New old walls

Well… they are more “pre-walls” than actual walls if you want to get technical, but it still counts.

We’ve been missing from site for two days at a wedding and in that time the last little bit of foundation has been dug to underpin the curved staircase, and the grey blockwork and black engineering brick “pre-wall” walls (below ground level) have almost been finished.

There’s even two tiny bits of new Real Actual Proper wall, built from our own reclaimed field bricks. I haven’t spoken to the builders yet, so I’m guessing they are test pieces to see how it looks.  It looks fab.


Ta dah! Walls.


So what are field bricks? I’m glad you asked.

The clay would have been excavated locally and the handmade bricks fired nearby in a temporary field kiln constructed for the purpose. Temperatures wouldn’t have been that high, so the resulting bricks aren’t as strong as modern varieties. Despite that, they seem to have done OK for the last 240 or so years…. coincidentally lasting just until the precise moment we arrived on the scene. Weeks of therapy later, I’m nearly over that now.

They are a tad feeble (ya don’t say) but thankfully the mortar on them was even more crumbly, otherwise the bricks wouldn’t have been easy to reclaim intact. They certainly wouldn’t pass today’s stringent building regulations -something to do with blah blah load bearing, crushing strength of 9 gazillion (I may be exaggerating) Newtons per square metre, which ours don’t have.

But we don’t need to care post-collapse, because now we are using them as the beautiful outer skin of our very ugly but very strong blockwork. Everybody wins.

Once upon a time when we still had a back wall, James The Site Manager was worried we’d have to pay a lot for specially shaped reclaimed bricks to replace the ones that edged the angled barn door pillars. We knew lots of these would turn out to be unsalvageable – the bottom metre or so were too water-damaged. Once the wall came down he realised they are just normal bricks that had been cut on an angle. We (by which I obviously mean they) can do that again.

More money for nice Inside Things, ta very much.


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One of the angle-cut bricks saved from the barn door pillars.


Rear barn doors and the angled pillars, pre-collapse


Next week: Mark The Project Manager and I “need to go shopping together” apparently. I love Mark (and all the guys) already, but any man who utters those words immediately goes up further in my estimation. He’s not even gay!

He means reclaimed bricks, not shoes, but still…… I’m going shopping!

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Mike doing some droning last week, before the foundations were filled. And our last bit of original front wall (sob).


2 thoughts on “New old walls

  1. It must feel like Progress At Last Annette. I love those bricks. Our house is mostly cobbles and dressed flint outside but where there are brick they are like yours, smaller than usual in a soft orange red colors. so much nicer than the harsh red modern day ones. And for all they aren’t load bearing, strong enough etc ours have been here over 250 years….and I’m wondering if I should really write that 😉 but as they’re mainly edging windows and doors and decoration should be fine. There are some buildings hundreds of years old that are still going strong. Norwich Castle always amazes me, 1000 years plus and still looks amazing!
    Shopping sounds fun even if its not shoes….


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