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XI] FLOORS 167

Board. If the Board be too thin, they underlay that Board upon
every Joyst, with a Chip.’ " And as this second Board is laid, so are
the other Boards laid.’ When the first and fourth had been nailed
down the second and third were set at an angle and two or three men
jumped on them or else they were forced down with ‘ Forcing Pins
and Wedges.’ Thus the boards were laid in groups of three, and
every third board was nailed down first. Two brads were used to
every joist, each fixed ‘ about an Inch or an Inch and a half within
the edge of the Board.’

At first the boards and joists of the upper floors were not con-
cealed, but showed in.the room below: such ceilings were dark
and in the course of time were thought to be unsightly. For these
reasons ceilings of plaster on laths were introduced from the Con-
tinent, and became’ usual in great houses in the sixteenth century.
Then, as was wont, their use gradually filtered down through the
strata of society.

The old plastering laths were hand riven with. a two handed
shave, and though very rough in appearance, they are stronger
than sawn laths of similar material and section'of the present
time, for in the riven laths the grain of the laths was not cut
through.

The plastering of ceilings to hide the woodwork of floors or
of roofs was called ‘ under drawing’ : and plastered ceilings, like the
plastered walls and partitions, were sometimes filled with chaff.
In East Anglia, in upper rooms open to the slope of the thatched
roof, the thatch itself was plastered between the rafters, and this was
known as ‘ sparkling.’ In South Yorkshire, in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries, thatching materials were used to form
plastered ceilings, either sloping on the undersides of roofs of stone
slates, or flat on the undersides of wooden joists. This was done
by securing layers of thick-stemmed reed-grass—as true .reed was
not obtainable—to the rafters or joists by laths nailed over the
grass, parallel to and on the undersides of the rafters or joists. In
a Sheffield example, of the eighteenth century, there were, in
addition, occasional cross laths, fixed in and parallel to the reeds
no doubt in order to stiffen them. In an old building at Worksop,
N ottinghamshire, the writer found this method used for the outer
walls, wheat straw being laid across the studs and secured with
laths. The accounts of the Corpus Christi Gild of Leicester show
that in the year 1493-4 ‘strey laths’ were bought for repairs to a

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