Historical creativity, ingenuity, and beauty: the standards for The Top 5 Beautiful Heritage Oak Buildings.
Oak’s greatest strength is its ability to withstand the elements for hundreds of years.
Because of this, many examples of its use in construction from ages past still stand as testament to their creators’ skill. Historic building and woodworking techniques, still in use today, can be seen in their structure and design. As such, they form a living history that connects us to the past, its people and events.
1. Little Moreton Hall – Cheshire
Located 4.5 miles outside Congleton, Cheshire, this half timbered manor house stands on its own island surrounded by a 33 foot moat. Its unique irregular shape settled on a large cobbled courtyard is due to Little Moreton Hall‘s three asymmetrical ranges.
Its appearance is often related to an intricately decorated ship rising from water.
Although a hall has stood on the site since 1271, the current building dates from the early 16th century.
Because it was built on marshy land, the building required a heavy oak frame to surmount the sandstone footings.
The Long Gallery running the length of the upper floor is completely timber panelled with exposed 16th century Oak Trusses.
The weight of the glazing and gritstone roofing slabs has caused the beams of the lower stories to buckle and bow, enhancing its unusual appearance.
2. The Lord Leycester Hospital – Warwick
Acquired in 1571 by Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, the hospital was founded as a retirement home for aged and disabled soldiers and their wives.
The courtyard is surrounded on all sides by breathtaking examples of oak architecture from several periods of its long history.
From the 14th century, it’s timber-framed structure still stands in awesome fashion.
3. Borgund Stave Church – Norway
Originally the parish church of the Laerdal Municipality, this is the largest and most impressive of the 28 remaining Norwegian stave churches.
Originally constructed around 1200, it is now a museum run by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments. Built entirely from pine and Oak on a stone foundation. Which meant no nails or metal fittings were used in its construction.
Its walls are formed from interlocking tongue and grooved wooden staves, an amazing example of ancient Scandinavian woodworking.
The exterior still bears its original carvings, featuring vines and fruits, runic inscriptions and four dragon heads reminiscent of the prows of Viking longships.
Inside, the roof is supported by Large Scissor Trusses.
4. Tudor House Museum – Southampton
Considered to be the most important historic building in Southampton.
Dating back to the 1180s is the oldest section, known as King John’s Palace. Although it is very unlikely that he ever visited.
It is considered to be one of the finest remaining examples of Norman domestic architecture in the United Kingdom. After all, Sir John Dawtrey built the main body of the house.
The museum is an impressive example of tudor timbered architecture and still features a 16th century barrel vaulted ceiling and mouldings. Hence why it made it to our list!
5. The Shambles – York
One of the most photographed streets in the world, this is the most complete example of a medieval shopping street in Europe.
While the original shopfronts are long gone, the Oak Frames and overhanging upper stories typical of the period remain.
Overall, overhangs served a practical purpose. Firstly, they offered protection to the tradesmen, who would ply their wares on the open street.
Additionally they provided shade from the sun for the meat hanging outside the shops, preventing rapid spoiling.