Book early to avoid disappointment

£15.00; Members, Students, Senior Citizens £12.50

Tel.   01249 705508 e-mail:

Wiltshire Buildings Record, Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Cocklebury Road, Chippenham, Wilts, SN15 3QN



Pam Slocombe – Some very Old Houses in Wiltshire: Discoveries from Tree-ring Dating Pam founded the Wiltshire Buildings Record in 1979 and was a founder of the Wiltshire Local History Forum in 1985. A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, she has extensive experience in documentary research and historic buildings. She is the author of a number of books including Medieval Buildings of Wiltshire, Wiltshire Farmhouses & Cottages and Wiltshire Town Houses. Pam will introduce our ongoing dendrochronology (tree-ring) dating project. The historic buildings of Wiltshire include ancient roof structures, some of which have only recently come to light through the work of WBR. The results give a fascinating glimpse into the past including the effects of the Black Death of 1348-9 and the early use of Arabic numerals.

David Carter – 1-3 Bridge Street, Bideford, Devon – a 450 year old Mystery

David Carter is a freelance local historian and lived in Swindon for most of his life, before moving to Devon and ‘getting a real life’. He runs Nimrod Research with wife Jenny, which originated from indexes built up for Wiltshire records, but now also researches in Somerset and Devon. Old buildings are a passion for him, and finding out their history in particular, especially when people pay him to do what he enjoys most. David’s research into one particular building in Devon, had conclusions which surprised everyone, not least – himself! How dendrochronology, genealogy, cartography, heraldry, and some good old- fashioned leg-work and logic, managed to solve a 450- year-old mystery about the origins of one of England’s most celebrated maritime adventurers.

Tony Beresford and John Rickard – Dating Houses in Somerset

Tony Beresford, Chair of Somerset Vernacular Buildings Research Group, was a chartered accountant and became interested in traditional buildings after he bought a 17th C house. John Richard, Survey Organiser for SVBRG, was a chartered materials engineer. He traces his interest back to renovating a cottage and conversations with carpenters restoring medieval buildings. SVBRG has been recording for 35 years, publishing 12 books. From 1996-2006 they ran a dendro project to date medieval roofs in Somerset. Recently they experimented with radio carbon dating a few interesting roofs in Winscombe which, being elm, could not be dated in the usual way. John and Tony will discuss the successes and failures of their work and what has been learnt.

James Ayres Dating Clues in the Early House

WBR President, James Ayres is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, well-published author and archaeological consultant on historic buildings. Titles include the British Domestic Interior 1500-1850, Building the Georgian City and Art, Artisans & Apprentices. Dendrochronology is the great scientific advance that has made possible the exact dating of buildings. However, it has its limitations eg where seasoned timber was deployed – as with joiners’ and cabinet makers’ work – it is of little relevance. For these reasons old-fashioned methods remain of value. These include inscriptions with dates, documentary evidence (maps, terriers, wills etc), technical details (eg of sash windows) and stylistic considerations. In this overview James will sample such details.

Tickets £15.00, or £12.50 to WBR members, senior citizens and students. Buffet lunch can be booked – £8.50 per head. Contact Dorothy Treasure on 01249 705508, or e-mail   Website: