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Jacobean staircases

02 March 2011


From Mrs Linda Hall

Sir, — Margaret Holness, in her column on Stockport (Time Out, 18 February), has been misled by the website for Staircase House, which states erroneously that there are only three Jacobean stair­cases in the coun­try. This is nonsense: there are hundreds in England and Wales, and details of some are published in my book Period House Fixtures and Fittings 1300-1900 (Countryside Books, 2007, about to be reprinted). The balustrade at Staircase House is indeed a less common design, but there are still far more than three examples, though probably no two are exactly the same.

The details that I have drawn in my book include some from churches, where West Gallery staircases and altar rails with balusters are often dated either by an inscribed date or in churchwardens’ accounts. They would have been made by the same carpenters who produced domestic woodwork. Like­wise, the same blacksmiths made hinges, bolts, and door handles for both houses and churches.

Sunnyfield, 3 Church Row,
Redwick Magor,
Monmouthshire NP26 3DE

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