19th Century Banter Discovered During Roof Repairs
Carpenters working on the restoration of Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham have discovered graffiti and inscriptions left by workmen during works in 1830.
The Grade I listed mansion has been owned by a charitable trust since 2017, and it is undergoing a massive restoration, which is one of the largest heritage projects currently in the UK, reports the Yorkshire Post.
Three craftsmen were conducting repairs over a gilded stateroom where the 4th Earl Fitzwilliam kept his paintings by Antony Van Dyck, a favourite of England’s Royal courts. The three men, all called Jack had worked through a bitterly cold March and decided to leave their mark for posterity.
Jack Falding, Jack Vickers and Jack Wragg used the opportunity to boast about their drinking, and like many a modern building site worker, poked fun at their boss, William Peake.
Historians are now searching for decedents of the men.
“We think the three Jacks and William were carpenters and probably local. Since the 1700s many skilled tradespeople from South Yorkshire worked here,” said facilities manager Julie Readman, from the Preservation Trust which owns and is regenerating the mansion.
The Trust is hoping to find descendants of messieurs Falding, Vickers, Wragg, and Peake, who may still live in the area.
It was common for workmen to secretly leave their mark in a similar style at that time. There have been several messages and handprints dating back to 1806 discovered in the mansion since work began on restoration in 2018.
The inscriptions were discovered by joiners who were working above the Van Dyck room on the Palladian East Front of the house and were excited to find messages from people who had been doing almost the exact same job 200 years previously.
Stonework and timbers are being repaired and 14,000 slates are being laid in the £5million roof repair, which is due to end in November.
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