David Gunton's Hardwood Floors.
Grange Lane, Winsford,
Cheshire, CW7 2PS
Tel: +44 (0)1606 861 442
Fax: +44 (0)1606 861 445
wideboards@gmail.com


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Historic Floors

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Go to Little Moreton Hall.

Wide Oak Boards

This must be Rapunzels Tower!

If she does not live up there she ought to. This is a magical little fortified manor house called 'Stokesay Castle' which dates back to the early 13th Century. Since then it has changed little. The modernisers never really got a grip and there have been times when it fell into some disrepair. In the last 100 it has been loved and looked after by a succession of generous owners and is now the property of us all under the care of English Heritage. It is an almost ethereal place to visit, especially in Autumn when the leaves are turning. The countryside , viewed from the tower, looks little changed from the medieval field layout.

 

 

Poor Rapunzel. She would have to live with this floor! This is how ancient floors often looked - a hotch potch! This one does contain some boards which date right back to the earliest beginnings of this building. Over the years it has been repaired and restored with all sorts of pieces of mismatched wood. Originally oak, it now contains pieces of elm, chestnut and various softwoods.

It contains lots of the special features which characterise old floors and make them special; the irregular gaps; the uneven surface; the scratches; the surface checking; the peculiarites of colour. Only ancient timber can properly recreate such a sublime result of years of wear, tear and abuse. Accurate reproduction of these characteristics is not practible with new timber.

In its present condition few people today would wish to live with such a floor in a principal room. One might put up with an historic relic like this in attic.

 

 

This is one of Stokesay's finer oak board floors. This was made in mainly quarter sawn and figured oak. Mostly the boards run in continuous length from one side of the room to the other. They are half lapped at the edges, not tongued and grooved. The fixings are rose head cut iron brads nailed through the face. I think it is probable that these boards are part of a later restoration. It is likely the original boards would have been rotted and attacked by woodworm during one of the periods of neglect of the building. I would also have expected to see boards of this quality originating from the 13th Century to have been pegged with oak rather than nailed.

The boards are not sealed. I could not tell whether they had been waxed, though they will have been at some stage in history. The grey colour is a natural result of years of scrubbing away dirty footprints, git and soil tramped in by peoples feet. Compare their colour to the wonderful oak furniture and the panelling.

 

This detail photograph shows the busy figuring. Note how the arrises (the edges) are badly worn at the far end of these boards. This indicates that due to the earlier arrangement of the room this was a highly trafficked area. because the boards are slightly cupped, the edges take more wear than do the centres of the boards.

Go to Little Moreton Hall.