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Home Black & White Buildings

Black & White Buildings

Arrowlawn CottageEardisland is famous for its traditional black & white architecture. The village is part of the 'Black & White' trail which includes the nearby villages of Pembridge, Weobley and Dilwyn.

The official trail is a 40-mile journey round Herefordshire villages, with many examples of timber-framed buildings and churches in village settings. The 40-mile circular trail is marked with brown and white tourist signs. You can pick up a trail leaflet [or pamphlet with CD] at the local tourist information centres where the trail begins at Leominster [1 Corn Square, Tel. 01568 616460]. From there it goes to Weobley, Pembridge, Eardisley, Dilwyn, Kinnersley, Sarnesfield, Lyonshall, Kingsland, Kington, Eardisland, and then back to Leominster.

Many of the houses to be seen on the Black & White Trail are timber-framed - that is, the framework of the house is built from green (unseasoned) oak, and the panels are infilled with woven wood lathes covered with plaster, or sometimes with brick. The panels were painted with limewash tinted with natural pigments such as the local earth or blood. Painting the beams black and the panels white is a relatively recent idea. Many of the houses date from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and timbers were often left unpainted to weather naturally, sometimes both beams and panels were limewashed. In the eighteenth century stucco and stone finishes became fashionable, and many houses had their timbers plastered over.

Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, many houses were restored and their timbers exposed. The practice of painting the beams black and panels white, to emphasise the patterns of the timber frame, became established. Now, some houses have had paint removed from beams to reveal the natural colour of the weathered wood, and the panels have been limewashed in soft earth tones.