Previous topics

Winter training and education programme

For forthcoming events see winter meetings page.

Previous winter 2015-16 lectures

Changing styles and merits of WBSG reports over the past 40 years
Jeremy Clarke examined recording and report styles used by the group since the 1970's, demonstrating what our Group provided to householders before the days of word processing and digital photography.
From Trees to Timbers
Illustrated comparative study by Peter Varlow of four houses built between 1335 and 1607, examining the transition in methods of conversion of trees into timber, assessing the quantities used and the amount of woodland the houses consumed.
Gibbshaven re-interpreted
Jeremy Clarke examined how collective knowledge of vernacular architecture has changed since then, and covered documentary evidence that adds to the chronology of the building.
The re-roofing project at Knole
Nathalie Cohen, National Trust Regional Archaeologist, showed us the first stage of the massive project to conserve Knole, including repairing more than 5 acres of roof.
The Earl of Arundel's Hunting Lodge
Dr. Mark Roberts, University College London, explained the landscape and first archaeological findings on the site of the lost Lodge at Downley, high above Singleton on the Downs.
Hearth and Home
Dr Geoffrey Mead, local landscape studies specialist, on how the vernacular housing of Sussex is heavily influenced by the local materials to build hearth and home, linking the availability of these materials to the underlying geology.
Petworth - buildings in the Park
Tom Dommett, Regional Consultant Archaeologist, National Trust, and director of archaeological excavations for the Petworth Park Restoration Project, discussed the the last 3 years' investigations of the multiplicity of structures that have been successively demolished as the landscape of the Park has evolved over the centuries.
Tillington and Upperton village surveys Annabelle Hughes and Pam Bruce summarised their work in these adjacent villages just west of Petworth Park.
Secrets of the High Woods Alice Thorne gave an illustrated lecture on LiDAR work ('light detection and ranging', which uses lasers to map the earth surface three-dimensionally) for a survey othe chalk ridge and dipslope between Arundel in the east and as far as the A3 in the west.

Previous winter 2014-15 lectures

Candle burn marks - accidental or on purpose?
Was about those mysterious burn marks, seen so often in houses with beams that were in place by around the 17th ce.ntury. They are getting less mysterious - thanks to recent practical experiments. Introduced by Peter Varlow.
Bring-a-Brick session - brick identification
We started with an excellent short video of ancient and modern clamp brick firing in Sussex, then we handled and identified samples of bricks that span five centuries. Presented by Peter Varlow.
Researching Wall Hill Farm to discover more about the early history of Forest Row
Jeremy Clarke demonstrated how study of a standing building and the documentary records can be developed using Lidar and other tools to help better to understand the use of the wider landscape in early settlements.
Rafter holes, a carpenter's viewpoint
An illustrated talk by Joe Thompson, Carpenter in Residence at the Weald & Downland Museum, drawing on his practical experience and research into historic carpentry to show why he believes holes often found near the foot of early rafters are there.
Steyning Grammar School and its history
Tree-ring dating provides good evidence that construction of the main building was likely to have been in 1451 or soon after. This talk by Janet Pennington examined some of the alterations it has undergone over the centuries since c.1451, and gave us a new and colourful insight into some aspects of Tudor and Jacobean schooling.
Farm buildings of the Weald
A talk by David Martin based upon his and Barbara Martin’s book ‘Farm Buildings of the Weald 1450-1750’, 2006. When they began their 25 years of research, the High Weald of East Sussex, a wood/pasture region, was exceptional for the number of surviving early farm buildings on its mostly small family farms.
A new Pevsner guide to West Sussex
Elizabeth Williamson, editor and researcher, discussed her project to substantially revise the West Sussex Pevsner, and requested our assistance.