Dating english houses

If the nails are newer, machine cut nails, chances are it was built during or after that time.

While local historical records and deed/probate research are very useful in the dating of an antique house, all too often those doing the research stop there.

Oftentimes there hangs an old weathered sign, affixed to the clapboards or shingles and facing passersby, that reads a name and a date; in some cases the date is preceded by a “c” or “circa.” Just as often, perhaps more so, however, there is no sign, and no hint of where to begin a search for a date or a name or how.

Tackling this chore of dating your antique home is, in many cases, a daunting task, though usually not an insurmountable one.

You can consult a book on old nails, or perhaps a local expert, but you’re looking for an uneven, handmade head, in most cases much larger than those on modern nails.

If, indeed, “hand-wrought” nails were used throughout in the laying of the floors and the hanging of the lathe, again, your house was most likely built before 1780-1800.

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