HALF-TIMBERED CHURCHES

We’re familiar with the usual materials for building churches – stone, flint and brick. Wood is, of course, the usual substance inside for roofs and pews, but few churches use it externally. In Worcestershire, a cluster of churches to the east and south of the county city employ half-timbering outside. Its use in towers varies from the early 16th century Warndon (1), where the whole tower is timber-framed, to Defford (2), where the use is restricted to the belfry stage. At Dormaston (3), the wooden tower sits on a stone base. Unlike the others, the c. 14th tower at Pirton (4) is not at the west end; this is flanked by short wooden aisles and abuts the north wall of the Norman nave.

It is rare to find the body of the church built of wood, but one such is the 14th century timber-framed nave at Besford (5), predating the chancel and belfry, which both date from a restoration of 1880-1. ND

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