The Reverse Side Of The Door

case occupied a subsidiary had not acquired the wards attained. Here the hand side opens to a stair-of solid oak.

from their method of con-decoration of the ceiling' joists of the floor above. Street, Lavenham, by per-beautifully carved series of Fig. 199, are taken. It is an example as rich as'this, Paycockes, Coggeshal'l, finer in design and execu-arrangement of moulded in Fig. 198. In Fig. 66 this hall was shown • in process of restoration, as an example of cambered tie-beam with king-post and collar-purlin type of roof. The gallery and the door at the end of the hall are modern insertions, the former necessitating the removal of the braces from the tie-beam to the main post. As already pointed out in the chapter 011 " The Plan of the Early


7 ft. 2 ins. to apex ; 4 ft. 3 ins. wide. Late fifteenth century.


6 ft. 4j ins. to apex ; 3 ft. wide. Late fifteenth century.

Tudor House," the stair-position at this date, and importance which it after-lower door, 011 the right-case with triangular treads Timber houses admit, struction, of the lavish beams, which form the From a house in Water mission of Mil Garrard, the joists and beams, shown in rare, even in Suffolk, to find although the ceiling from Figs. 200 and 201, is even tion. Fig. 202 shows an

English House Door Pictures



Early sixteen! h century.



Early sixli cntli i rutin y beams and joists from the same house. Fig. 203 is from the Lavenham Guild Hall of; Corpus Christi, and Fig. 204 from the Woolhall showing the dragon-beam.

In ven rare instances the joists of the iloor above were covered 011 the under face with close boarding, as in Fig. 205, to form a ceiling. The small ribs have a value beyond, that of mere decoration, in stiffening the boards and preventing sag. The boarding here is of finely figured quartered oak, \ -jointed, of about three-eighths of an inch in thickness. The ribs are moulded and have carved cusped bosses at their intersections. There are signs of painting, probably original, in the quirks of the mouldings of this ceiling.

With the Gothic pre-eminent, until the early years of the sixteenth century, there is not the difference one would expect to find in decorativc treatment between doors of churches, castles or timber houses. Stone or brick can be built in sections, in the form of a lancet arch, whereas with timber it is necessary to cut the shapes from huge pieces of oak. The high springing of the door heads, which is usual in churches and stone-built castles, is, therefore, usually absent in timber houses, where the head is flattened. We cannot compare early church doors of the fourteenth century with those in timber houses of the. same date, as the latter do not exist.

The early and rather crude types of doors of the fourteenth century were constructed externally of vertical boards with dowelled, rebated or tongued and grooved joints. They were laminated, internally,, with horizontal close-boarding, the whole being fastened together with heavy wrought nails, generally decorated with elaborate ironwork, the design and the fixing spikes of which assisted in the construction, as at Elmsett Church, Fig. 206.

Another type was constructed with horizontal spaced battens fixed across the-



Chancel Poor. Early sixteenth century.



Carved Oak Doors and Surround. 10 ft. 5J ins. to apex ; g ft. 2i ins. to springing ; 7 ft. n ins. wide.

Earl}' sixteenth century. Noel Buxton, Esq.

inner face of the vertical boards, long nails being driven through from the face and clinched over the battens. The joints were usually dowelled to prevent the sagging of the board. A further advance in bracing was the halved-framing of vertical and horizontal, or diagonally arranged, battens, constructed to form a complete frame. Tracery and half-mullions were applied to enrich the face in many instances.

The later framed doors were constructed of two massive curved styles, chosen from the naturally bent growth of the timber, mortised together at the apex, and with the bottom rail tenoned into them at the base. Vertical mullions grooved to receive panels were framed within, and further strengthened by rails, halved over the inner face of the mullions, and either tenoned or dovetailed into the styles.

The framed door with transom followed, and was, otherwise, similarly constructed. The styles were decorated, upon their faces, with carved quatrefoils, vine-trails (in which were introduced the forms of birds and grotesque beasts), figures of the Apostles, and saints in tabernacled niches crowned by the figure of Christ or the Holy Mother.

Doors can be roughly arranged, chronologically, in the following order :- -

Laminated boarded.

Laminated boarded with applied mullions.

Boarded and ledged.

Boarded and half-jointed ; framed on the inside.

Framed with mullions and panels.

Framed mullions and panels with transom.

Completely panelled.

As a general rule, large doors with a wicket are late in the history of door development.

All these doors copy the traceried windows of their time, in general effect, very closely, the tracery patterns of both developing nearly on parallel lines. Towards the sixteenth century, doors are constructed in a similar way to panellings, framed with heavy styles and rails, grooved to


Early sixteenth century. Victoria and Albert Museum


Early sixteenth century. Victoria and Albert Museum receive panels. It is at this date that we get the late-fifteenth and early-sixteenth-century types of decoration, the linenfold and the parchemin panels. At all periods the double doors of large size are usually furnished with a smaller door, or wicket, as at the Strangers' Hall, Fig. 210. Here the later overhanging porch cornice is supported by grotesque brackets, carved with considerable vigour, shown in Figs. 211 and 212.

Figs. 207 to 209 show the fifteenth-century types of chancel or priests' doors. Xeedham Market is the older solid construction with heraldic carvings in low relief,-now considerably defaced, Barking vestry door has the moulded mullions with applied tracery between, and Key Church priest's door has the vertical moulded ribs secured by heavy iron nails with facetted heads.

The door of Brent Eleigh, Fig. 213, is of the vertical boarded kind, iron nailed to a strong cross-battened framework behind, and with moulded ribs and tracery applied. Chelsworth south door, Fig. 214, is of the framed mullion type, with quatrefoiled band round, and headed with tracery in the mullion grooves. Earl Stonham, Fig. 215, is traceried in the solid, with signs of niche-work in the upper panels, now cut flush and defaced.

Boxford south door, Fig. 216, is similar to Chelsworth, with the same quatrefoil band. The tracery is applied, and the oak appears to be riven instead of sawn. Fig. 217 shows the framing and cross-battening of the back. The lower rail of the door is a restoration. Hadleigh south door, Fig. 218, has the same traceried band, on its outer framing, but carried vertically into the moulded transom, with some effect of distortion, as the border continues, in its full width, above. Fig. 219, from Stoke-by-Nayland, is richly carved with figures of saints and angels. It is framed on the fronts with long vertical mullions into a heavy bottom rail, in long straight lines, without transom. St. Michael-at-Plea, Fig. 220, has a mid-fifteenth-century door in the earlier manner, where the ribs are lanceolated and intersected, in direct copy of a Gothic window. Fig. 221 from Dedham is an example of the niched or tabernacle form, where saints are carved with projecting canopies over, here almost obliterated. Below and above is the long erocketted stem of 1450. These doors are completely traceried, with a fixed lunette above the transom, below which the two doors open.

Waldingfield, Fig. 222, has the narrow vertical panels moulded to a central ridge, the embryonic linenfold which marks the latter half of the fifteenth century. The same detail may be noticed in the north door of Boxford, Fig. 223. Kersey west door, Fig. 224, is of simple framed mullioned type with tracery carved from the solid. The large doors, with wicket, from the ruined castle of Framlingham, Fig. 225, have tlie panels completely moulded, with applied ribs, fixed with large square-headed nails. It


jo it. v in», to apex ; 0 it. 9 ins. to springing ; 5 it. 11 ins. wide. Early sixteenth century.

will be remarked, at this period, that there is no distinct line of demarcation between church and castle doors, excepting for the flattening, or four centring of the arched head.

Stowmarket Church, Fig. 226, has the early linenfold type of door, framed with mullions and with sharply ridged panels between. The ribboned and niched border is unusual. The back view, Fig. 227, shows the half-lapped battening tenoned into the outer framing, together with the dovetail-jointing of the uprights on the arch-springirg. Great Healings, Fig 22S, is framed with broad transom below the lancet-head, with solid-carved tracer)- and ridged panels.

Twolrich doors from the first years of the sixteenth century are illustrated in Figs. 229 and 230. Both are framed with slender mullions and broad transoms. In the Stoke-by-Xayland doors the dividing bead is in buttress-form, whereas at East Bergholt, it is turned and richly carved in patterns which suggest the dawn of the Renaissance in England. This is the later type of the two, broader and flatter in the arch, and with the moulded panels finished in the true linenfold manner, whereas at Stoke-by-Xayland, this detail is merely suggested. Stoke-by-Nayland chancel door, Fig. 231, is constructed of planks or boards, carved with the linenfold, and with moulded framing applied,—early construction in a late door.

A fine pair of linenfold doors from Paycockes, Coggeshall, of the framed early-sixteenth-century type, is shown in Fig. 232. At the back is a framing of four cross-rails and four upright styles, tenoned and mortised, the three panels to each door being diagonally cross-braced, the bracings half-lapped to the inside upright styles. On the front, the linenfold is carved in bold relief, and the side posts are surmounted by two figures, of a Crusader and a monk, which support carved and moulded capitals under the elaborate wall-plate.

The beautiful door-posts and brackets, Fig. 233, are taken from a house in Water Street, Lavenham, and show the decorative use of figure sculpture, in the enrichment of the timber houses of the last years of the fifteenth century. The doors are of considerably later date.

Another fine door from Paycockes is given in Fig. 234. It has the appearance of an interior door put to an exterior use. The mason's-mitrirg of the moulded styles on the outside framing, and the scribing of the central muntins, can be seen in the illustration. It should be unnecessary to point out that the modern method of mitring mouldings by cutting at their ends to an angle of 45 degrees was very rarely practised at this period. Cutting one moulding, in reversed profile over another,—or scribing as it is

termed—or buttirg with square edge and then working the return of the moulding in the solid,- the mason's-mitre,— were practically the only methods which were used in woodwork of this period. The modern mitre appears, and then only in exceptional instances, towards the middle of the sixteenth century.

To this early sixteenth century belongs the oak door with its surround, from Church Farm, Clare, Suffolk, Fig. 235, which may be taken a^a representative specimen of a timber house door of the unostentatious kind. The construction of this door is exceptional. On a framed back the front boards are nailed, each with a slight overlap over the next, or clinker-boarded, to use the technical term, the left-hand edge of each (that is, the one which is not hidden by the overlapping of the next) being moulded with a scratch-bead. The original iron strap hinges, which are missing, were cut in across the width of the boards, at varying depths according to the forward projection, as the boards, in cross-section, are arranged thus :- -

Each board is nailed to the framing behind, with four courses of clout-headed iron nails. There are, of course, no vertical ribs, as the construction forbids.

This series of oak doors may be closed with the parchemin panel, which is contemporary with the linenfold. x\t Southwold, Figs. 236 and 237, the parchemin pattern is shown on the front and the linenfold on the back, an unusual degree of enrichment in an early-sixteenth-century door. On the front are several purely Renaissance motives

From Norwich Castle Museum Bv permission of Frank Leney, Etq Early sixteenth century.

introduced into the upper panels, and on the back the same influence is noticeable in the two upper cross-rails. Fig. 23S is an interesting door from Norwich Castle Museum, square framed with vertical moulded mullions, and with an inscription carved on the two cross-rails as follows : Maria ; Plena ; Grade ; Mater : Mis(ericordie) Remembyr : Willia(m) Lowth : Prior XVIII- The William Louth, or Lowth, referred to was the eighteenth Prior of Walsirgham.

We have progressed, thus far, from the timber house with its porch and its door, to the Great Hall with open timber roof and the smaller chamber with carved beamed ceiling, and have, thereby, prepared the way for the next two chapters- the most important in the history of English domestic woodwork where it is proposed to deal with the subject of wall-panellings at some length, and, in a more restricted fashion, with the growth in importance of the staircase, the development of which had the effect of radically altering the plan of the Tudor house, and, in a lesser degree, its elevation also. There are definite types of panelling, both in point of date and locality, which permit of illustration and explanation, whereas this is only approximately true of staircases. It is not that the latter do not vary ; they differ with ever}' example. Added to this, staircases are not as plentiful as panellings, for obvious reasons. In the usual house, one, or at the most, two stairways were sufficient for access to the upper floors, whereas nearly every room was panelled as a rule. It is possible, nevertheless, to class them roughly into the early and unimportant -one might almost say, the concealed-the heavy and ornate, and the latest development where the staircase becomes very refined and delicate in its proportions. The last phase carries us past the seventeenth and into the eighteenth century, a period which is beyond the scope of the present book.

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