80 people met in the fine early sixteenth-century hall of King’s School in Grantham on Saturday 11 March for a vibrant conference on the vernacular buildings of the town.
Walking tours were led by members of Grantham Civic Trust, with special inputs from Professors David Stocker and Philip Dixon, visiting the Blue Pig (late C16, half-timbered), Vine Street, the Artichoke (C15), Market Place, Conduit, Westgate, George Inn and the Angel Inn.
Afternoon talks were as follows:
The Little-Known Historic Buildings of Grantham
Grantham has a rare example of a C13 ‘stack’ building in Butcher Row at the corner of the Market Place. This survives only as a fine vaulted undercroft below what was a mercer’s shop exposed by late C19 building work.
The Blue Pig is an example of a linear building with a shop end-on to the street, dating from the C16. By contrast, a ‘side-on’ building, with its entrance from a passage at the side of the building, is seen at the Malt Shovel and The Artichoke.
There are records of numerous other significant buildings in the town which have been demolished but there is also much that remains to be discovered – often with timber-framing – behind brick or stucco frontages.
Using Probate Inventories to Establish House Types
Probate inventories, which only relate to households above a certain size, list the possessions of the deceased room by room. Dr Manterfield’s detailed analysis of 500 inventories of Grantham households reveals changes in both room terminology and function between the C16 and C17 periods.
The number or rooms per household also increased; additional chambers were recorded and cellars appeared for the first time. It will be instructive to relate these documentary sources to the surveys of surviving buildings of the same periods.
What does Building Recording Involve?
This experienced retired professional fieldworker shared his wide experience of recording a variety of buildings, emphasising the simple basics which enable him to generate a floor plan and elevation drawing.
A successful project may bring in more advanced skills – photography, dendrochronology, archive research, archaeology, report writing – but building recording creates opportunities for contributions for anyone with an interest in the construction and history of old buildings.
Photographs: Top - The original C16 Grammar School Hall, venue of the conference
Middle - The Antelope, Swinegate. Prof. David Stocker outlines its significance.
Bottom - The Angel, Watergate. Prof. Philip Dixon with conference members prepare to enter the late C15 inn.