Iron Age - Little Woodbury Round House


This round house is from Britford, near Salisbury, Wiltshire. This house has a history of interpretation!

The site was discovered at the end of the First World War, through aerial-photography,
and was excavated by Dr Gerhard Bersu in the 1938/9

Towards the end of the Second World War, a 45-minute film called "The Beginning of History" was made jointly for the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Information, by the Crown Film Unit, in 1944. The archaeologist Jacquetta Hawkes wrote the script and acted as advisor to the director Graham Wallace.
A version of this house was built for the film, in Pinewood Studios.

This is a still from the film:-

Little Woodbury (Crown Film Unit)

In 2006 work started on 'The Little Woodbury House' (House1)

The Build

This house is 14.5m diameter. The resources required are large. This house is a double ring of oak posts and lintels, with a total weight exceeding 12,000 kg To give some idea of scale, the doorway is 4m wide.

The rafters are of ash and alder, of around 15m in length.

Total weight of rafters is around 4,000 kg

All primary rafters are up, and only these reach the top apex. The center of gravity sits on the inner ring of posts, and rafters are lashed onto the wall ring and the inner lintel.

All secondary rafters are up, and lashed to the support ring high in the top of the roof.

Total weight of rafters is around 4,000 kg

With the porch not projecting far from the wall, the roof was sculpted to curve over the doorway in one sweep.
Thatching underway, and purlins heading upward on the rafters.
Thatch finished.
The wall of the house was painted with limewash, and then decorated with artwork unique to British iron age.

This build was been given a Design Award, in 2008, by East Hampshire Council,
for work in 'Research & Education'

Return to Top

Rethatch and Remodel

By 2018 the lower reaches of the thatch had deteriorated beyond patching, so the decision was made to rethatch the entire roof. It was decided to remodel the porch while the roof was stripped. Although the existing structure had worked, it had prooved it was not the most effective shape.

Work began on the front of the house, stripping the thatch to expose the frame of the porch roof.
The frame of the old porch roof was removed.
Erection of the king post on the remodel of the porch.
Ridge pole and rafters constructed.
Thatching underway on the remodeled porch.
As the old thatch was stripped off the roof of the house, the new thatch was applied.
Thatch well underway.

Remodel and rethatch complete.


Back to Top