Parlington Hall :: A Look at the Roof Structures

Like all buildings which date back beyond the nineteenth century, before the use of industrialised materials like iron and steel as major structural components, great pieces of lumber were hewn to form magnificent structural elements. Some years ago in the Parlington woods I came across part of a large roof truss which I suspect was left to rot previously being a part of the old hall and took a piece to see if I could identify the timber. Amazingly despite it having lain for decades on the open ground, after sawing off the surface the interior was as good as new, and most certainly pitch pine, the characterist aroma of turpentine being evident as the blade of the circular saw ripped through the surface.

The discovery of the old wooden truss in the woods, raised my interest into working out the likely construction of the roofs over the different parts of the hall. The west wing having survived into the modern era was a good starting point and indeed it is a traditional King Post Truss, which is as is shown in the sketch at the head of the page.

These timber creations were used for spans of up to 30' 0" and therefore would have been an ideal choice for the Drawing Room built around the beginning of the nineteenth century, although iron was in use in industrial buildings by that time, traditional materials would have been favoured for domestic construction. [It is worth noting that Castle Oliver built for the two Gascoigne sisters, Isabella and Elizabeth, by the architect George Fowler Jones in the 1840's made extensive use of wrought iron rafters, inverted tee profile in the steep pitched neo gothic roofs.]

Detail of King Post and Bottom Tie Beam

Exploded View of the King Post with Stirrup connection.

The Drawing Room, unlike the centre section built earlier by Sir Edward Gascoigne, had no habitable rooms within the roof space. Therefore the King Post Truss would have been without doubt the construction used. However with the rooms in the centre section built into the roof structure the most likely type of roof would have been a Queen Post Truss

Queen Post Roof Trusses

The advantage of the Queen Post Truss is its ability to span greater distances than the King Post truss and the box nature formed between the horizontal and vertical members allowed access along the length of the building within the roof space. It is most likely that this was used in the centre section built by Sir Edward Gascoigne in the 1730's.

All the details here have been created using Google Sketchup Pro Version 6, a great piece of software for building and architecture students. [More will be added to this section in the near future]

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