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Earth Buildings with Period and Listed Buildings

The information on this page is from the Building History website


Earth building

Mud or turf provided the cheapest kind of walling. Cob - unbaked clay with organic material to bind it - is durable if plastered over and kept from damp at top and bottom. The earliest standing examples in the British Isles date from around 1300, but these are exceptional. Earth houses generally have a life-span of 150-200 years, though this could be prolonged by casing the walls later in brick. Cob was popular in Devon up to the 19th century and also used in Cumbria, the East Midlands, Hampshire and Ireland. The flexibility of the material permitted rounded corners. Another clue to cob construction is the thickness of the walls.

Jennings, N., Clay Dabbins: Vernacular Buildings of the Solway Plain, (Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Extra Series volume 30, 2003). On the mud buildings of Cumbria.


Books on cob building.

From another page on their site:

Cob reference material.

Devon Earth Building Association has downloadable leaflets and a bibliography.
Egeland, P., Cob and Thatch (1988).
Houben, J. and Guillaud, G., Earth Construction. A Comprehensive Guide (1994)
Hurd, J., and Gourley, B. (eds.), Terra Britannica: A celebration of earthen structures in great Britain and Ireland. ICOMOS UK/English Heritage (2000).
Keefe, L., Earth Building: Methods and Materials, Repair and Conservation (2005).
Little, B. and Morton, T., Building with Earth in Scotland: Innovative Design and Sustainability (Scottish Executive Central Research Unit 2001). The full text is available online and in downloadable pdf format.
McCann, J., Clay and Cob Buildings (1983, 3rd rev. edn. 2004).
Minke, G., Earth Construction Handbook (2000).
Norton, J., Building with Earth: A Handbook (1997).
Watson, L. L. (ed.), Out of Earth (University of Plymouth 1994). Papers from the first national conference on earth buildings in the United Kingdom.
Watson, L. L. and Harries, R. (eds.) Out of Earth II : National Conference on Earth Buildings (University of Plymouth 1995).


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The views expressed on this site are from recognised sources as well as the experience gained by Edward Scutt. No responsibity can be accepted for any damage resulting from the information found on this website. Research the subjects further so you are satisfied you are taking the correct course of action. Full terms and conditions can be found here.