The Heritage Directory

                                                                                                                                 The Heritage Directory has provided the following articles as an informative guide to aspects of the historic environment. The articles are grouped into the following areas : General & Legal, Architectural History, Interiors, Exteriors, Gardens, Preventative and Remedial and Professionals and Contractors.  


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Cob, Clay Lump & Earth walling

Cob, Clay Lump & Earth walling

Earth walls were traditionally made from a mix of straw with clay and mud, and in chalk areas, chalk formed a high percentage of the mix. They are most numerous in the South West, with 20% of historic buildings in Devon and 7% in Cornwall made of Cob, some 5000 buildings. The Cob is in the form of solid walls as opposed to blocks. In Norfolk, parts of Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, Clay Lump is the common form of earth building, made from large blocks of clay. Some 1 or 2% of historic buildings have earth walls in Buckinghamshire (where it know as Wychert or Wichert), Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire. Smaller numbers of earth buildings can found elsewhere including  Essex, Cheshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Hampshire and Wiltshire. In Cumbria it is know as Clay Dabbins or Clay Daubins. 

They are characterised by thick rounded walls, often with a plinth in stone, and rendered in clay or lime, or sometimes have a later cladding in brick  or flint. Cement renders can cause serious damage. Expert advice should be sought in repairing such buildings. They are a very sustainable form of building so there is increasing interest in their construction. 

Cob Trebah Gardens Alices Seat 

 This Victorian folly at Trebah Gardens, Cornwall was  restored in 2002 using cob reconstituted from original cob on the site.