Sunday, 27 February 2011

Stroking the Oak at Barley Hall

Since time out of mind the learned members of R.S.A.R has been interested in people as well as places. Many within the learned society seek to know more of the sons and daughters of toil, the labourers, artisans and craftsmen who built the great edifices that we so often celebrate in our posts. We are just as interested in those whose hard work raised up those great structures and their skills that made rich men's dreams of immortality a reality.

To that end some within the learned society have strived to get in touch with these our ancestors, to literally get a feel for the past. Not just those who shaped wood and stone and laid brick upon brick, but those who laboured for them and those who laboured for the labourers. There are some within the Ragged Society who fancy they can cock an ear to ancient buildings and hear the whispering voices of all those who built them and dwelt therein. Whilst In the eighteenth century there was the celebrated antiquarian and 'Wall Fancier', Mr Buddery who some said could literally taste the past. And even today there are some within our learned group including myself who like to get a feel for the past by Stroking the Oak.

And so it was that with great joy I fell upon Barley Hall in York. Hidden down a tiny alley betwixt and between Stonegate and Swinegate and a mere stones throw from York Minster, it is a reconstructed and renovated Medieval Hall that is a veritable sweetshop of sensory delights. Rebuilt using ancient skills and techniques, softly lit with low light, some horn windows & scented candles, and decorated with the flowers, herbs, and spices that made up the medicines so important to the cunning woman's craft long, long ago, it intoxicates the senses and transports the visitor back to times past.

But it is in its construction that I took most pleasure; slavering over the honey coloured rough hewn timbers that have yet to take on the dark hues of everyday use and touch. To run your fingers over the minute undulations of hill and valley created by the carpenter's adze, whether they be formed 700 or just 7 years ago, it really gives you a 'feel' for beautiful buildings and the sheer skill and effort that went into creating them. Whether you enjoy burnishing a beam, having a point at a joint, uttering about shuttering, having a rest on a chest, putting a patina on a peg or having a stroke of an honest piece of oak, there is something here for you. I say pack plenty of egg and tomato sarnies and at least two flasks of tea, risk the melancholy miles that make up the A1 and take yourself on a ramble to Barley Hall.

Enjoy my slideshow of the Ramble, but please make allowances for the authentic low lighting and shuttered windows that played havoc with my camera!

+Many Coats+ R.S.A.R




20 comments:

  1. Dear Mr. Many Coats,

    A fine summing up of the 'People without Plaques' ethos of the Ragged Society of Antiquarian Ramblers. In fact, this piece, in my opinion, is one of the finest contributions ever to be posted here. It makes me very proud to be a card carrying member among such extravagantly talented company.

    Huzzah Sir - Huzzah!

    Munro Tweeder-Harris, Esq, R.S.A.R

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  2. My Dear Munro

    You honour me! Although I hope that all our Ragged Ramblings have something to offer to anyone out there who, whatever their background can enjoy a bit of history and silliness all mixed together with laughter, tea and the occasional tart!

    Humbly yours

    +Many Coats+ R.S.A.R

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  3. I have absolutely no idea what you mean Charley.

    Confusedly yours...

    +Many Coats+

    P.S I didn't get wood at Barley Hall, but I did however get a splinter. And although I add a note of caution to my posting above, I still prefer to stroke oak without the protection of gloves
    (It's just not the same)

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  4. So what. I got a splinter off me shovel once

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  5. i meant you really seem to understand wood

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  6. I do Charley, which is ironic really for my father used to say that I was as thick as two short planks nailed together. It's a funny old world!

    +Many Coats+

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  7. How would you all like a nice cup of tea and a biscuit?
    I have some Viscounts.

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  8. Do you have any Custard Creams Ethel?

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  9. 'get wood' meaning to understand wood. Now I get it Charley!

    +Many Coats+

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  10. Aieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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  11. Dear Ethel Cake,

    Do you have any bickets? In particular, I would love to taste that alpine strawberry icing once again!

    Mr. Munro Tweeder-Harris, Esq. R.S.A.R

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  12. Garibaldis are the order of the day, says I!

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  13. I'm afraid I don't Mr Tweeder-Harris, for mother always said that bickets were the Devils work and that I would burn in hell for all eternity should I even look at one. She's dead now though. It was a Tunnocks Tea Cake covered in rat poison. Goodness only knows how that happened?

    Tea any one?

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  14. Dear Mr Pudding
    I used to attend a nightclub in Gt Yarmouth called Garibaldis. I was sick on a nurse who I was trying to woo. Oh those lonely, lonely nights...

    +Many Coats+

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