10th January 17

Adlington Hall’s Tudor Past and Recent Restoration

Grade 1 Listed Adlington Hall c1040, is home to some of the oldest English oak timber framing, in the county of Cheshire.
The stunning east wing of the quadrant is Tudor c1581 – amazingly some of the oak remaining today show signs of being from an earlier period, many beams have fascinating carpenter workings on them, showing they had another life in medieval times. These have been recycled from other structures that were once present on the estate.
In 2008,  Mrs C. Legh, the present owner of Adlington Hall who’s family have been here since 1315AD, undertook a substantial project to restore the majority of the east wing back to it’s original Tudor appearance. The goal was to return the building, as authentically as possible, as to when it was first built all those centuries ago.
The restoration entailed a whole host of sympathetic and lengthy, specialist restoration procedures, but all important was the removal of the incorrect ‘black and white’ appearance of the structure as was causing severe decay.  The Tudors did not put tar on the beams in their day, when the hall would have been built.  Tarring beams was a Victorian fad in pursuit of aesthetics, this is what gave the black and white façade.  By applying tar to the beams, they thought they were sealing and protecting the beams, when they were actually sealing and rotting them by trapping moisture inside hastening decay.  When removing the tar, care was taken to ensure that centuries of priceless, oak beam patina and character were left intact, along with fascinating carpenters markings that can be seen.

One of our Tudor beams showing carpenters marks and also a 'pocket' showing that this beam was from a earlier building

One of our Tudor beams showing carpenters marks and also a ‘pocket’ showing that this beam was from a earlier building

The achievement of Mrs Legh’s restoration was the glorious return of exactly how the Tudor Legh’s intended the structure to look.  A beautiful and impressive timber frame building made from English oak, all felled on the Adlington Hall Estate.
We have  over recent weeks seen the completion of another restoration project, this time within the Tudor wing.  The beams of the Tudor Tearoom have been cleaned and nourished with natural beeswax, ready for winter and for our opening in Easter 2017.
The timber beams were once all hand selected by Tudor master craftsmen and the carpenters spent hundreds of hours shaping and carving them by hand.  In honour of their craft, keeping the wood nourished and looking it’s best is very important to us.  We do this by removing all dust and applying Timber Reviver.

As mentioned in earlier blogs, we are avid users of an all natural beeswax solution from Cambridgeshire Traditional Products, that stabilises and revitalises ancient beams.  Perfect for our precious oak!

Stephen Jones, Hall Caretaker

 

The below pictures show work from beginning to end, on the Tea Room beams.

A working progress

A work in progress

 

3-beforeafter

The left shows before Cambridgeshire Beewax treatment. The right shows after treatment.

 

More before and after treatment comparison

More before and after treatment comparison

 

All finished

All finished

Blog and photographs by Stephen Jones, Adlington Caretaker.

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