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                  The 18th century was a period of great change, cities grew, trade expanded, consumerism and popular culture bloomed,” says
William Pewter.
“The Georgian styles were integrated
into an architectural vernacular which went on to form part and parcel of the training of every architect”.
What was particularly notable about this period was that this era saw the heyday of country house building, many of which survive today. These grand houses stood alone in their own landscaped parks, where the introduction of ha-ha’s, for example, allowed the grand houses to enjoy sweeping views over their formal gardens and grounds without the risk of livestock gaining access to the formal areas.
A ha-ha is basically a retaining wall with a ditch or trench beyond, designed to keep livestock off the formal parts of a properties gardens and lawns, as seen behind huntsman and hounds.
There are various schools of thought as to who invented the ha-ha, from the famous Charles Bridgeman or William Kent to Lancelot Brown, known as Capability Brown, because of his ability to look at a piece of land and state “it had great capabilities”. It is also
further thought that the ‘ha-ha’ originated in France where a similar style was called a Saute de Loup, which translates as wolf leap.
This feature was introduced to keep livestock at bay and off the formal gardens surrounding a house without affecting the long sweeping view, giving the illusion that the livestock are grazing on infinite lawns.
Crinkle-crankle walls were another unusual feature.
A crinkle-crankle wall is a
method of building a brick wall,
which allows for long stretches of single bricks to be utilised, which provides stability to the wall and also provides protection for fruit and flower growing, which was very popular
during this period. This method of building allows less bricks to be used, for example, if a long stretch of brick
wall was to be built in a straight line, then a lot more bricks would need to be used than if the crinkle-crankle method is used, in order to provide stability.
Many crinkle-crankle walls, also called wavy, zig-zag or ribbon walls remain in East Anglia, it is thought there are over 50 in Suffolk alone.
The construction of these walls is thought to be due to Dutch engineers who drained the fen country and called them slangenmuur, which translates as snake wall.
William Pewter, BSc MRICS, is a senior partner of the Pewter
Partnership Surveyors, specialists in historical and period properties.
 Ha-ha, it’s behind you
Yes, it is the pantomime season but William Pewter is here to discuss some of the more grand property features of the 18th century
A Ha-ha
 A crinkle-crankle wall . . . you can find an example in Sudbury
“Many crinkle-crankle walls, also called wavy, zig-zag or ribbon walls, remain in East Anglia, it is thought there are over 50 in Suffolk alone.”

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