When we bought the field and house in 2009, the building had already had a major overhaul of the roof, with new timbers and repair of the traditional stone roof. The building is sound, largely dry stone built with lime mortar pointing. There have been additional sections attached to the house previously. On the west face, between the house and perimeter wall, an extension previously stood, two stories high and only minimally tied into the main house structure as far as can be seen now. This building is visible on a photograph shown on John Bowman’s website ( http://www.pbase.com/bowman/the_joseph_harker_family_photographs&page=all ) and the blocked in door is to the left of the fireplace in the main remaining living room. All that now remains is a pile of stones.
On the east face was a two storey structure and the three walls of the building were partially standing in 2009 pearhousetree (thanks to John Bowman for this picture from his website, taken in 2005).
We have rebuilt this as a single storey shed for storage, entitely dry stone built with a wooden frame roof supporting corrugated galvanised steel. The frame is strong enough to support a traditional stone roof when we accumulate a bit more money for the project. Here are some photographs of that building. I was very fortunate to have the expertise, hard work, commitment and irreverent good humour of my friend (and former walling tutor) David Tate throughout this and my other walling projects around the field. Here are some photographs from that rebuilding…
At the time that we bought the house there were the remnants of a smaller branch which had fallen across the roof, breaking a few stone roof tiles but fortunately not damaging the internal timber support; this can be seen in John Bowman’s photograph above. We have been glad to benefit from the fuel this windfall provided but were concerned that the tree may be at risk if the small evidence of fungal infection that we could see indicated more extensive internal damage. We approachedGeoff Garrett again at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and he put us in touch with Phillip Hibbs, Trees and Woodlands Officer with responsibility for our patch. We met in March 2012 at Pear House and he identified two types of fungal infection in the tree, indicating probable significant dead wood internally in the trunk as well as active infection in live wood visible at the base of the tree externally.
However he reassured us that if we cut back the crown of the tree, it would not be necessary to cut down the whole tree. We employed my nephew, Andy Harvey from Sheffield ( http://www.arboristtreecare.co.uk/ ) , who is a tree surgeon, who did a great job taking down several large high branches but still leaving a good looking tree in such a prominent position.
In autumn 2013 a section of the perimeter dry stone wall finally succumbed to the effects of decades of water flowing down the east part of the field, where the wood is planted. The foundation of the wall had gradually drifted out from the field and down a steep bank in the south-east corner, and the wall tumbled.
This was wall around Grandad’s wood, so no risk of sheep escaping, but it was above the main walking and cycling route to Low Row, part of the old Corpse Way and of the Swaledale marathon, and needed fixing.
With my walling mate David Tate we set to, and managed a good repair on newly set foundation and reproducing the stone style that had been used for decades to access the grazing the short way.