Walling in vernacular or traditional buildings is commonly referred to, and recognised, by the nature of its construction, either mass/solid construction or frame construction. Walling of mass or solid construction, typically stone, brick, flint or earth allows the roof and upper floors to directly transfer their loads through the external and interior elements down to some sort of foundation. Frame construction, typically timber, dissipates the same loads from the roof and upper floors through the frame itself, so in theory, the physical loads could be said to be more evenly distributed through the overall structure. However, in practice, this principle probably varied a great deal, based on the different traditions of framing that were used in different regional areas ♣. Weather protection was made manifest in walling elements that used mass or solid construction methods, by a combination of the chosen structural material (stone, brick etc.) and the jointing material (clay, earth or lime mortar), whilst buildings that utilised frame construction required non-load bearing infill panels, typically wattle & daub rendered in lime plaster, to provide their walling elements with external protection from the weather.
As the English Midlands covers a reasonably large geographic and diverse topographic area, the types of materials that were used for walling in both vernacular and traditional buildings varied dramatically. From an abundance of timber frames in areas within close proximity to vast historic woodlands, such as Warwickshire & Herefordshire, to the upland areas and peaks of Derbyshire where stone buildings are much more commonplace. All of these variations demonstrate the unique and specific practices for both the choice of materials and the building methods and techniques used to exploit them.
♣ Brunskill, R. W. 1971. Vernacular Architecture. Faber & Faber. London.