In The Artefacts series of books, Oz Chambers’ family has inherited and old house called Penwurt which dates back to the 16th century:
‘An iron gate led on to a path that crossed the drive to a huge oak-studded front door. This was set back between two forward jutting wings in which five large mullioned windows faced the street. Behind the “U” shaped front was the oldest part of the house; a long, three story tall block with crenelated parapets, three tall spindly chimneys and high windows. A tarmac drive ran up one side, whilst on the other nestled a slightly overgrown, secluded walled garden.’
Here are some photographs of what Penwurt might look like:
Oz followed his gaze and had to agree. Much bigger than the Chambers either needed or could really afford, it was like something out of a medieval story book with its high turrets jutting out of the walls on all four corners.
His dad had called these turrets bartizans, but despite their weird name Oz thought they were brilliant; it made it look like there might be archers up there on watch, guarding the place from attack.A bartizan or guerite is an overhanging, wall-mounted turret projecting from the walls of medieval fortifications from the early 14th century up to the 16th century. Most frequently found at corners, they protected a warder and enabled him to see around him. Bartizans generally are furnished with oylets or arrow slits.
‘What was revealed was a room that spanned the length of the building. Yards of oak paneling lined the walls upon which hung a variety of old paintings and photos. Long dusty strings of cobweb wafted in the draughty corners, adding nicely to the room’s eerie air of abandonment.
“Take a look at this, “ Ellie called to the other two as she peered at one of the photos. The boys joined her and stared at a faded black and white print of the very room they were standing in, but lined with twenty-two beds just like an old hospital ward. “Must be what the dorm was like.”
“Wow,” Ruff said. “Not exactly private, was it?”
When we hear the word “orphan” we imagine a child whose parents have both died tragic deaths. Indeed, there were plenty of these pitiable creatures in Victorian society – the living and working conditions of the poor were so unsanitary and crowded that diseases such as typhus and tuberculosis often spread unchecked, sending many of their victims to the grave. However, children were often considered “orphans” if they had one surviving parent, had been abandoned by their family, or were forced out into the world because of overcrowding at home In 1861, it is estimated that 11% of children had lost a father by the age of 10, 11% a mother, and 1% had lost both parents.
“Hey, look at the ceiling.” Ruff craned his neck upwards and Ellie followed suit.
“Yeah, downstairs is like that too,” Oz explained in a matter-of-fact way. “It’s the sixteenth- century equivalent of wallpaper, or so my dad told me.”The Barrel Vault
This type of ceiling, the barrel vault consists of a series of closely fitted boards (tongue and groove jointed) suspended from the ceiling to create a continuous surface on which to paint. In order to create a manageable space the ceiling was usually divided into smaller compartments through the use of false architecture, such as imitation coffering, elaborate strapwork with cartouches.Religious imagery, historical scenes and heraldry were all subject matter for the wider areas of these more open ceilings, in many cases covering the walls too. Much of the imagery found in the decoration can be traced to engravings and prints from emblem books.
THE SPIRAL STAIRS
They hurried out and Oz sensed that the others, like him, were glad to be away from that
room. They made their way back to the main house without speaking and went straight to the spiral staircase that led upstairs. But when they got to the second floor landing, Oz put up his hand and peered upwards.
SYMBOLS (Click to view)
CUNNING FOLK (Click to View)