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1450 Wealden Hall House Carpenter's Mark/Witch Wheel

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Image of 1450 Wealden Hall House Carpenter's Mark/Witch Wheel
  • Image of 1450 Wealden Hall House Carpenter's Mark/Witch Wheel
  • Image of 1450 Wealden Hall House Carpenter's Mark/Witch Wheel
  • Image of 1450 Wealden Hall House Carpenter's Mark/Witch Wheel

Late 18thC carpenter's mark sometimes called a 'daisy wheel' or a 'witches' wheel'. Framed in medieval gnarly oak both removed from from the same 15thC Wealden Hall House at 5 Park Street Lydd, Kent, England, during restoration.

Daisy wheels appear to have one of two purposes one practical one ritual.

The practical application relates to use by carpenters and masons. The qualities of the geometry assist in providing a proportioning system for laying out timber or stone buildings or timber roofs structures.

The second commonly-held view is that daisy wheels are apotropaic symbols (marks to ward off evil spirits), particularly when found in 16th and 17th century contexts.

This mark is seen as both a protection against evil and a good luck symbol and is often found in food preparation areas. It is usually incomplete, perhaps as a gesture of respect for the deity who could create perfection. This ancient image for the sun can be traced back to at least the C6th BC. In many cultures the hexafoil was used on grave and standing stones. It seems to have been phased out of official English ecclesiastical symbols around the C14th, but continued in secular ritual use after that.

The Wealden House is a distinctive medieval structural type, found most commonly in Kent and Sussex, for which the name 'recessed-hall house' is also used. It is characterised by having an open hall flanked by floored, jettied end-bays, all under a single roof. Because the wall plate is aligned with the front walls of the end bays, it 'flies' over the hall, where it is usually braced from the corner posts of the end bays, giving the distinctive 'recessed' hall appearance. The term 'Wealden' apparently came into use among members of the Vernacular Architecture Group in the 1950s, reflecting the concentration of examples in the Kentish Weald.

Date; C 1450
Condition; Gnarly
Size; 54 x 54cm
Provenance; 5 Park Street, Lydd, Kent, England