North Yorkshire Roundhouse

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North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Paul Elliott on April 5th, 2013, 2:26 am

Here in North Yorkshire there is a large roundhouse at the Rydale Folk a museum at Hutton le Hole, near Pickering. http://www.ryedalefolkmuseum.co.uk/ Our group visits as Romans every year, this year a few of us are splitting off to take over the roundhouse for 3 days.....

Now this is exciting because up till now the museum policy has been no fires, so the place is always dark, cold and wet. Visitors peer in and walk away. I ve got permission for a big fire and to sleep in there, so the plan is to really dress the roundhouse up with cook pots, shields, tools, bedding etc. it should be fabulous ...

Once the event has occurred (end of May) I will post some photos....
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby John Olinger on April 5th, 2013, 11:34 pm

Yes, lots & lots of photos!!
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Richard Hare on April 6th, 2013, 9:52 am

Paul,

I just saw this thread and am very pleased for you!!
I agree send us lots of pictures!
I have not visited the Rydale Folk Museum for 29 years, as we moved over here to Alberta Canada and have not been back.
(We used to farm near Scalby, Scarborough)
"Dark, cold, wet,.."....reminds me of some of the underground public toilets in the area!!
Do keep us up to speed on this, even the preparation and goods you are taking with you.

We have a Round House partly built, and hope to get more done this year when the land thaws.
If you ever get to Canada, look us up!......you can stay in our roundhouse if we get it water-proof and daubed.

Richard.
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Paul Elliott on April 8th, 2013, 3:34 pm

Hi Rich, Scalby .. Drive though there a lot. It's a small world!

We had to convince the museum to let us have a good fire, we fear the place will remain damp and rot away if it isn't used. We are planning to do the following:

Have a decent fire all day to warm it up and dry it out
To provide some light for visitors to see inside, we plan to have a dozen jam jars holding candles around the back wall, out of sight, but lighting up the back. Any other authentic naked flames won't be allowed.
We have our kit, swords, shields etc
We have a replica 'head, which looks good on a post or in this case, with hung on the lintel of the door
There are fire dogs, we have pans to hang, plus Iron Age pottery.
We plan to cook, probably flat breads, make soft cheese, spit roast some wild boar or venison
There's a grindstone and a (shaky) loom too, plus beds.
I plan to give visitors a quick tour, going around from left to right.
Our dateline is AD70 northern Britain, with nasty Romans threatening our southern borders.
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Paul Elliott on April 10th, 2013, 11:57 am

This is the roundhouse:

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We were Saxons and PIcts that weekend, ignore the Saxon shield!
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Alex Hovorka on April 10th, 2013, 2:28 pm

It's gorgeous!
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Edwin Deady on April 11th, 2013, 7:00 am

Congrats on getting the use. Warm roundhouses are one of the nicest places to sleep. I do wonder if they didn't have windows sometimes though, holes closed by shutters perhaps.
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Richard Hare on April 12th, 2013, 7:24 am

Paul,

We used to live at Ox Pasture Farm, Lady Edith's Drive. It's a restaurant now. In fact it was my Mum who started the restaurant in the late 70's. (It's In Raincliffe woods, the road that leads to Forge Valley.) In the church at Hackness, there is one of the earliest Anglo Saxon stones ever found.
Round-House;
Can I ask what diameter the Round House is? and how high is the doorway?
Also, can you attach a photo of the roof from the inside?
The roof pitch seems very similar to the one we are building.
Though hardly any daubing done yet, when we have a fire in there it is lovely and warm, and can imagine how nice it will be when finished!
Thank for the pictures!

Richard.
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Paul Elliott on April 12th, 2013, 8:50 am

I will take measurements and photos when I get there.
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Bob Clarke on May 6th, 2013, 2:31 pm

Well done !
Doesn't the museum understand that there needs to be a fire on a fairly regular basis to help keep it in good order ?
The smoke filtering through the roof keeps the insects and other beasties at bay. Also as you say it helps to keep it dry and stop the rot.
Keep up the good work and get in there as much as you can.
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Paul Elliott on May 6th, 2013, 4:46 pm

Thanks Bob, three weeks to get ready... Looking forward to it!
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Bob Clarke on May 8th, 2013, 1:53 am

Looking forward to some more photo's
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Paul Elliott on May 20th, 2013, 5:31 am

Our moustaches are coming along nicley! Some of us are taking this too seriously :)
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Paul Elliott on May 28th, 2013, 2:02 am

The long weekend went well! There were five of us in the roundhouse, but only three sleeping there. We had a continuous 3 day fire and cooked lamb stew, a simple pigeon stew, spit roasted a duck, cooked bean cakes on a flat stone, made a net, practiced firelighting with flint and steel, cooked duck and goose eggs in the ashes, and had a great time drinking meads and beers around the fire in the evening. The doorway is too wide, and has no 'door', so we erected a canvas across it for the night-time and slept in the beds. We brought our own straw bale to refresh the beds. Sleeping on the straw, a deerskin and under blankets, with the fire kept at a low level, we were warm and comfortable. In the early hours, when our sleeper-by-the fire fell asleep and stopped putting logs on , the temperature fell a bit and the smoke settled along the edges where we were sleeping. You woke up with a bit of a cough, and after the weekend I smelled of woodsmoke, but that's a smell I like!

Lots of interest, the day was sunny and we were constantly groups of 3-6 around the house while we cooked or repaired kit, and we took it in shifts to get out into the sunlight to see our friends camped further down the museum. Some great experiences and great photographs. Friend Jamie (Lucos) and myself (Vindos) went out for a bit to play in the woods. Photos below!

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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Paul Elliott on May 28th, 2013, 2:05 am

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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Paul Elliott on May 28th, 2013, 2:12 am

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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Edwin Deady on May 28th, 2013, 2:44 am

Brill! Very much like it I do. Just one point, I wonder if the floor of a lived in roundhouse would be covered in rushes as in later houses.
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Angus M on May 28th, 2013, 3:32 am

Edwin Deady wrote:I wonder if the floor of a lived in roundhouse would be covered in rushes as in later houses


The underwater archaeologists researching and excavating crannogs on Loch Tay reported that among the debris preserved in the mud were layers of bracken stems, it seems these were used as flooring material. I guess it would be whatever dry vegetation was prevalent around the local area.

Very nice pics, looks like a fun weekend. Peat may be a better fuel to put on the fire when you are going to sleep - it does not flare up nor spit sparks, it smoulders as hot embers for a long time, and can be piled up with just the centre gradually burning away, the outer layers falling in on the burnt-away centre as the night goes on. In Hebridean blackhouses this was the way of keeping the house warm throughout the night, which they could not have done with another fuel - wood and coal would flare up into a large, dangerous fire before dying away completely, and would have spat dangerous burning embers out. And peat-cutting is a nice traditional, ancient way of getting fuel. The aroma is pleasant too. (Of the peat, not the guys doing the peat-cutting. They stink to high heaven :D)
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Paul Elliott on May 28th, 2013, 8:39 am

Yes, we debated this. The ground is packed earth, but damp, probably due to the houses position. Alas it was beyond our resources to floor the house with straw or rushes, so our sitting areas were covered with skins which kept us dry and our feet warm.

A little more information, and a few more photos can be found on the Earlyworks website: http://earlyworks.weebly.com/2013-ryeda ... house.html
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Edwin Deady on May 28th, 2013, 11:18 am

I have wondered about the eternal fire on the hearth. There was a discussion about this on another forumwhere the claim was that massive piles of chopped logs woud be required for the fire in the Iron Age in the same way as for the wood stoves of nineteenth century cottages. My contention is that for most purposes a stick fire would have been adequate, the wood being mainly deadfalls. We know that far from being a massive challenge lighting a fire with flint and iron or bowdrill can be routine.
Of course, the burning of logs for a feast could well be part of the conspicuous consumption for such an event.

As to being cold in the morning Jacqui Wood has suggest that piles of pebbles provided the base for a quick warming blaze of furze and brash.
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Bob Clarke on May 28th, 2013, 11:56 am

Some great photo's guys !
(green with envy).. Where did you get the fire dogs from ? I am hoping to get my hands on a set for our living history gigs.
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Paul Elliott on May 28th, 2013, 2:28 pm

The large firedog was already part of the round house exhibit. The small one was made for us by chance by a blacksmith who sometimes works at the museum. He normally makes animal headed pokers for £15. My friend asked him to make two, with horns and asked for a bar to go between them. He uses the set as a firedog he can push into the ground around a camp fire ... very useful. Ask a blacksmith :)
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby Bob Clarke on May 28th, 2013, 3:55 pm

Thanks for your quick response Paul.
In July I am off to do an intensive 3 day blacksmith course and at the end of it i have been told I should be able to make small items like fire grates, pokers and railings.
Just liked the look of the ones in the photo.
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Re: North Yorkshire Roundhouse

Postby PaulYounger on May 29th, 2013, 11:47 am

Looks like you had a good weekend. I might try and pop down if you do it again, see if I can share a lift with Jamie, or is that Lucos?

Anyway, great to see some iron age re-enactment in northern England.
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