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Medieval Smoke-blackened thatch in England

Citation: Alcock, Nat and Currie, Christopher (2008) Medieval Smoke-blackened thatch in England. In: Toits D'Europe II, 6-10 Oct 2008, Centre d' études mediévales, Auxerre. (Unpublished)


Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0

This paper summarized for a European audience what was known about the causes, distribution, and significance of smoke-blackened thatch in England, backed by the authors' photographs,and concludes with a caveat, based on original research, against uncritical acceptance of the evidence of thatch composition as an indication of late-medieval agricultural practices.

Creators: Alcock, Nat and Currie, Christopher and
Subjects: Economics
Keywords: Medieval, agriculture, building, vernacular houses, thatching, heating, crop species
Divisions: Institute of Historical Research
  • 8 October 2008 (submitted)
References: Alcock, N. W. (1966). «A Devon farm: Bury Barton, Lapford», Trans Devonshire Assoc. 98 (1966) 105-131. Alcock, N. W. and M. Laithwaite(1973). «Medieval houses in Devon and their modernisation», Medieval Archaeol. 17 (1973), 100-25. Alcock, N. W. (1978). «Vernacular Architecture: Historical Evidence and Historical Problems», in I. M. Quimby (ed.), Material culture and the study of American live: Proc 1975 Winterthur Conference (1978). Cox, J. and J. Thorp (2001). Devon Thatch: An illustrated history of thatching and thatched buildings in Devon, Tiverton, 2001. Currie, C.R.J. (1976). «Early Domestic Architecture in North Berkshire, c. 1300- c. 1650» (Oxford University D.Phil. Thesis). English Heritage, 2001. Thatch and thatching: a guidance note, London. Gawne, E. and J. Saunders (1998). Early Dartmoor Farmhouses: Longhouses in Widecombe, Orchard Publications [place not given]. Letts, J. (2000). Smoke blackened thatch: a unique source of late medieval plant remains from southern England. with contributions by J. Moir, D. Smith and D. De Moulins, Reading. Moir, J., and J. B. Letts (1999). Thatch: Thatching in England 1790-1940, English Heritage research transactions 5, London. Vernacular Architecure Group (2008). Programme for Vernacular Architecture Group Spring Conference in Devon 2008: organised by Roger Waterhouse and Keystone Historic Buildings consultants, March 2008.


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