Wattle & Daub: Craft, Conservation & Wiltshire Case Study
3.6 Daub
4.1 Soils
4.1.3 Strength
4.2 Dung
4.2.2 Lignin
4.2.3 Urine
4.3 Fibre
5.4.2 Renewal

Title Page Previous Next | Wattle and Daub in Wiltshire

6 Wattle and Daub in Wiltshire

From the viewpoint of a West Country timber building conservator, the national knowledge base on wattle and daub cannot immediately be applied since its relevance to the region is not usually stated. This problem does not arise when working in The South, East or West Midlands since much information is explicitly stated as applying to one or many of those areas. For this reason, it is useful to study an area such as Wiltshire in order to validate the applicability of national knowledge, reject other nationally-based data and add local knowledge based on new discoveries.

The intent of this study was to look at variations of wattle and daub across the county. Different styles were anticipated due to the diversity of geology, density of woodland and agricultural practice and social development.

An initial l review of the literature indicated that detailed information did not exist and therefore fieldwork would be necessary. In the absence of any guiding factors, a random sample of buildings was planned, for which any exposed wattle and daub would be recorded and analysed. To assure a comprehensive and consistent method of description, use was made of the recording template (Appendix 2).
Where samples of loose daub could be taken (i.e. where they had fallen from the wattle), these would be analysed by the methods described in Section 5.4.2 and so provide a more detailed understanding of the material. Further, if sufficient samples were available, it might be possible to test the opposing hypotheses stating, on the one hand, that soils from around the building would be used, and, on the other, that transportation of materials was frequently practiced. This could be tested by looking for a correlation between daub soil types with the underlying ground, the latter established using geology maps. To allow for localised deviation from the maps, such as caused by outwash, the house owner was also asked for a description of the soil.