North Duffield Conservation and Local History Society
We are lucky that the Ellwood family have loaned us a piece of land upon which to
build our roundhouse, very close to cropmark indications of a real Iron Age hut-
Our first job was to fence the site for the roundhouse reconstruction and to level
it out. We then set about sourcing the materials with the intention to use locally
sourced materials as far as possible since that is almost certainly how the original
occupants of North Duffield would have gone about it. There is no stone locally so
our roundhouse will be entirely organic. Some of the materials have been brought
to the site, mostly at little or no cost to the Society. This means we have a reserve
of funds should we need to purchase some materials-
Based upon visits to Butser Iron Age Farm in Hampshire, Ryedale Museum at Hutton-
The group plan to use the schoolchildren to assist in the construction but would welcome any interested parties who feel they have the skills and/or commitment that the group can make use of.
Firstly we acquired lots of timber for the walls, posts and wall-
Then we approached John Bramley who farms next to the Ellwood's and who grows willow
Finally, an approach to Natural England resulted in their employee Fallon Mahon taking us to East Yorkshires' answer to the Everglades. Here, after a challenging ride on John Ellwoods tractor and trailer we sawed down loads of alder for the roof purlins and transported them back to the site.
We stripped the bark from the timber and left it stacked on site to dry out before we treated it with wood preservative.
The first real construction started on 21st April 2012 when four of us dug the post
pits and erected the wall posts to a diameter of 5 meters, our chosen dimensions.
The work went a lot better than we expected. We also raised two longer posts for
the doorway and started to joint on the wall-
Over the next few weeks we constructed the walls by weaving the withies in between the posts..
We were weaving the willow to make the wattle walls in bad weather. Wet willow for wattle isn't the best medium in which to work. Anyway, we worked away weaving the willow wattle walls until we ran out of willow to weave. What'll (wattle) we do now we wondered? We have wun out of willow to weave. We wandered about wondering what to do. We wished we had more willow to weave the wattle walls but we were out of wood. We decided to work another day when we had more willow to weave. We had also run out of words starting with 'W'!
And so the woundhouse, sorry, roundhouse, progressed.
We next measured the centre of the inside of the roundhouse and then erected a tripod
of purlins tied together at the top and buried in the ground at their bottom end.
These were then drilled and secured with hand-
We decided to include a porch at the doorway(see photos). Finally we ran further lengths of willow round the beams to support the thatch. The wooden framework is now complete and treated with preservative.
The weather hampered our attempts to harvest water reed for thatching although, we did managed to cut and transport a few sheaves or yealms.
On 11 December we took a tractor and trailer to The Brick Yard at Hemmingbrough where Plasmore kindly donated four tons of clay for the daub of the walls.
John Ellwood managed to find time to collect some miscanthus from a local farmer,
Richard McNeil,who is growing it for bio-
We have been busily thatching this last couple of weeks and our progress despite
snow and sub-
We have got the children gearing up to come and through a mixture of mud and manure at the wattle walls. That should be fun.
We will be having more days thatching soon, weather permitting.
For more photographs see 'Archive'
To keep up-
The Completed Compound
An army of workers building the roundhouse
Roundhouse as at 17th April 2013
View through the roof February 2013 , photographer laying down on the job!