And The Surrounding District


4. Building styles and materials.


There are buildings on, and around, the common, which

date from the l5th Century to the present, and which

represent all the different architectural periods.

The obvious styles, eg ‘Georgian’, can be seen, but

many of them, particularly the bigger houses, are in

fact a hotch-potch of improvement and addition, so that

one house may have parts dating from 1450, and others

from Victorian times.

It is probably better to concentrate on the materials

used in the buildings, and how these reflect the

influence of the landscape.

Malvern stone is a poor building material, very heavy,

and, being igneous, has no good bedding or jointing

planes - in other words it is impossible to carve, and

the pieces very rarely have two faces at right angles.

Walls are usually built of two sections using any flat

faces on the outside with a rubble and lime-and-marl

mortar filling. Where two rightangled faces are

needed, for instance on corners or around doorways and

windows, bricks, timber, or some imported carveable

stone had to be ued. (Welland church is a very good

example of this style).

However. many of the old farm houses and outbuildings

near the hills were buil* ~_ this clumsy material,

simply because it was so near and therefore convenient,

but it is noticeable that the use of the stone, very

prevalent in buildings close to the hills, dies out

completely in less than a mile away from them.

Lower down the common, especially in the valleys, there are some very good examples of wattle-and-daub (locally

called wattle-and-dab). Hove, although there is no

good building stone to hand there was plenty of big

Chase timber, elm and oak, for the main construction of

the houses, with plenty of hazel and black poplar for

the wattle (basket work) infill between the main

Limhnrs, and the clay, or daub, with which to plaster

the wattle panels. The timbers were painted with tar-

Lype mixture, to keep out the wood-boring insects, and

the daub was covered in a mixture or whitening and

tallow, which made it waterproof, so that the clay

wnuld not be easily washed away. Add to this the use

of Lhatch, because ihufé was no suitable material for

roof-tiles, and you have the typical black and white

‘half timbered' style of architecture, which is found

ull across the Severn Valley as far as the Cotswolds.

In the south eastern part of the common there are a few

huildings eg the'outbuildings at Biddles Farm, just

south of the Robin Hood, which are made of a greyish

sandstone, where a few narrow outcrops of this occur.

It is sometimes called the Arden sandstone, and being a

sedimentary rock, it will split into fairly good

rectangular pieces. On the hill at Coombe Green

rommon, above the Post QffiC&, there are many

depressions, locally called the Foxholes, which are the

remains of the quarries from which Iron Age man dug the

Arden sandstone in order to build the strong dry-stone

walls of the fort on Midsummer Hill.

Many red-brick farmhouses, with white sills and

surrounds to the windows, date from the Georgian period

and later. when new buildings sprang up with the

enclosures mentioned in an earlier section. Since

Victorian Limes, it has been possible to import

materials from outside the area, so that now there are even some buildings which incorporate Cotswold stone!

However, the houses around the common generally

maintain the mixture of Malvern stone and half-

timbering, a good example of vernacular styles.

By  Med Snookes

A handbook for Locals and Visitors