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improvement as compared with the central post, but extensive
as were the English oak-woods, the supply was limited of those
trees which had a great branch, or had the trunk angularly bent, at
the required angle and height, so it came about that the builders
made use of curved or bowed trees. The pointed arch was fashion-
able in the Middle Ages—in fact, not merely fashionable, but
universal—and so the builders chose trees of a shape such that


Fig. 1 I. Destroyed building at Little Attercliffe, Shefiield, showing
upright post carrying the end of tie-beam and the wall-plate.

they gave an approximation to a pointed arch when set up opposite
to each other in the building to form principals. Trees curved in
a perfect geometrical manner were rare, and so these old tree-
principals are rarely as regular in their curves as the stone arches
in the churches. As there was no straight and upright wall-piece
in these bowed or arched principals, the builders had a difficulty
in carrying the wall—plate. They solved the problem by framing an
upright piece of timber to the back of the curved principal, at its
foot as in Fig. II which shows the upright in a building at Little

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