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CHAPTER II
PRIMITIVE FORMS OF BUILDING

Flakes—Conical huts of wood and turf in England and on the Continent of
Europe—Oblong huts—The ridge pole—Its history and its influence in
later constructions.

The beginnings of building are to be found in temporary
screens of brushwood piled up as a protection against wind,
weather and wild animals. To-day such screens are used by
civilised men when hunting, and they form the substitute for
homes among savages in a ,low stage of culture, such as those in
the Kalahiri desert, and in the interior of Australia.

A little progress has been made when the brushwood has
been woven round, and in-and-out of, stakes, and this is the most
primitive form of building of which English records remain—if
the term building may be applied to such simple and elementary
beginnings. In the year 1511, the Records of the Borough of
Nottz'ng/zam show that the Corporation paid for ‘ii fleykes to be
set bytween ye masons and ye wynde.’ The word flake is still in
use in the dialects; as an example, it is defined in Baker’s Nort/z-
amptons/zz're Glossary, as ‘formed of unpeeled hazel or other
flexible underwood closely interwoven or wattled together between
stakes, like basket-work.’ Further progress has been made to-
wards a roof, when the woven brushwood or wattlework is bent
over at the top, and the natural result of this is a similarity
between wall, roof and ceiling in simple and early constructions.
In ‘ Le Cantonnier,’ a chalk drawing by J. F. Millet, the French
artist, the countryman is sitting under a tall and bent flake or
hurdle, which is propped by a leaning pole.

The next advance was to arrange the stakes or poles and the
in-woven wattlework so that a space was both covered and enclosed,
and there is a German theory that this was done, at first, to protect
the domestic fire, and that it was a woman’s invention. The conical

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