What is Wychert?

The name of the cottage is pronounced: Witch-ert. The word is spelt in a number of ways: Witchert, Whitchert, Wychert, etc. The word means white earth or mud.

This is the name of the earth walling that is unique to the area. The walls are made by excavating the local subsoil, wetting it and mixing it with chopped straw. The walls have a base plinth of rubblestone, this is called the grumpling. On top of the grumpling the wychert is built up in layers called berries, these must be left to dry before adding the next berry. The walls are then topped with tiles for weather protection.

Some of the cottage walls are made in this way.

The tallest Wychert building in the world is in Haddenham. It is the Methodist Chapel (1822) which collapsed in July 2001! but it has since been rebuilt. The widest building in the world is reputed to be the Haddenham Baptist Church (1809).

There is an old saying, that if you have an enemy, then leave them an old Wychert cottage in your will. Then they would never stop putting their hands in their pockets to pay out for repairs!

 

 


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