Grant to Worthys Local History Group

Traditional Houses of the Worthy Villages


The project encourages a wider understanding of traditional buildings, and of the evolution in the internal planning of rural houses

Over a three year period, facilitated by the local history group, the authors, Bill Fergie and Edward Roberts, have visited and studied a total of 25 medieval and post-medieval houses. Such have been the changes over the centuries that, with extensions and divisions, those houses now provide 29 individual dwellings. The products of the research take the following form:- • written analyses of the buildings; • references to dendrochronological investigations where these have been carried out; • photographs, both current and from archives; and, in many cases, • drawings showing reconstructions of the houses in their original form.

This extensive research will be presented and explained in a new book  – ‘The Traditional Houses of the Worthy Villages. An analysis of 23 timber framed medieval and post-medieval houses. The project sets out to encourage a wider understanding of traditional buildings, and of the evolution in the internal planning of rural houses in the area. In doing so it creates an archive of material for the study of these buildings.

The illustrations are current photographs and reconstruction drawings showing the probable form of the buildings from Headbourne Worthy and Abbots Worthy.

  • The Old Rectory, Headbourne Worthy –  c mid 15th century. The timbers of both wings were subjected to tree ring analysis but unfortunately failed to date
  • Nos 1 and 2 Old Farm Cottages, Abbots Worthy – the reconstruction shows the then single substantial farmhouse when it was first built. The timbers have been tree ring dated and the analysis showed that they were felled in 1607-10. The nearest rear gable projection and a bay at the far end of the building are later additions.

Project Completed

After a year of inevitable delays caused by pandemic lockdowns, this book has now been published and it looks superb. The book is well researched, attractive and with excellent hand drawn illustrations.

HAT members have already been given a tantalising taste of the book at the 2020 AGM in Bill Fergie’s talk. Everyone concerned is to be congratulated on an impressive outcome. 

The book is now available for £12, including local delivery, and can be purchased from wlhgchair@gmail.com


The Worthys Local History Group was formed 1n 1982 and draws its membership (currently numbering 80) from the area of the four villages of Abbots Worthy, Headbourne Worthy, Kings Worthy and Martyr Worthy. The group holds regular meetings, encourages research, and arranges field trips, outings and social events. The group regularly publishes ‘Worthy History’, ‘Worthy Papers’, and ‘Worthy Records’. Meetings are held in St Mary’s Church Hall in Springvale, Kings Worthy. A digitised archive can be searched in response to enquiries from the public.