The Oldest Extant Houses: The Homes of Medieval Rural Folk in East Anglia.
with Philip Aitkens (Historic Buildings Consultant)
at Sutton Hoo on Saturday, 3rd February, 2018

A study of the little open-hall houses found in most of the villages of High Suffolk and some of South-east Norfolk; the best evidence we have of medieval rural lifestyle, varying greatly in plan-form, size and quality.

Provisional Programme

09.50 – 10.15:          Coffee on arrival

10.15 – 11.15:          The Medieval Landscape in High Suffolk
– Farms and farming
– Depression and recovery

11.15 – 11.40:          Coffee break

11.40 – 12.40:          The Planning of Medieval Farmhouses
– Warmth and coldness
– Living-space and lofts

12.40 – 14.00:          Lunch break

14.00 – 14.50:          Carpentry
– Roofs, doors and windows
– Regional distinctions
– Influences and traditions

14.50 – 15.10:          Tea break

15.10 – 16.00:          Origins and Throwbacks
– Reuse and rebuilding; chimneys
– The dawn of modern living

c.16.00:                   Thanks and Close

About Philip Aitkens

Philip Aitkens is a retired Historic Buildings Consultant based at Hengrave near Bury St Edmunds.  He trained with Conservation Architects the Whitworth Co Partnership in the 1970s.  After working on the Listed Buildings Resurvey of Suffolk for English Heritage in the 1980s, he began his practice as an architectural historian in 1988.  His interests have included medieval carpentry, early farm buildings, and interior design, especially Georgian wallpaper, in vernacular houses.  Philip is in the process of writing books on some of these subjects.

Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

Alcock N., & Miles D., The medieval peasant house in midland England (Oxbow Books 2013).  

Bailey, M., Medieval Suffolk: an economic and social history, 1200-1500 (Boydell  & Brewer 2010).

Dymond, D. P., & Martin, E. A. (Eds), An historical atlas of Suffolk. Archaeology Service (Suffolk County Council 1999).

Harris R., Discovering timber-framed buildings (Bucks 1978).

Martin, Whittick & Brisco, Rural medieval and transitional housing in the eastern High Weald 1250-c1570  (Domtom 2017).

Sandon, E., West, S., & Owles, E., Suffolk houses: a study of domestic architecture (Baron 1977).

Scarfe, N., The Suffolk Landscape (Phillimore 2002).

Stenning, D. F., & Andrews, D. D. (Eds), Regional variation in timber-framed building in England and Wales down to 1550: the proceedings of the 1994 Cressing conference (Essex County Council Planning 1998).

Walker, J., The English Medieval Roof: Crownpost to Kingpost (Essex Historic Buildings Group 2011).