Parlington Hall :: Analysis of the Finds
Scattered about in no particular location that could pinpoint where these sections of masonry were originally installed, are pieces of sandstone with a hollowed out semi-circular trough running the length of the piece, roughly three feet long each. Five have been unearthed todate. These heavy pieces of masonry are very old and as far I can tell are stone gutters which would have sat at the head of the external walls to carry rainwater from the sloping slate roofs. I have produced a series of sketches which illustrtate how the stone was sited in the wall.
3D Sketch of the Stone Gutters
There are two styles of stone, one with a straight trough running the length of the piece and a second with a further trough forming a branch from the main run. Each is roughly three feet long by twelve inches wide and about six inches deep, although the depth varies by an inch above or below the six inch. The ends are square cut to assist bedding together in the wall, but the top face is the most accurately formed. I think it reasonable to assume only to top surface was designed to be exposed, the other faces would have been lost in the general wall construction.
Section at the head of the Wall
Above is a visualisation of how the stones were located at the head of the masonry wall, the roof rafters are shown sitting on a wall plate on the top of the gutters, but the battening and slates are not shown for clarity. It is likely that the joints between the blocks would have been caulked with lead, although no indications of any kind are evident on the pieces. The centre section is shown with the branch outlet which would have passed through the wall into a hopper head on the outside, as shown in the lower sketch.
External Wall, Parapet & Rainwater Hopper
The design of a building with this type of gutter detail pre-dates the more recent use of external gutters, also it is used where a parapet wall was incorporated at the head of the masonry. Later concealed gutters, very common on Georgian properties, used a lead lined gutter at the wall head, usually on a timber base with falls in the level to prevent any standing water. After Parlington was abandoned and items of interest taken to Lotherton Hall, amongst
Section viewed in the Opposite Direction
The pieces of stone are clues about the nature of the older parts of the hall. There are no photographs which demonstrate the type of construction I have proposed, but I believe it is likely that they came from the earliest sections of the old place. Possibly above the Servants Hall adjoining the yard. To view a plan of the hall drawn in 1885 click here.
Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk
A great example of a lead rainwater hopper, albeit more sculptured than the sketch earlier, was found at Oxburgh Hall, Oxborough, Kings Lynn, Norfolk. Described by the owners The National Trust: No-one ever forgets their first sight of Oxburgh. A romantic moated manor house, built by the Bedingfield family in the fifteenth century and they have lived there ever since.
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