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Wood date tests for bulldozed pub
11:00am Sunday 3rd March 2013 in News
Ceiling beams from the demolished Old Oak Inn in Westbury will be tested by an expert in dendrochronology next Wednesday, to see whether the building dated back to the 15th century.
Demolition of the historic public house by supermarket chain Aldi started on October 31 last year, after efforts by campaigners in the town to have more detailed inspections carried out failed.
However, during a brief inspection of the derelict pub by Dorothy Treasure of Wiltshire Building Records, it was discovered that the building could date back even further than was originally thought.
The beams are now being stored at Wiltshire Council’s highways depot in Royal Wootton Bassett, where they will be tested by the scientific method of dating dendrochronology, which involves analysing patterns of tree rings.
Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre archivist Steve Hobbs, who lives in Westbury, said: “It’s a shame that the Oak Inn was pulled down before a more detailed inspection was able to be carried out.
“We now believe that the ceiling beams suggest the building dated back to the 15th century, but this will, hopefully, be confirmed after the tests are carried out on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, the campaign to stop the demolition started too late to make a difference, but the building should have been looked into more closely during the planning application phase.
“The beams were only discovered after the roof had started to be demolished. It appears that, behind the mock Tudor front, there was a medieval hall, which has now been lost.”
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