Dating houses external evidence

The small iron bar on the sill is pushed through the iron hasp on the central mullion to hold the shutters closed.The edge of each shutter is cut away to accommodate the hasp.Oriel windows added to Priory Cottages, Steventon, Oxon in 1570-71 were glazed but retain no evidence of shutters, although another building of 1571 near Chesham, Bucks had sliding shutters throughout, with unglazed windows at the back and oriels, presumably glazed, at the front.However, little research has been done on this, and the extent to which shutters were used in the 17th century is not clear.

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Above left: panelled shutters in a house at Latteridge, South Gloucestershire (1686) with a second leaf of just three inches wide, yet fully panelled.External shutters also protected windows from vandalism, and were common on the ground floor windows of vulnerable buildings like public houses, at a time when glass was expensive.It is rare to find shutters dating from before the late 17th century and most date from the 18th and 19th centuries.Grooves for sliding shutters survive above the windows in the main horizontal timbers of many medieval and 16th century houses.

The base of the shutter was usually held in a separate timber nailed to the face of the wall, although occasionally the sill was wide enough to contain the runner (Martin and Martin, p77).

However, surviving examples, which are more common in towns, appear to date from the 18th or early 19th century, and iron shutter stays on the outside wall are evidence of shutters now gone.

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