The afternoon in Threshfield allowed us, the Vernacular Building Group, to look for indications of the village’s past. A lot of information was found in Ian Goldthorpe’s book ‘Grassington Towards the Millenium’, and also allowed us to see the changes in recent years.

The picture above shows the road through the village, and the houses facing onto Main Street. This is explained by old maps. There were two routes through Threshfield from the south; one went up ‘Main Street’ and the other bore left just before the bridge and went round the back of the Old Hall Inn. The present B road  follows the turnpike.

Rose Cottage is on the left, with a complicated history, and an interesting join to its neighbour.

Looking at the gable end from the rear of the house could explain this juxtaposition, or not.

The circle marks a fireplace. So was rose Cottage much bigger in the past, or was it joined to a now demolished house?

The Green or the Park in the centre of the houses suggests an Anglian settlement, before the Norman invasion, but the stocks are much later.

Building or rebuilding in stone began mainly in the 17th century in the north of England. Prior to that the houses and barns were mostly constructed of wood, and needed a foundation of stone, usually described as a plinth. This was re-used when the stone building went up. The down spout on the house in the picture describes the profile of the wall, showing the plinth.

Three distinctive features appear in in this barn converted to a dwelling; the outdoor stone steps, the huge door big enough to get a cart through, and the very large stones used in the corner of the building, which are known as quoins.

Perhaps the feature which most obviously defines a 17th century house is mullion windows. As some individual farmers became more successful, and better off, and wanted to enlarge and improve their homes, bigger windows letting in more light were almost a status symbol. However, stone for the tops of the windows, of sufficient size and strength was not always available. The walls above, and the roof needed to be supported, as these buildings were built without crucks. So the windows were made with supporting stone pillars along their length. These were sometimes plain, but often shaped.

Porches were often added, although the one below is relatively new. Early ones were at the front, and sometimes had two storeys. Also, the ‘pigeon loft’ looks remarkedly odd.

There are two blocked windows in this gable wall. Perhaps to avoid paying a window tax, perhaps because of internal alterations. We are very limited only being able to see the outside.

There are two blocked windows in this gable wall. Perhaps to avoid paying a window tax, perhaps because of internal alterations. We are very limited only being able to see the outside.

These old houses have, over the course of 300 years or so, often been altered and added to. Below can be seen where an outshot has been built on the back on the house. Often the outshot began as a rather flimsy structure, and was rebuilt later. Here the join between to two is of very poor quality and very obvious, but sometimes it is very difficult to see, although a straight line I the stone work can give the game away.

Kneelers are another feature of 17th and 18th century architecture. They support the sloping coping stones at the edge of the roof.

Stone troughs by the side of the road.

Circled in this picture may not be 17th century vernacular architecture. I think it is the badge of the company with which the house is insured, so that in the case of a fire, the fire brigade would know that they would get paid for putting it out. It is probably not genuine, and I have no idea of the date of this practice, but interesting and worth an internet earch on “Fire Insurance plaques”?