGlossary Term were often decoratedGlossary Term.

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Wymondham Abbey, Norfolk

Elaborately carved hammerbeam roofs, sometimes in two tiers, became features of some of the grandest late medieval churches of East Anglia.


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