Hovels Ancients Range

Always on the look out for buildings and scenery that 'works' with my true 15mm figures, I returned to the Hovels website. This time I had a look at the Ancient 15mm range - hidden amongst the Roman marching camp and Celtic round houses are a few wattle and daub farm buildings which have seventeenth century potential.

My rationale to myself: cheap construction and maintenance methods would no doubt continue to be utilised until a cheaper better option became available. Hence wattle and daub thatched outbuildings are a 'winner', but not roundhouses.

First up is the 'Raised Grain Store' 14D5.

Next, 'Oblong Thatched Store' 15D5. During my initial teacher training it was drummed into us that we should never ever use the 'o word' <shudders>, they are rectangles. So for all you teachers out there I apologise, I am merely quoting Hovels's title of their rectangular thatched store.

Last offering from the Ancients range is 'Pig Sty' 18D5

I also ordered extra pigs

All utilised my thatch painting recipe. I also got to play with some Vallejo Stillwater on the basing of the pig sty, in the pig enclosure.

To round out my order I added some gates and gravestones from the Accessories section: these are white metal rather than resin. (Yes, they were intentionally based in a wonky style, not a result of my normal levels of incompetency.)

Yes I know that gravestones weren't really used in the seventeenth century (posh people had family tombs, oiks would have had wooden grave markers) but you really do need a bit of Hammer House of Horror staging* if you are fielding ghouls/vampires and witches. Four different styles supplied I used three of them, the fourth didn't quite have the look I was after. My usual stone paint recipe, but this time with an extra wash of Modelmates Mould weathering liquid.

There are two versions of the gates (5A5): one with stone gateposts, the other has wooden ones. When compared to my figures these gates looked massive, so I trimmed their bases off to reduce their overall height by approximately  2mm.  Seem a better 'fit' after this surgery.

The question of field boundaries and gates arises - what was the state of play in seventeenth century England? Enclosure had begun piecemeal in medieval times, but picked up pace in Tudor times. Landowners decided to turf off their tenants, enclosing arable land for pasture (big profits to be made with wool), often accompanied by loss of common rights. This practice was denounced by Church and state, but the rate of enclosure increased (particularly in the C17th). A number of riots against enclosure took place early C17th, on one occasion one Edward Montague had to put down the riots with force. (The Cromwell film had a few half truths woven into the plot.)

Prior to the First Civil War Charles had been so strapped for cash he had started selling off parts of the Royal Forests, which were deforested and enclosed for grazing land.

That is not to say large open common land was no longer present. There's a reason so many battles occurred at places called 'something Moor'.

So what kind of field boundary was used? Depends where you are in the country - what ever was freely available. Many of the dry stone walls in my part of the Peak District were originally built in this time. In places where stone wasn't readily to hand hedges were laid. Woven fencing would be used for small enclosures such as a pig sty.

If an enclosure was for livestock it must have had a gate, but what kind of gate?
The British Library has a copy of 'Abbatia Divi Andrae' from Antonius Sanders, Flandria Illustrata (1641). It shows an engraving of St Andrews Abbey, Bruges - which considering the very close ties between Britain and the low countries can be deemed to be fairly representative of some aspects of British enclosure. The engraving shows extensive use of hedging, and clearly shows a gate as an access point for a walled garden.

Image Public Domain usage, held by British Library

So that's it settled, the gates I thought were too modern will do.

*Terry Pratchett's Nanny Ogg would argue that the punters expect it.

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  1. Some great scenery finds there. Totally agree that Ancient / Dark age ranges can provide some useful fillers. I have held back from putting any gates on my fields as I wasn't sure when the classic rail fence and five bar gate started to be used. These examples look great.

    1. I think it is pretty fair to say that the gates are probably not period correct. When you think how much 'made-up-ness' we have to employ in order to game the Civil Wars, I don't really think it is a deal breaker.

    2. Agreed. I guess there must have been gates. I suppose there was a lot more open, common land then, but hedged enclosures are a feature of many of the battles, and so there must have been some opening. Just need to find a 17th century agricultural expert ;-)

    3. I've done some gate and field boundary investigation, and updated the entry.

      They never said adult life would be this exciting. Might need a lie down now. ;)


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