Dating Henley’s Mediaeval Buildings
Speaker: Ruth Gibson
Tue, 4 May 2021
About the lecture:
The talk will concentrate on the often hidden mostly 14th and 15th century Henley houses, and especially on those for which we have secure building dates, through tree ring felling analysis, which has been carried out by local dendrochronologist Dr. Dan Miles of the Oxford Dendro.Lab. This data together with the recorded structural evidence has allowed us some windows into medieval life in the town and thoughts about possible reasons for undertaking what would have been major building operations at those particular times.
Ruth Gibson joined the Henley Archaeological & Historical Group in the early 1980s and became interested in historic buildings through the nationwide barns survey run by SPAB ( Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings). To find out more about the reason for the abundance of historic barns and other farm buildings, most of them vacant, or on the verge of residential conversions, she went to Reading University and got an honours degree in Archaeology and History, specializing in farming history. Her dissertation on the Harpsden Court Estate was based on the 1586 survey/map of this estate by the Blagrave Map makers family of Reading. She then worked as an Historic Buildings Officer for Bedfordshire County Council, Aylesbury Vale D.C and the National Trust. She has been recording medieval buildings in and around Henley for the past 30 plus years and is our acknowledged expert.