Definitions for cruck
a sturdy timber with a curve or angle used for primary framing of a timber house, usually used in pairs.
A cruck or crook frame is a curved timber, one of a pair, which supports the roof of a building, used particularly in England. This type of timber framing consists of long, generally bent, timber beams that lean inwards and form the ridge of the roof. These posts are then generally secured by a horizontal beam which then forms an "A" shape. Several of these "crooks" are constructed on the ground and then lifted into position. They are then joined together by either solid walls or cross beams which aid in preventing racking. The term crook or cruck comes from Middle English crok, from Old Norse krāka, meaning "hook". This is also the origin of the word "crooked", meaning bent, twisted or deformed, and also the crook used by shepherds and symbolically by bishops. Crucks were chiefly in use in the medieval period for structures such as large tithe barns. However, these bent timbers were comparatively rare, as they were also in high demand for the ship building industry. Where naturally curved timbers were convenient and available, carpenters continued to use them at much later dates. For instance, base crucks are found in the roofs of the residential range of Staple Inn Buildings, Nos. 337 – 338, High Holborn, London. This is dated by documented records to 1586, with significant alterations in 1886 and further restorations in 1936, and 1954–55. Despite these changes, an authority on English Historic Carpentry, Cecil Hewett, has stated that these 16th-century crucks are original.
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