dry-stone wall

1) A wall built without morter.

1805 Stone walls without morter are the usual fences in this contry: they are stronger and of longer duration than superficial observers would imagine and the art of making them is very curious, Charles Fothergill. Much has been written about dry-stone walls, especially about their impact on the landscape, and also about the skills of dry-stone wallers, but the history of the term itself is poorly documented. The OED has Celia Fiennes comment: 1702 ‘you scarce see a tree and No hedges all over the Country, only dry stone walls’, but nothing earlier. Arthur Raistrick quoted from monastic charters to show that some walls may have been built as early as the twelfth or thirteenth centuries but I have found no examples of ‘dry’ used to describe such walls earlier than the sixteenth century: 1538 the place ys wald abowte with dry walle of stone, Esholt

1612 a warren howse wall of a yeard thick drye, Brandsby

1647 for making of a rough dry stone wall … one yeard and a half highe, West Riding.

dates 1538 1612 1647 1805

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