Why is Little Moreton Hall so wonky?

Little Moreton Hall is incredibly wonky! What caused the subsidence of the building? It might not be marshy ground as was once thought. Neil, a building surveyor and room guide at the Hall, explains.

It has long been suggested that marshy ground was the cause of the extensive settlement of the building. However, we have photographic evidence that trial hole excavations in the orchard proved to be dry. If the ground had been “boggy”, the holes would have rapidly filled with water. There is evidence that the moat was clay puddled, to seal against leakage, suggesting that the ground was free draining and would not hold water. 

Instead, we suggest that much of the settlement was due to the late addition of the long gallery, with no provision having been made for the additional load in the ground and first floor structures below. Distortion of the first floor ceilings are clear. Further, new oak inserts are evident at the base of many external wall posts, where rotted posts have been repaired, but not before settlement had already taken place. These factors, plus natural movement and settlement of the frame, probably account for the distortion of the building.

It may be almost unbelieveable, but the fireplace in the Long Gallery Chamber is perfectly straight, as proved by a spirit level! The surrounding floors and walls are very wonky and create the false impression that the fireplace is leaning.
Fireplace in the Gallery Chamber. It appears to be leaning but is in fact perfectly straight.
It may be almost unbelieveable, but the fireplace in the Long Gallery Chamber is perfectly straight, as proved by a spirit level! The surrounding floors and walls are very wonky and create the false impression that the fireplace is leaning.