The Cruck House

Visits to the museum start in the cruck house.

This building was originally sited in the village of Ravensworth, 5 miles north of Richmond. Built in the 15th century, using the timber-framed construction form of crucks, it was thought to have been the last known example to survive in the area. Plans to demolish the Cruck House in the late 1970ís resulted in a stone-by-stone move to the museum.

A cruck or crooked beam is obtained by splitting a curved tree trunk in half. The symmetrical crucks are then joined with a tie-beam in the shape of an A to form a framework of both the walls and roof of a building. The timber crucks would have supported a thatched roof of heather and moss and walls of wattle and daub- a mixture of mud and straw plastered over a lattice-work of thin wood.

The building has been altered considerably in the course of its long history. It may have originally been a longhouse, with accommodation for animals at one end and for people at the other. Limestone walls were added and the thatched roof replaced with pantiles in the 17th century.

It was around this time that an upper floor was inserted - the niches that supported the floorboards are still visible in the horizontal beams - and the sandstone fireplace was added. A representation of part of the upper floor has been recreated in the museum.

An Elizabethan coin was found under the fireís hearth during the demolition of the building. It had probably been placed there as a good luck memento.