Fig. 76 is a roof of similar type to the preceding, with a resemblance strong enough to suggest a common origin for both. In no instance, however, is one church roof a facsimile of another. Here the one collar is braced direct to its wall-post, but the next in order has the carved hammer-beam intervening. Each wall-post is without corbel and the collars are not cambered. A moulded king-post connects each collar to the ridge.
Wetherden Church, in Suffolk, has an elaborate roof, Fig. 77, of the double hammer-beam pendentive type. The collar-beams are moulded and cambered, centred with carved floral bosses, and each is arch-braced to the upper tier of hammer-beams, the braces being taken so far back as to constitute a false hammer-beam roof.
Each collar is king-posted to the ridge-purlin. From each principal, just below its junction with the hammer-beam, a braced hammer-post is carried down, past the next tier, fixed only by tenons at the ends of the lower hammer-beams, and terminating in pendentives carved in the form of standing Saints. The wall-posts correspond with the hammer-posts and are carved in the same manner. Although this is a rich and elaborate roof, considered as an example of constructional carpentry, it cannot be classed, from this point of view, with the next illustration, Fig. 78. Here we have the true double hammer-beam to each intermediate principal, alternating with arch-braced collars to single hammer-beams, each fixed to the principal at the level of the upper tier only, and bracketed, rather than braced, back to the principal itself; a most unusual detail. Each collar with its bracing is centred with a heavy carved pendant. The base of each wall-post is carved, with an effigy of a Saint, in a manner similar to the preceding example.
Fig. 75. Rougham, Suffolk. - Roof of Nave. Collars braced to hammer-beams. Late fifteenth century. Span 19 ft.
Fig. 76. Kersey, Suffolk. - Roof of Nave. Alternate arch-braced hammer-beams. Late fifteenth century.
In Fig. 79 is illustrated the fine nave roof of Earl Stonham Church, Suffolk, of single hammer-beam form, with richly moulded, crenellated and cambered collar-beams, arch-braced to the hammers and centred with king-posts above and carved pendants below. The spandrels in the triangle formed by the principal, the hammer-post and the hammer-beam are filled with tracery in masonic devices. True hammer-beams alternate with those of pendentive type, and the base of each wall-post is carved with figures and corbels. The rich cornice, which cannot be clearly seen in the illustration, has a carved and pierced band with winged angels above and below, and is connected to the hammer-post by carved spandrels. This example may be classed as one of the richest in the East Anglian churches, and Norfolk and Suffolk easily transcend any other counties in the beauty and elaboration of their ecclesiastical woodwork, Devon, perhaps, alone excepted.
Fig. 77. Wetherden, Suffolk, Roof Of Nave. - Roof of Nave. False double hammer-beam, pendentive type.
Span 21 ft. 11 ins. Length 59 ft. 0 ins.
Middle fifteenth century.
The roof of Eltham Palace Hall, Figs. 80 and 81, is of this pendentive hammer-beam type, and although beautiful from the decorative point of view, it has the inherent defects of this method of construction. This roof had decayed badly and the work of restoring it was commenced, about 1913, under the superintendence of Sir Frank Baines of H.M. Office of Works. The chief source of trouble, however, was not so much the decay in the timbers as the inherent faultiness in its construction. To quote from Sir Frank Baines' report (" Report to the First Commissioner of H.M. Works, etc., on the Condition of the Roof Timbers of Westminster Hall, C.D. 7436," p. 27), "... the principal rafters are not in two members but run in one length from the wall-plates to the ridge. The collar-beams intersect these principals about half-way, and are jointed to it (them) by means of mortices and double tenons. Immediately under this joint is the hammer-post, which is also double-tenoned into the principal rafters, thus acting as a further source of weakness at a point in the principal rafter where the greatest strength is required. To make this weakness worse, the hammer-post is not supported upon the hammer-beam, but continues down past it, terminating in a heavy pendant, while the beam is secured to it by a tenon joint" (see Fig. 44, No. 21).
' The roof is, in reality, an elaborate collar-beam type of roof with the arched ribs, etc., superimposed as ornaments. The result of my examination of this roof last year has shown me that it has failed exactly as a collar-beam type of roof would be expected to fail, namely, by thrusting out the walls and by the fracturing of the principal rafters at the junction of the collar-beam. Thus, in the Eltham Palace roof, many of the principals have sprung outward at their feet a distance of eight inches in the short length of the timber between the collar-beam and the wall-head."
Fig. 78. Hitcham, Roof Of Nave. - True double hammer-beam type. Late 16th century. Length 48 ft. Span 24 ft. 6 ins.
"... Throughout the whole roof . . . the dropping of the hammer-beams, the distortion of the hammer-posts, and the springing of the principal rafters, are considerable."