The term Suffolk Farmhouse or a Suffolk House instantly
conjures up an image of certain types of buildings.
Medieval half-timbered houses with
oversailing upper storeys and twinkling diamond panned
windows. Or the large colour washed houses with small
windows, which sit in splendid isolation in the highways
and byways of the Suffolk Countryside.
In times past houses tended to be built from what was
available locally in the case of the Suffolk region they
had at their disposal large quantities of chalk and sand
and also heavy clay. So local houses were built from
Wattle and daub was the traditional method used for
filling the spaces between timber framed buildings. The
term wattle is a woven latticework of wooden stakes and
the daub, which incidentally used to be mixed by hand,
consisted of clay and sand. Quite often lime and cow
dung were added for good measure! This mixture was then
'daubed' between the latticework.
The colour of properties therefore would depend on the
lime and iron content of the clay. Hence the different
shades of orange that one sees in some old Suffolk
Houses. Though it is fair to say that many Suffolk
buildings are still coloured in the traditional Suffolk
pink wash. Before the days of Dulux and Crown this pink
colour, it is has been suggested, was achieved by mixing
ox blood or sloe juice into the plaster.
Another "uffolk trait" though by no means exclusive to
Suffolk is the use of pargeting, the ornamentation of
plastered and rendered building. The term comes from the
old French parjeter, from par- "all over" + jeter "to
throw". This involved a design being stamped into the
wet plaster to form a pattern such as foliage, flowers,
geometric designs, fruits, or some other designs. These
designs were then either embellished in relief or cut
into the plaster.
There are many places in Suffolk where
old buildings can be seen for example Lavenham
but a drive around most Suffolk towns
and villages will result in a wealth of
interesting buildings to be admired and drooled