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4 INTRODUCTORY [cm

Gudmundsson’s Prz'vatbo/zlgen pad Island 2' Sagatz'a'erz. These
foreign books, which tell of the construction of the old ordinary
buildings, not of the castles and cathedrals, in the lands from which
the English nation is supposed to have come, enable comparisons
to be made with our English construction, and help to some
conclusion as to its racial origin. The evidence shows, broadly,
that although our architecture reached us by various routes from
the Mediterranean lands, our building construction is of Northern
origin.

The references in the text show the wealth of literary material
which is available in obscure places, but the buildings themselves
are more valuable than modern descriptions or contemporary
statements of expenditure. The old cottage, or farm building,
is abnormal which does not illustrate some obscure old description
or some difficulty in development. If. the building is ruinous or
in process of destruction so much the better, for then the construc-
tion lies open to examination. An enormous destruction of the
minor buildings has taken place recently, and is still in progress.
In some villages no old buildings are left. As an example,
Mr W. F. Price, writing of the two varieties of Lancashire cottages,
those of ‘ clam, stave, and daub ’ with thatched, and those of stone
or brick with flagged or thatched, roofs, says: ‘Both types are
rapidly disappearing, and are being gradually replaced by the
uninteresting and featureless dwellings of the present day. From
the aesthetic point of view the loss of these quaint old buildings
is irreparable, for one can hardly call to mind a typical bit of
Lancashire landscape where the elimination of the little thatched
and whitewashed cottage would not be distinctly felt. This old
cottage architecture is picturesque and homely: there is no effort
in construction, no frivolous and unmeaning detail introduced to
mar its dignity, and the forms and colour are always pleasing
and restfull.’

The reason for this wholesale rebuilding of the cottages lies in
a rise in ‘culture stage’ which is taking place with the artisan or
working class, analogous to that which took place with the middle
or yeoman class in the seventeenth century, and which then brought
about the destruction of almost all the old houses and the adoption
of a more advanced type of middle-class house in the North of
England. It is to be hoped that before the destruction of cottages

1 ‘ Homes of the Y eomen and Peasantry ’ in Memorial: of Old Lamas/tire, I, p. 255.

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