Vernacular buildings in Lincolnshire
Good quality building stone, suitable for the finest buildings, occurs widely in the limestone belt running from north of Lincoln down to the county's south-west border. Rubble stone from this region has been used in more modest domestic and agricultural buildings. Ironstone quarried in the Caistor/Market Rasen area, Spilsby Sandstone (southern Wolds) and, to a limited extent, chalk from the Wolds have all been used over the centuries in both church and secular building.
Mud and Stud was once the Lincolnshire vernacular norm and thousands of cottages, barns and outbuildings were built in this way. Hedgerow timbers were used to create a crude framework to which were attached vertical laths (usually ash). The mud applied to this structure was earth mixed with chopped straw and water; an exterior coating of limewash was then applied. Typically, the building stood on a stone or brick plinth, had a brick chimney and was thatched. A few score examples survive, often hidden behind a casing of brick and with pantile roofs. The best examples are in East Lindsey, with the highest concentrations at Thimbleby and Mareham le Fen.
Brick buildings appear in Lincolnshire from the 14th century but brick was not used extensively in vernacular structures until the late eighteenth century. The agricultural revolution came relatively late to the county but its impact was severe. A high proportion of older structures in the countryside were swept away and, as the 19th century progressed, new brick-built farmhouses, cottages and farm buildings appeared in their place.
Clay pantiles with the characteristic 'S' profile originated in the Low Country and were imported through east coast ports. They became the usual roofing material for cottages and farm buildings, especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and are also be found on stone and mud and stud structures. One tilery from a once extensive industry survives at Barton upon Humber.
There are very few timber framed buildings in evidence within Lincolnshire, but, in fact, partial reconstruction in brick over the years masks many examples. Evidence is also emerging that timbers from houses of the medieval period were re-used in roofs and ceilings of brick-built houses of the eighteenth century. Through a careful examination of these timbers it is possible to understand the construction of the original buildings, perhaps from the 15th or 16th century - an exciting initiative currently being undertaken by the SLHA Building Recording Group.