Not many businesses have a physical birthplace, let alone a hand-crafted replica medieval hall, but oak frame specialist Essex Oak Frame has. It is the beautiful family home of managing director and company founder, Adrian Chapman: Colwood Hall in Ashingdon, Essex.
Adrian, a structural engineer and builder with a passion for working with oak, began the realisation of his dream to build his own medieval hall in 2006 when he and his wife moved out of their home into a caravan on the site of a condemned, dilapidated bungalow. Three years and an incredible amount of hard work later, the couple moved into the beautiful Colwood, built from scratch by Adrian using only 400-year-old building methods.
The heritage, design and conservation award–winning oak framed medieval hall is completely bespoke and was designed, engineered, and built by Adrian using only traditional methods and materials. The only concrete in the structure is in the foundations, and that was only because it is a legal requirement for modern buildings. The brickwork, roofing and carpentry were completed using the same craftsmanship and traditional methods, creating a stunning exterior.
Inside, Adrian used the same local oak and traditional craftsmanship to create stunning traditional features including mullioned windows, solid oak flooring and panelling, a feature oak carved staircase, exposed timbers and minstrel’s gallery.
The building has a full crown roof which was completely hand-built, and Adrian had to bring a mobile sawmill in and cut all the logs on site because they were so big. There is no paint in the house, instead every wall is lime-washed and interestingly, despite the medieval build, the property is remarkably energy efficient.
In 2007, as Adrian saw the end of the Colwood project in sight, he decided to set up a business with the vision of creating beautiful bespoke oak framed buildings and extensions using traditional methods and utilising the skills of like-minded, equally highly skilled craftsmen. Essex Oak Frame is now an award-winning company specialising in the design, manufacture and construction of some of the most incredible oak framed structures in the region.
No doubt Colwood Hall will still be standing in hundreds of years; the perfect legacy of a man with a dream, who has built a company that realises the construction dreams of others.
To find out how Essex Oak Frame can support your new build project, get in touch today.