Plans to rediscover and date Gloucestershire’s oldest buildings

A project to discover some of Gloucestershire’s oldest timber-framed buildings has received £38,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

The project by the Gloucestershire Building Recording Group aims to precisely date more than 36 medieval buildings in Gloucester, Tewkesbury and Newent – three locations which are known to contain the best-surviving but least known timber buildings.

Very few buildings in Gloucestershire have been dated and specialists will use tree-ring dating to identify the exact year that the trees used to make the buildings were cut down.

The Building Recording Group hope that by identifying and dating these buildings it will provide walking trails which will allow the public to gain a better understanding of the timber-framed buildings.

Only a small selection of the buildings identified will be precisely dated, but the project managers hope that this information will show the timing of different styles of timber-framing used by Gloucestershire’s medieval carpenters.

By establishing the timing of stylistic changes it allows the construction of timber-framed buildings to be estimated within 50 years.

Dr Andy Moir, chairperson of the Gloucestershire Building Recording Group and a research fellow at Brunel University London said: ‘The project will date buildings though the sciences of dendrochronology, tree-ring dating.

‘By taking small pencil-like cores from surviving oak timbers, we can date the unique series of tree rings and identify the exact year that the trees were felled.

‘Because trees were normally converted into timbers without seasoning, these tree-ring dates typically identify the year a building was constructed.’

In related news, last year, an £85m regeneration project in Gloucester took a step forward with the demolition of the ageing Grosvenor House building and former bus station. The project is happening alongside archaeological work to uncover what could be nationally important heritage assets.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

Pippa Neill


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