23 Sep

Cressing Temple Barns in Essex are a group of stunning 13th century cruck barns originally established by the Knights Templar.

I had the pleasure of demonstrating here over a busy weekend at the invitation of Joy Allen one of the organisers of the European Woodworking show.
What better place to celebrate the pleasure of working in wood than in this temple to old English craftsmanship.

All the magnificent oak timbers of these old barns have been felled and hewn by hand using axes. Pegged and braced with hand chiselled oak tenons holding the entire structure aloft nestled in the heart of Essex. I couldn’t find a straight beam in any of the roof spaces, and yet herein lies the medieval carpenter’s true skills. Curved limbs, huge ‘S’ shaped bracers, gigantic supporting columns only a handful of axe strokes from a mature tree stand in asymmetric harmony – for over 700 years – because these people could see the forms they needed to create a 3-dimensional wooden lattice within each living, breathing tree.

Likewise, visitors to the European Woodworking Show, hosted by Classic Hand Tools came with similar intent – either to find a fine new tool, learn a new technique, or just rub shoulders with other modern day carpenters, professional and part-time.
My daughter and I demonstrated letter carving on Saturday to several interested people new to carving. A gentleman called Andrew Turner knocked this out for his daughter

a rather fine effort.
We humans often forget the principal reason for standing up was to use our hands. The Knights Templar, skilled in battle and construction were limited only by the materials available in their era. Oak and axes, ash and spear, earth and plowshare. Knight or peasant, we all need to be able to carve out a legacy.

One Response to “Barn”

  1. Andrew Turner September 27, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    Thanks very much…i really enjoyed carving this plaque,its now got pride of place in my daughters bedroom.

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