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The History Of All Saints' Wickhambrook

Hammerbeam Roofs

Hammerbeam roofs are an ingenious invention of English building and first made their appearance in East Anglia in the late 15th century. It is can almost be thought of looking down into the structural interior of a wooden ship - and could be that carpenters schooled in shipbuilding were involved in its inception. The key discovery that made the new roofs possible was that the central section of a crossbeam supporting higher roof timbers could be removed, leaving the weight sufficiently supported on the remaining ends, or hammers. The force is transferred to the walls, on occasional by two levels of hammerbeams (however in most instances of a double hammerbeam, the upper series of hammers are purely decorative. From the original invention glorious exuberant structures can be seen quite often adorned with spread-winged wooden angels on the end of the hammers. The finest example of a hambberbeam roof is the one formed over Westminster Hall, London.

Last Modified Thursday 05 May 2011