Cruck Buildings: Origins, Distribution, Significance and Derivatives

Course summary

Cruck Buildings: Origins, Distribution, Significance and Derivatives


Held in association with the Vernacular Architecture Group

Cruck buildings form one of the most distinctive elements of British vernacular architecture. This weekend will present recent thinking on the origins of crucks, where and why they were used, in what types and dates of building they were employed and by what social groups, and what factors have led to their survival in particular places. Explanations will range from the practical to the cultural. Consideration will also be given to types of structure related to, and derived from, true crucks, as well as to the co-existence of cruck and other building traditions in the same geographical area.

Image: The Barley Mow public house, Long Wittenham, Oxfordshire (formerly Berkshire): view from the northeast, showing cruck frame of north gable.

Programme details

Held in association with the Vernacular Architecture Group


6.00pm           Registration (for those who have booked meals and or accommodation)

6.30pm            Dinner

7.45pm            Registration (for those who have booked as non-residential without meals)

8.00pm-         Introduction and historiography: a personal journey

9.15pm          NAT ALCOCK



8.00am           Breakfast (residents only)

9.00am           The nuts and bolts of cruck construction

                       DAN MILES

10.00am          Base crucks – have we got to the crux?

                        BOB MEESON

11.00am           Coffee/tea

11.30am            An archaeological approach to the appearance of cruck buildings

                        MARK GARDINER

12.30pm           Break

12.45pm           Lunch

2.00pm           Dating and documents

                        NAT ALCOCK

3.00pm           Crucks in Wales

                        RICHARD SUGGETT

4.00pm           Tea/coffee

4.30pm            Tenure and the survival of cruck buildings in Cumbria

                        PETER MESSENGER

5.30pm            Break

6.30pm            Dinner

8.00pm-         Cruck construction in Scotland: a review

9.00pm           PIERS DIXON



8.00am           Breakfast (residents only)

9.00am           Crucks in the north east of England

                        MARTIN ROBERTS

10.00am          Crucks at the edge: the east Midlands

                        NICK HILL

11.00am           Coffee/tea

11.30am           The different Devon cruck tradition

                        JOHN THORP

12.30pm           Break

12.45pm           Lunch and course disperses




Accommodation for this weekend is at Rewley House for Friday and Saturday nights only. Depending on availability it may also be possible to extend your stay, please enquire at the time of booking for availability and prices. All bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms. Unfortunately it is not yet possible to book twin room accommodation online, so if you wish to book a twin room, please send in your completed enrolment form or contact the Day & Weekend Events Office, Email:; Telephone: + 44 (0) 1865 270380 / 270368.


Tuition (includes coffee/tea): £133.00
Baguette Saturday: £4.70
Baguette Sunday: £4.70
Dinner Friday night: £19.00
Dinner Saturday night: £19.00
Hot Lunch Saturday: £13.50
Hot Lunch Sunday: £13.50
Single B&B Friday & Saturday nights: £151.70
Twin B&B Friday & Saturday nights (per person): £108.70


If you are in receipt of a state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Nat Alcock


Past President of the VAG

Dr Mark Gardiner


Reader in Medieval Archaeology, University of Lincoln

Mr Robert Meeson


Independent Building Archaeologist

Mr Richard Suggett


Senior Investigator, RCAHMW

Mr Peter Messenger


Historic Buildings Consultant and Doctoral Research Student, University of Lancaster

Dr Piers Dixon


Operations Manager, Survey and Recording, Historic Environment Scotland

Mr Martin Roberts


North East Vernacular Architecture Group

Mr Nick Hill


Independent scholar

Mr John R L Thorp


Partner in Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants

Dr Daniel Miles


Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory, University of Oxford

Dr Martin Cherry



Dr Paul Barnwell

Director of Studies

Dr Paul Barnwell is Director of Studies in the Historic Environment and Co-Director of Courses and Workshops in the Historic Environment at OUDCE.