TMT - History in Miniature

Medieval York

The York project is the biggest project TMterrain has been commissioned to do. I have made tables the same size as this but nothing has come close to the number of buildings I have made as I have made for York. This means this page is the biggest page in the gallery so it may take a while to load!

the streets of York

lots of roofs!The commission was to create an eight foot by 6 foot part of York for a large collection of 28mm English Civil War figures to be deployed. I can hear you asking why I have called it medieval York? I based the layout on an old medieval map and I don't think many things may have changed over that time. I have added more chimneys (but still not loads) and I have made all the roofs tiled to reduce the fire risk.

pigs on the roof of the gateThe job was to be done in four stages. The first was a stretch of city wall but the rest was to be full of buildings. The wall needed a gate so I took one of the Bars that still exist today in York's city wall and used that as the basis for the gate. I also read that the timber framed dwelling inside the gatehouse had pigs on the roof (so no one could pinch them I guess) and I thought that was too good to ignore!

a representation of the Thaxted Guildhall in Essex from an illustration in the book Timber framed buildings of England by RJ Brown The rest of the layout, all six feet square was full of timber framed houses. The tricky bit here was to make it interesting and varied. It would not be a very inspiring layout if all the buildings were the same. I decided to get inspiration from various sources. The first was York itself and then I used the books I have on timber framing, my favorite being RJ Browns Timber Framed buildings in England, a visit to the Weald and Downland museum and finally my own imagination. Four buildings that are still standing in York that I used for inspiration are here along with a photo of the real thing

Barley Hall is a late medieval town house which the York Archaeological Trust has refurbishedone of the Merchand Halls still in York and I think still open to the publica real surprise to find this in York as it is very much a southern England design. Today it is a shopI can't remember its name. If anyone can help me I will be grateful

photographed on a research visit. Notice the colour of the wood- not blackthe real thing next to a bus stop in Yorkat 90 degrees to the street so is hidden awayI need a better photograph than this but shows a bit of detail as it is today

model of Market Hall found in the museumThe Weald and Down Open air museum ( was opened in 1967 with the aim of rescuing examples of every day buildings in the South East of England and to increase the public awareness and interest in buildings. Once saved they are exhibited for all to visit. It is a wonderful place to go if you like buildings. I took two and a half buildings from their collection as inspiration for a couple of models( a half because they have a Wealden house as well so I used their example and the one in York to come up with my own version). The two buildings were the Market Hall from Titchfield and Medieval shop from Horsham. You can see the similarity between the models and the real things below

Medieval shop photographed at the museummy shop with produce outsideThe Market hall as displayed at the museummy version of the market hall

the first section of buildings completed after the wallsThe Timber framing books were useful not just for pictures of actual buildings but for information on how medieval buildings were designed and the different types and styles of timber framing. I would have run out of ideas long before the project was finished without them. The picture on the right shows just one section (a third of the building area)of the project so I needed alot of ideas!

a closeup of the timberframing- this is quite an open pattern.Finally, before I add the last lot of photos, a little information on how I made them. The roofs were all made from the resin sheets of tile I have in stock. They saved me weeks work. The timber framing was done using balsa wood and wall filler (pollyfilla in the UK or Spackle I think, in the USA). I first made the framework of the house out of 5mm thick foamboard. I then textured thin sheets of balsa by running a stiff brush up and down the sheet to high light the grain. Finally, I cut the balsa into planks free hand so I got irregular shapes and thicknesses and stuck it on the foamboard in whatever pattern I was inspired by at the time. Once that was dry I filled the gaps between the wood with the filler. A long job but worth the effort as it shrinks a little when dry and gives a texture that takes paint washes and dry brushes well.

All that there is left to do is add more photos.

a long streetanother third of the buldingsthe same third froma different angleanother section

If you have any questions on any of these projects or they have inspired you to ask about your own commission then please contact David.