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  • christian2765

As many of you will know, Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

"Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated... a kind of physical expression of the spirit of mushin....Mushin is often literally translated as "no mind," but carries connotations of fully existing within the moment, of non-attachment, of equanimity amid changing conditions. ...The vicissitudes of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. This poignancy or aesthetic of existence has been known in Japan as mono no aware, a compassionate sensitivity, or perhaps identification with, [things] outside oneself." — Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk: The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics

So what is the relevance of Kintsugi in the context of Orleton Manor?

Depending on which way your philosophy on the repair of historic building swings, the general rule for repair focuses on keeping interventions to a minimum whilst retaining as much of the significant fabric as possible. This may be significant because of its age, its material type or even due to evidential or cultural value. In the simplest terms This is generally categorised as the 25% rule, that is to say if 25% of the significant part can be retained the item should be repaired and not replaced.

Orleton Manor has a complicated close studded timber frame and this principle is applied to each timber member in turn. Assessing it for its significance and importance and whether it hides any key features that help to tell the story of the building. A simple stud that may need replacing, could have evidence showing window locations or door heads, carpenters marks or conversion marks. These all tell the story and sometimes they are too important to keep.

The Scarfing of New to Old

When I started on this journey my view was somewhat dismissive of this as I felt it would lead to increased costs and a patchwork of repairs that I considered would be less acceptable than the replacement of individual members.

And whilst repairing generally costs more than replacement I have come to see the beauty in skilfully executed repairs. They are part of the ongoing story of the house and take away as little as possible from its history. Its far too easy to take away from a building, but once it has gone you cannot put it back. We are so fortunate to have some of the best local carpenters who also believe in the philosophy of repair, not only does it keep the buildings history intact, it tells a story as well as giving opportunity to the craftspeople to keep their skills alive.

Rail has retained its external face while having a repair laminated to the interior

Matthew enjoying a very well patched corner post

Photographs Courtesy of Jacob Oakley

  • orletonmanor

As some of you may have seen on social media, we have had a busy couple of weeks! Peter Ward has done a fantastic job documenting the process of the roof trusses being removed, so across this post and the next, we will have interviews with the lead carpenter Jake Oakley explaining the process and plenty of footage of the trusses sailing through the air.

We were incredibly lucky with the removal of the trusses, we had expected this to be a three day process with the crane booked for the second half of the week. Testament to the quality of our team, all trusses were removed and safely placed on trestles on the ground in just one day! This was sped up by the fact that upon close inspection, it was apparent that half the connections in the roof were not pegged, especially the purlins. We wondered why this was. Often pegs are put in at the end of the process, had the carpenter fallen out with the client and left the job early? Had the building been rebuilt?

If you have ever used a 17th century shell auger, it certainly would have been odd to have gone to those efforts of drilling every timber by hand and never putting pegs in.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

We will let you digest those videos and upload some further videos later in the week.

  • christian2765

Old photographs give a real insight into the past of a building and luckily in Herefordshire we had several notable early photographers who did an excellent job of documenting the historic buildings of the county such as Alfred Watkins and WH Bustin and Son. Given that it was a time where large glass plates were used for negatives, we get surprisingly sharp and detailed images which have such useful detail when unpicking the changes which have happened in the last 100 or so years.

The Hereford Archive has done an excellent job recently of uploading a huge amount of these photographs to the Hereford History website for all to see and use. These photographs were recently uploaded from the collection of WH Bustin and Son during a

who had accumulated some 7,000 or so images across their business lifetime spanning a century.

You can click on the photographs to open them on the Hereford History page for greater detail.

The image above shows remnants of the barn to the right of the building which was partly demolished some time in the mid/late 20th century.




The image above shows the use of an old cart wheel modified into a window. We have not quite pin pointed the framing location, but believe that this was taken as standing in the entrance door of the sun room. This wall was demolished as part of the sun room extension which was added in around 2012.


The fragile glass plate negatives, comprising by some estimates only a tenth of the original output, are safely housed in the Herefordshire Record Office.

Thanks to the efforts of the Record Office’s Friends organisation, this wonderful source of social and local history is available to be explored. Over a number of years, the negatives were carefully processed into photographic prints that gradually revealed a literal snapshot of life in Herefordshire in the early 20th century. Scanning of these prints by Herefordshire History volunteers began in October 2014, to making this selection available online for the first time.

To view the whole archive, follow the link here where you can search for your local building or village

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