Online information resources for building recording
Beginners are advised to look first at VAG's Recommended Reading. The list below provides a wider selection of freely available online resources available either as web pages or downloadable PDFs.
Contents1. Guidelines for recording
2. Examples of building reports
3. Reading lists and bibliographies
4. Glossaries and thesauri
5. Introductions to form or style of vernacular buildings
6. Researching individual places and buildings
- One-page recording checklist. Buckinghamshire Archaeology Society, Historic Buildings Section. Useful for beginners.
- Tick-Box Building Recording Summary. Building Archaeology Research Database (BARD). Simple 3-page checklist, printable PDF.
- Guidelines, forms and templates. Yorkshire Vernacular Buildings Study Group (as listed in Recommended Reading).
- A Step By Step Survey Guide. Buckinghamshire Archaeology Society, Historic Buildings Section (as listed in Recommended Reading).
- Drawing for Understanding. Historic England (as listed in Recommended Reading).
- Understanding Historic Buildings. Historic England (as listed in Recommended Reading).
- Hidden meanings of date stones on buildings in Dorchester-on-Thames. A 24-minute video review.
To protect the privacy of owners, recording groups generally restrict access to house reports to their members, and to researchers on application. Reports of many buildings are archived at an appropriate Record Office by recording groups, practices and individuals. Most sources listed below contain only an index; some lists are accessible only to members of the Group concerned.
- Oxfordshire Buildings Record. Some recent research available as PDFs to members.
- Historic England Research Reports. Database search facility.
- Yorkshire Vernacular Buildings Study Group Reports. Copies available on request.
- Archaeology Data Service. Database search facility for grey literature library of unpublished reports.
- Discovering Old Welsh Houses. House types in north Wales.
- Domestic Buildings Research Group (Surrey). Catalogue of records completed (use Recording links on homepage).
- Norfolk Historic Buildings Group. Links to their newsletters, some accounts of buildings.
- Somerset Vernacular Building Research Group. Summary reports by year.
- Wealden Buildings Study Group. Catalogue of records.
- Vernacular Architecture Group - Recommended Reading. Recommended reading list for beginners who are not following a structured course led by a tutor.
- Vernacular Architecture Group - Bibliography. Published sources.
- British Brick Society. Select list on the historical development of bricks, brickmaking and brick building.
- Construction History Society - topics. History of construction and building engineering, bibliography by topic.
- Construction History Society - authors. History of construction and building engineering, bibliography by author.
- Stone Roofing Association. Stone, tile and slate.
- Institute of Historic Building Conservation. Technical bibliography - materials and conservation.
- Wallpaper History Society. Recommended reading.
- British and Irish Archaeological Bibliography. Archaeology Data Service, brings several sources together.
- Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey. Graffiti and apotropaic marks.
- Buckinghamshire Archaeology Society Building Recording Section. Booklist by category.
- Yorkshire Vernacular Buildings Study Group. Booklists, general and Yorkshire.
- Scottish Vernacular Buildings Working Group. Own publications and articles.
- Illustrated vernacular glossary - BARD. Printable seven-page PDF by Tree-Ring Services, used for data entry to the Building Archaeology Research Database (BARD).
- Illustrated vernacular glossary - DBRG. Web pages by the Domestic Buildings Research Group (Surrey).
- Cruck terms. PDF of apex terms used for data entry to the VAG Cruck Database.
- Terminology for elements of a building. PDF, 70 pages, an alphabetical list of terms used by Historic England when indexing cultural heritage.
- Pevsner's Architectural Guide glossary. Largely non-vernacular buildings. With links to printed book and to excellent app.
- Edited version of Pevsner glossary. Also largely non-vernacular.
- Building components. Roof, window, stairs, etc, with photographs. Web pages by Tyrell-Lewis Associates.
- Stone, tile and slate terms. PDF by the Stone Roof Association.
- Wallpaper terms. Web pages by the Wallpaper History Society.
- Introduction to vernacular architecture - Steve Kir. Overview for beginners, by Steve Kir.
- Introduction to vernacular architecture - Jean Manco. Another overview, by Jean Manco.
- Introduction to building types. By Jean Manco.
- Illustrated roof truss types in Surrey. By the Domestic Buildings Research Group (Surrey).
- Window types in an Oxfordshire village. A 20-minute video review.
To protect the privacy of owners, recording groups generally restrict access to house reports to their Members and to researchers on application. Reports of many buildings recorded by individuals and by regional building recording groups have been archived at the appropriate Record Office.
- Victoria County History. Detailed documentary information in County editions, each several volumes. Still in production, some areas not covered. Searchable by parish and available online.
- British History Online by the Institute of Historical Research. Digital versions of older published volumes including the Victoria County History series and the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments in England series.
- Historic England resources:
- National Heritage List for England. Searchable database of all Listed buildings, scheduled monuments etc.
- England's Places. Searchable database. Digital version of old 'red box collection' at Historic England Archive (former National Monuments Record), an assortment of historic photos organised by parish.
- Pastscape. Searchable database of sites and monuments in England, including industrial, military, archaeological etc.
- County Building Stone Atlases. Commissioned by Historic England. Provides British Geological Survey atlases of stone used for local building.
- Archive (former National Monuments Record). Searchable database of all records, including historic photographs (some available online), Royal Commission field notes, and other public sector archives.
- Heritage Gateway. Searchable database of information held in county Historic Environment Records and Sites and Monuments Records.
- The National Archives. Searchable Discovery catalogue of records held at The National Archives and many county archives and record offices.
- Jisc Archives Hub. Descriptions of thousands of UK archives, from over 330 institutions.
- Archsearch at the Archaeology Data Service. Online repository of reports and archives, particularly those produced by professional archaeology units, including building recording.
- Britain from Above. Aerial photographs of the UK from the early 20th century, searchable by place name or grid reference.
- Historic Environment Scotland - Canmore. Database of buildings and archaeology.
- Cymru Hanesyddol, Historic Wales. Wales - map-based search.
- Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Wales - text search of several resources.
- Dendrochronologically dated houses. VAG dendro database search facility, over 4,000 entries.
- Cruck houses. VAG database search facility, over 6,000 entries.
- 'Wealden House' type houses. VAG database search facility.
- Digitised geo-referenced historic Ordnance Survey maps. From 1900 onward for all UK, scale up to 1:25,000, provided by the National Library for Scotland.
- Researching Historic Buildings. By Jean Manco. Includes historic maps listed by English counties, Scotland and Wales.
- The Genealogist tithe records and for England and Wales. (subscription required) With digitised copies of tithe maps available in The National Archives, which does not cover everything that might be available at the local Record Office.
Beginners are advised to look first at VAG's Recommended Reading.
Updated November 2019. Errors and suggestions please to Peter Varlow, VAG Training Group.