Looking at Buildings

Styles & Traditions

Timber Walls

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Gainsborough Old Hall, Lincolnshire

Timber walls generally consist of a framework which is filled in by another material, commonly wattle and mud, often replaced later by brick. The wall is thin but its stability is ensured by the bracing provided by the rest of the frame forming lateral walls, internal partitions and roof.

Inside Timber Walls:
Large Panel Framing
Close Studding
The Jetty

The great majority of surviving timber-framed buildings in England are domestic in origin, and date from the later middle ages onwards, although examples as early as the 13th century have been identified. Precise dating is often difficult, unless evidence from tree-ring analysis is available. Buildings have frequently been much altered, so that their original form may not be obvious.

The simplest type of timber wall has bays made up of large panels. From the 15th century there was increasing interest in elaborate exterior treatment, illustrated by closeGlossary Term studding, the use of closely set vertical timbers, which became popular in the later 15th century. The projecting jettyGlossary Term also provided scope for display.

Further Reading

For details of timber construction see:
Richard Harris, Discovering Timber-framed buildings, 1978
P.S. Barnwell and A.R. Adams, The House Within, interpreting Medieval Houses in Kent, RCHME, 1994



The precinct of a cathedral. Also (Scots) a courtyard or passage giving access to a number of buildings.


In a timber-framed building, the projection of an upper storey beyond the storey below, made by the beams and joists of the lower storey oversailing the wall; on their outer ends is placed the sill of the walling for the storey above.