It’s a wonder(full) wall!
We recently welcomed 20 members of the Cumbrian branch of the Dry Stone Walling Association on site for a day's volunteering. And what a fantastic job they did.
The before and after photos show very clearly what a difference these hard-working volunteers made.
Not only did they manage to take the wall and gate down to the ground and rebuild it from the foundations up in one day, but the works unearthed two very interesting finds.
The goal all along was to preserve as much of the wall's history as possible while ensuring it would stand for another hundred years or so after the job was done. With this in mind, the team set out to keep as many of the original features intact as they could, including the rather unusual return wall to one side of the gate and a step over style that was uncovered further down the wall.
And then came two surprise revelations - an ancient slate “threshwood” or sill, usually made from cobbles and designed to prevent the ground from becoming too boggy and a large block of sandstone (not native to the Brathay area) that had been used as a counterweight on top of one of the old hinges. It had been cut and dressed on three sides and there was evidence of old leadwork, suggesting it was once a part of a stone window frame. Stone of this quality would only have been used in higher status buildings so there's a good chance it was once part of the main hall, or maybe even Old Brathay or a building that no longer exists.
It's discoveries like these that bring the past back to life and make the hard graft all worthwhile.
We look forward to seeing the team again soon!