VAG Research Grants Scheme
A brief summary of the funded projects is given below.
Grants Awarded 2016
Discovering pre-1700 houses in Denbighshire and Flintshire (Margaret Dunn)
This project, which is match-funded from various sources continues a long-running programme of dating old Welsh houses. Its aim is to better understand the pre-1700 houses of north-east Wales, by analysing, recording and dendro-dating a small number of carefully selected houses.
Scientific dating of two barns attributed to Abbot John Moot (Lee Prosser and Tansy Collins)
This project aims to tree-ring date two further, newly-discovered examples of a group of late 14th century barns built by the Abbey of St Albans.
Lincolnshire’s Vernacular Architecture in the Middle Trent (Ken Hollamby)
The project aims to establish the character of the pre-Enclosure housing stock of the Trent Valley by studying groups of buildings, allied with documentary research to establish the context and history of both the pre- and post-Enclosure buildings.
The historical development of the market area of Diss, Norfolk (Jessica Johnston)
The project aims to survey and date a number of buildings within the market area of Diss, Norfolk, to gain an understanding of the building phases, to gain a greater understanding of the physical characteristics of vernacular buildings and to promote community involvement with heritage in the local area.
Thatch as an historic vernacular building practice (Fidelma Mullane)
The project seeks to finish the examination and analysis of thatching practices in Ireland over a three-hundred year period. This grant relates to the period 1600-1900.
Humble Heritage: four rural dwellings in Serbia (Jelena Pejkovic)
This project aims to record the remains of houses and homesteads in four villages spread over three regions of Serbia.
Grants Awarded 2015
Dendrochronological Dating at Plas Teg, Mold, North Wales (Mark Baker)
Plas Teg is one of Wales’s most important Jacobean mansions, but also enigmatic. Dendro-dating forms part of a wider project of research in to the building to question whether it was built in 1610 to the designs of John Thorpe.
Frensham Manor, Rolvenden, Kent: Dendrochronological Survey (Brendan Chester-Kadwell)
This project aims to contribute to a building recording survey of Frensham Manor and establish the different phases of the house, and to assist the dating of early brickwork in the area.
All season monitoring of Lincolnshire Mud and Stud houses and dendro-dating (Dr Marcin Kolakowski)
The project aims to monitor environmental aspects of mud and stud buildings, of which 400 or so are believed to survive. Of this, one house is proposed to be dendro-dated.
Medieval Renters in Coventry and Tewkesbury (Bob Meeson and Nat Alcock)
This project aims to obtain felling dates for a renter in Spon St, Coventry and the Merchant’s House, Tewkesbury (with a contingency for C14 dating if unsuccessful).
Recording the Secondary Settlements near Stubik, Serbia (Jelena Pejkovic)
The project aims to record three buildings belonging to a system of secondary settlements in eastern Serbia, as part of the Institute’s on-going project to fully document the listed buildings of Serbia.
Wiltshire Dendrochronological Project, Phase 2 (Pamela Slocombe)
The project aims to continue the Phase 1 study of the evolution of roof types in Wiltshire from the 13th to the 16th century by studying a variety of structures.
Grants Awarded 2014
- List to follow ...
Grants Awarded 2013
Study of Hickman’s Cottages, East Hendred, Oxfordshire (Nat Alcock)
To record and date by radio-carbon methods a previously undated house, known to have the widest span of any Oxfordshire cruck. Also to give training in recording methods.
Tree-ring dating in the Staffordshire Moorlands (Faith Cleverdon)
This project aims to consolidate past work carried out in the area by adding buildings to the sample which were not previously accessible.
Recording Farmworkers’ Graffiti at Cragend Farm, Rothbury (Dr Gillian Eadie)
The project seeks to accurately record surviving 19th and 20th century farmworkers’ graffiti located at Cragend Farm as evidence of both the development of the farm and its place in the wider context of the changing social climate of the First and Second World Wars. The project will use photography, tracing and transcriptions, and will identify avenues for further study.
The Grosmont Manuscript Map of 1588 (Ken Palmer)
The project seeks to support the publication of a book, arising from a VAG memorial prize essay and VA publication, and particularly to enable the book to use colour illustrations.
Community and Vernacular Environment in Tamilnadu, India (Lakshmi Priyaa Raajendran)
The grant provides support towards travel and subsistence costs in giving a paper at an international conference in Athens, where the applicant's research on spatial planning of a 150 year-old settlement of the Brahmin community in Tamilnadu will be presented. Her study substantiates the relevance of the spatial planning principles of the vernacular settlement in the present urban built environment and how it can facilitate architects and urban planners to create more meaningful relationships between people and place.
The Crown Rental Llanaber 163 (Peter Thompson)
The project aims to establish a small community research and recording group and discover more about the historic built environment based on the list of buildings and occupants at that date contained in the Crown Rental. The project will promote an enhanced understanding of the historic built environment through the close involvement of the local community. The grant is requested for tree-ring dating, equipment, travel and materials.
Grants Awarded 2012
Study of the Historic Buildings of Walsingham (Dr Adam Longcroft)
The Walsingham Project is the third research project led by the Norfolk Historic Buildings Group, and follows two highly successful earlier projects (The New Buckenham Project and The Tacolneston Project). Walsingham is rich in surviving medieval structures and in post-medieval buildings of Jacobethan origin but, despite the status of the town as one of the foremost pilgrimage centres in England, little is known of the building stock, the function of the surviving properties or their development over time. The project aims to record to a high level of detail the surviving historic buildings whilst also placing them into a meaningful environmental context. It will involve a comprehensive study of the documents of the town which will be used to shed new light onto the development, ownership and function of the buildings in question.
All Saints Cottages, North Street, York (Dr Jayne Rimmer)
The aims of this project are to secure an accurate date for All Saints Cottages, North Street, York (a row of three fifteenth-century cottages), to achieve a sophisticated understanding of the timber used in the construction of the building and to address the social significance of the different framing methods and layouts used within the cottages across the row. The framing is complex; each cottage within the row is constructed in a different way and one of the cottages is significantly larger and contains a ‘hall-wing’. Although previous studies have agreed that this is a fifteenth century building, opinions differ as to whether it was built in the first or the second half of that century. Securing an accurate date through dendrochronological analysis would resolve this debate and provide a definite example by which other buildings in York could be compared. This project builds on the applicant’s 2011 project which undertook a feasibility study of four late-medieval timber-framed buildings in York, and addresses further questions which arose from this investigation.
Newport (Essex) Dendro Dating Project (John Anthony Tuck)
Newport has a very large number of timber-framed buildings. The project’s aim is to use dendrochronology to date the timbers of five of these Grade II or II* listed buildings. It will add to knowledge from documentary sources and thus shed light on their building history and their place in the history of the village’s built environment. The work forms part of the Newport Victoria County History Project. The houses which it is proposed to date are: Monks Barn; The Old Vicarage; The Old Priory/Priory Cottage; 7 Belmont Hill; Tudor House. Crown House, which is well-recorded, is a marginal candidate for dating.
Dwelling in England – publication costs for research monograph (Adrian Green)
Following a VAG grant awarded in 2011, additional funding was awarded to Adrian Green towards the publication of his book entitled Dwelling in England: Houses, Society and the Market, 1550-1750, to be published by Cambridge University Press.
Grants Awarded 2011
Dwelling in England – publication costs for research monograph (Adrian Green)
Since completing my PhD in 2000 I have been working on a research monograph, which is now ready for publication. This book, entitled Dwelling in England: Houses, Society and the Market, 1550-1750, is being published by Cambridge University Press, in their Social and Cultural Histories Series. The current application is to cover the costs of my original survey drawings being redrawn to publication standard, and for the costs of publishing photographs and other images.
Dendrochronology in the Manor of Lyddington (Nick Hill)
To carry out a small programme of dendrochronology, in support of the VAG Spring Conference of 2012 and buildings research in the region. This small project forms part of wider studies. A long-term project over the last twenty years by Nick Hill has been researching the houses of Rutland and East Leicestershire, from the medieval period to c1800, with detailed building surveys and analysis, including several recent surveys of houses in the Lyddington area. Lyddington Manor History Society was formed in 2010 to investigate and promote public interest in the history of the buildings and their inhabitants in the Rutland Manor of Lyddington. Besides Lyddington itself, the Manor includes the villages of Caldecott, Stoke Dry and Thorpe by Water. Lyddington Manor History Society has embarked on a project to investigate the history of the manor, particularly its buildings and their inhabitants. This project will also act as a stimulus to promote local interest and access for the planned visit to Lyddington of the VAG Spring Conference in 2012.
Coombe Farm, alias Combe Prior, Plymstock, Devon (Colin Humphries)
To undertake standing building recording on a late medieval (monastic) and later farmhouse, to explore its development with regard to the late monastic and post-Dissolution history of the property.
To undertake a programme of dendrological dating on the farmhouse and adjacent (monastic) threshing barn, contributing to the dendrological work already undertaken in the South Hams.
To undertake additional documentary research on the monastic and post-Dissolution history and development of Combe Prior, to place this important site in its economic and social context.
Dendrochronological Dating of York Rows – feasibility study (Jayne Rimmer)
The aim of this project is to examine whether it is feasible to dendrochronologically date a selection of surviving timber-framed late-medieval small houses in central York. It will determine any potential for full dendrochronological analysis and evaluate whether the current set of available survey plans are accurate. The York Rows are an important group of timber-framed buildings, as they form one of the largest urban assemblages of single-celled dwellings in the country. These rows of small houses offer valuable insights into the domestic lives of the labouring and semi-skilled artisan classes of the late-medieval city and play a significant role in our understanding of urban vernacular architecture at this level. The construction dates for these buildings has largely been obtained from documentary evidence, aesthetic details and technological comparisons. The documentary evidence used to date the York Rows is particularly unreliable; charters authorising the erection of these houses on church land have been used as evidence for the actual date of construction. There is no firm evidence to suggest the construction date corresponds to the date of these charters. Given the highly variable nature of timber from medieval York, and the problems associated with obtaining accurate dates from dendrochronological analysis in the city in the past, the proposed feasibility study to gauge what may be achievable is necessary in advance of any future dating and recording work. The identification of absolute dates would perfect our understanding of the chronological development of the York Rows and the wider role that small houses played within the late-medieval urban built environment.
The 1546 Ashbourne Map (Tony Short)
The map of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, is in the record office at Kew and is attached to a legal dispute over the enclosure of a drover road from Offcote into Ashbourne, dated 1546. The plan illustrates the dot, dash pattern of the layout with a court behind one house and a gabled house next door. There are at least six dwellings still standing that are worth recording that are identifiable on the map. Thus it is hoped to study, record, and measure these buildings dating prior to the map, or of about this time, in order to study the growth pattern of the town. This project will use dendrochronological analysis and also undertake further searches for documents prior to publication of the research.
Report on Day School on Medieval Roofs (John Walker)
The objective is to publish all papers given at the 2008 Essex Historic Buildings Group Day School on Medieval Roofs, with papers on East Anglia (David Stenning), Hampshire (Edward Roberts), Midlands (Bob Meeson), Devon (John Thorp), Northern England (Robert Hook), Yorkshire (Barry Harrison), Queen post roofs in East Anglia (Philip Aitkens), plus an introduction and overview (John Walker). These papers are by the leading experts on vernacular architecture and will be extensively illustrated in the book to provide the most detailed insight into the development of the medieval roofs since J T Smith's paper in 1958.
Grants Awarded 2010
A comprehensive survey of Lower Brockhampton, Herefordshire (Jill Campbell)
Lower Brockhampton is a timber framed manor house, complete with hall, cross wing and timber framed gatehouse which bridges the moat. Although the gatehouse has been the subject of a detailed architectural and archaeological analysis, including tree-ring dating, the house is still relatively poorly understood. The aim of this project is to rectify this situation and augment a wider research project concerning the design of medieval gentry buildings. This will be achieved through a combination of: tree-ring analysis of the house to refine the chronology; creation of a 3D model using PhoToPlan to form a basis for structural analysis of the hall and cross wing; a geophysical survey of the inside of the moat to establish if there was a second cross wing and/or other ancilliary structures; the creation of an accurate plan of the site surveying in the house, moat, gatehouse and chapel in order to better place the house in its setting.
North West Wales Dendrochronology Project - year 2 (Margaret Dunn)
The project aim is to fill an historical/architectural gap in knowledge and understanding relating to the early built heritage of north-west Wales, covering Anglesey and parts of Gwynedd, Conwy and Denbighshire. This area contains rare and endangered examples of Welsh buildings erected before 1700, for most of which there is only a vague architectural record. 1485-1700 was a key period in the development of the farmsteads and estates of the gentry and yeomen farmers during which the foundations of the local built and environmental landscapes were laid down. The project aims to combine dendrochronological analysis, architectural survey and documentary research to address this gap in knowledge whilst also providing training and encouraging wider community involvement.
Dendrochronology assessment for Towcester and Potterspury, Northamptonshire (Brian Giggins and Rod Conlon)
The overall aim is to examine the feasibility of dendrochronological dating of a selection of timber-framed buildings to support an on-going project of settlement surveys in the market town of Towcester, which has origins as a Roman town, and the nearby village of Potterspury, which was a significant local pottery centre in the medieval and post-medieval periods. The settlement studies include extensive documentary research, historic map analysis and building recording but would be significantly enhanced by the application of dendrochronology. Northamptonshire and North Buckinghamshire have previously been identified as areas that have a preponderance of buildings with timbers derived from wide-ringed trees unsuitable for dendrochronological dating. Hence a dendrochronological assessment of a selection of buildings in both Towcester and Potterspury is considered necessary to determine whether or not to pursue dendrochronological analysis in either settlement.
The Dovecotes and Pigeon Lofts of Wiltshire (Pamela Slocombe, Wiltshire Buildings Record)
The aim of this project is to publish the results of completed fieldwork and analysis of the county's dovecotes and pigeon lofts undertaken by John and Pamela McCann. This will be a valuable resource within the county and allow comparison with other counties where similar studies have been carried out (eg Rutland, Somerset, Suffolk). The book covers all the known existing dovecotes, including those that no longer exist but for which information is available. Pigeon lofts are especially numerous in the county and can be found in houses and many types of outbuilding as a secondary feature. Representative examples of pigeon lofts have been included due to the large numbers still extant.
Grants Awarded 2009
High-resolution radiocarbon dating of Midlands cruck buildings (Nat Alcock)
The aim of this project is to provide dating evidence through the application of wiggle-matched high resolution radiocarbon dating to a small number of buildings. Some 110 houses were surveyed and sampled for tree-ring dating as part of the Leverhulme Trust funded project 'The Medieval Peasant House in the Midlands'. At the time of the original work approximately 25% of the houses could not be dated by dendrochronology. Although some of these undated buildings have close typological similarities to dated buildings and can reasonably be presumed to be similar in date, a small number, including some of the most potentially interesting, remain undateable. The use of high resolution radiocarbon dating and the potential to undertake wiggle-matching of multiple samples from, for example, a single timber can now provide dates with sufficient precision to be of genuine value in understanding building typology. Thus it is hoped to augment the original project by obtaining secure dates for several buildings of particular significance for understanding the development of peasant buildings.
Dendrochronology in Steventon, Oxfordshire (David Clark)
The overall aim of this small project, co-ordinated by the Oxfordshire Buildings Record, is to attempt to establish firm dates for all the buildings to be visited by delegates to the 2011 VAG conference to be held in Oxfordshire. The county has a remarkable diversity of building materials and roof types, but most dating has hitherto been done on stylistic comparisons. As more detailed recording has been carried out, the wider the diversity of structures has become, and so there is a need to establish clear chronologies, some of which are likely to be quite local in nature. The present application focuses on two houses in Steventon, an important medieval village in the Vale of White Horse. A great deal of work was done on the village houses by Dr Chris Currie, and published in Oxoniensia (1992), but nevertheless many outstanding questions remain. The two selected buildings are the subject of much speculation and it is therefore hoped that detailed investigation, including survey and dendrochronological analysis, will provide a clearer understanding their development.
North West Wales Dendrochronology Project (Margaret Dunn)
The aim of this large project is to fill an historical/architectural gap in knowledge and understanding relating to the early built heritage of north-west Wales, covering Anglesey and parts of Gwynedd, Conwy and Denbighshire. This area contains rare and endangered examples of Welsh buildings erected before 1700, for most of which there is only a vague architectural record. 1485-1700 was a key period in the development of the farmsteads and estates of the gentry and yeomen farmers during which the foundations of the local built and environmental landscapes were laid down. The project aims to combine dendrochronological analysis, architectural survey and documentary research to address this gap in knowledge whilst also providing training and encouraging wider community involvement.
Coggeshall Timber Frame Dating Project (Alan Willis)
Coggeshall is one of the best preserved of the 30 or so market towns of medieval origin in Essex. The large number of timber-framed buildings are evidence of the cloth industry which flourished in the town from the 15th century but went into decline in the 18th century. This large project being co-ordinated by the Coggeshall Heritage Society aims to use a combination of dendrochronology, building recording and historical research on a carefully selected area of presumed market infill in the historic town centre of Coggeshall to try to shed light on the town's development and economy, and to enhance our knowledge of Essex timber-frame buildings. The project will be able to build on existing knowledge of the town from records of its historic buildings and limited tree-ring dating. It is hoped to promote an enhanced understanding and appreciation of the historic built environment through the close involvement with the local community and in promoting tourist interest.
Note: No applicants were involved in the selection of successful bids.