Elsdon Tower : The Caphouse and Roof Structure
The internal face of the east gable wall shows two rough infilled openings of uncertain function, possibly for earlier purlins; below the northern is a re-used block with a chamfered edge. Although the RCHME saw ‘scarring indicating at least two earlier roof lines’ here, nothing is very clear. The adjacent stair well is capped off at the level of the attic floor.
The internal face of the west gable wall is heavily pointed, and contains a small hatch which until recently provided the only access to the roof from the parapet walk; its blocked lower section has already been described. There are two sockets, low down, towards the centre, and above them a recently-blocked opening (under a timber lintel, apparently an old piece re-used) which communicated with the flue to the chimney which caps the gable (information from Robin Dower). RCHME interpret this as a blocked loop window, sealed by the addition of the stack
The tower roof is of five bays. The principal rafter trusses have two levels of collars, halved and nailed in from the east, the lower accompanied by vertical struts at each end dropping to the tie beam; all the collars and struts, and small yoke-like pieces providing additional support to the ridge (carried diagonally between the ends of the principals) all appear relatively recent. There are two levels of purlins on each roof slope, secured by tusk tenons. The trusses are numbered I, II, III and IV, from the west end; the purlins also carry numbering; figures as high as XXV were noted. The stone slates of the roof are held in place by sheep bones ('a sheepshank roof'), an increasingly rare survival of a vernacular tradition.