The spacing between the rings is mimicked by trees growing together in a particular area. They’re wide apart during a favourable warm, damp growing season but close together when the tree is struggling against cold or drought. We know from experts who’ve studied the growth-rings of similar trees, that half of the Clandon timbers came from Finland and the other half from the Swedish/Norwegian border region.
Historians and scientists who’ve studied the export of lumber in the 1700s think it’s likely that the timbers would’ve been felled to order and shipped from the Baltic soon after. They were probably delivered to one of the many timber yards on the river Thames at Southwark and then made their final journey to Clandon, perhaps coming up the Wey Navigation as far as Merrow. It was common practice to use unseasoned wood because it was easier to work, so we’re confident that the timbers would‘ve been on site at Clandon sometime during 1730.
Without Lord Onslow’s instructions, architect Giacomo Leoni’s drawings, or bills from the builders, it’s been very difficult to confidently date the construction of the house. With this fascinating discovery we now know that the house was well on the way to being built in the summer of 1730. But a mystery remains; when the Prince of Wales came to dinner in 1729 – where exactly was he eating?