The phone call was from a builder I didn't know but he told me he had got my name from someone I'd done some walling for. "Would I be interested in rebuilding/repairing some walling on a wheelhouse" up near Commondale?" s Mmmmmm intersting!
Wheelhouses are relatively uncommon in the North York Moors and were built so horses could drive machinery such as threshing machines. This one at West House Farm is much the same as others, in that it worked by the horse walking in circles turning a drive shaft just below the ground turned various pulleys which in turn powered whatever farm machinery was being used.
On the left is the wheelhouse and rather rough and uneven stonework, some of which was falling down.
All the ones I've seen were built with sides. This one was originally constructed with open sides which had at sometime been filled with drystone work. The farmer had lived there for over 47 years and they'd always been there he said. Why were the gaps between the columns filled in? The farmer thought that it was unlikely that a horse would be able to work in winter during the bad weather on this relatively exposed open site close to the moors. Perhaps it was originally built 'on the cheap', but then filled in when it's faults were discovered.
And here it is 4 days later after my attentions.
Well it's hard to see the difference but I had deliberately tried to ensure the outer stones were reused with their weathered surfaces showing again.
The whole building had been reroofed, keeping as much of the original timbers as possible. Bat roosting holes were provided under the ridge stones and accessed through small holes left by the builder who used lime mortar throughout.
The owner is now going to removed the tons of sheep dung from inside now it's also been empted of assorted tractor tyres and other vintage unwanted old farming machinery!
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