• 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

  • orletonmanor

Chris has been working hard getting the floor of the cellar prepared for the mechanical and electrical systems installation (which will be covered in a future blog post).

Although most cellars are out of sight, out of mind, the cellar at Orleton Manor has been one of the centres of attention in this project. A great attention to detail has gone into the floors, walls and timber repairs in this most humble of service spaces - the cellar. It's a well-built space of stone walls and a cobbled floor that was incredibly damp and inhospitable before the works started. This was mainly due to the usual suspects of incompatible materials but also poor air flow across the space which has now been addressed.

Given that, by its nature, the cellar is underground, it is near impossible to completely and sympathetically stop the ingress of water. Yes, a modern tanking membrane or concrete box would stop the water penetrating into the space, but this would have dire consequences on the historic material behind. As with all historic buildings, the focus is on controlling the movement of water rather than stopping it completely - if you block one path, the water will take the next path of least resistance which could be even more damaging.

The system of works in place here is the removal of all the cement mortar pointing and its replacement with a very lime-rich, hot mix mortar, which has the ability to suck the moisture out of the wall and to its surface. This lime mortar will allow a small amount of moisture to permeate during the worst of the weather, but it will also allow it to dry naturally. If the cellar was particularly damp a couple of coats of lime wash would help, but we couldn't get away with it in this instance.

As the cellar is an enclosed space, that has less ventilation than the outside atmosphere, the water molecules don't have as much capacity to be removed through convection or evaporation.


Traditional, solid walls primarily dry through water molecules being ripped from the surface by the wind; with the strong covalent bond acting like a chain and pulling out water from deep within the wall. We shall cover this off in more detail in another blog post.


Therefore to aid the drying and improve the circulation in this cellar, we are using a pair of Vapour Flow fans. These work in tandem and are Autostat Smart Humidity controlled, heating air coming in from the outside and venting when the humidity gets too high.

To allow for tanks to be installed in the cellar, the floor had to be lowered. This gave us an opportunity to add some perimeter drainage to the walls and lay a limecrete floor. As the majority of the main floors in the manor are cast concrete and down for replacement, we will have much more information on the laying of replacement limecrete floors towards the end of Spring 2022.

Once the sub floors were completed, Chris took his time relaying some of the slabs and cobbles. The final scheme will be completed when the tank is in place.

We will revisit the cellar in another post looking at the chamber beam and ceiling repairs.