Lecture Details and Reviews

The Mapledurham Estate through Dendrochronology

5th February, 2013 Dr Daniel Miles

Ruth Gibson has contributed the following notes.

Dan Miles’ work in tree-ring dating buildings in our Group’s area of interest goes back to 1989, after we had recorded the two barns at ‘Barn Grounds’ standing in a large field in Binfield Heath just across from the ‘Bottle & Glass’ PH. Dan was involved in the cruck survey of the Midlands at that time and identified the re-used timbers of the south barn as cruck blades, used upside down, and dating to 1452.

Since then Dan has dendro dated many buildings in and around Henley giving us immensely useful bench marks for comparisons with other similar buildings for which we have no construction dates. On the way he has gained his doctorate in dendrochronology in Oxford, where he also teaches this very specialist subject. He runs the Oxford Dendro Laboratory, which has produced the dates for the research undertaken recently by the Victoria County History for the two Henley publications. Pride of place is taken by the ‘Old Bell’, the 1325 built surviving cross wing of what must have been a hall house. The dating of the Tudor main range at Harpsden Court was another significant land mark, since it led to the realization that there are many similarities with the ‘new’ buildings at Greys Court by Elizabethan courtier Sir Francis Knollys; similarly dated by Dan to the later C16th.

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