1) To set up or erect a building, originally bringing the main trusses of a timber-framed house into a vertical position.
R.W. Brunskill defines different aspects of the task in Timber Building in Britain with diagrams on p. 45 which show successive stages of the process and the number of men involved. Early documentary references are quite rare: 1583 John Hanson ... 36 years ago did know certain buildings in the town ... at the setting up of which [he] was a helper to rear or set up the same amongst other neighbours, Huddersfield
1678 for twoe Timber trees for Parsonage barne ... for bringing them from Yestrop parke ... to 4 carpenters 4 dayes worke apece ... in ale at the rearinge the timber, Pickering. Completing the rearing was clearly a cause for celebration, and a good excuse for ale-drinking: not surprisingly the custom outlived the timber-framed house and became associated with completing work on the roof of a house, whatever materials it was made of. In 1776, workmen in Meltham had ale supplied at four different stages, ending up with rearing – meat for workmen. In 1796, a North Riding farmer recorded a visit to friends, saying They had a supper about the rearing of their new house and in Mirfield in 1818 William Carr provided a bottle of rum and a Shoulder of Mutton for the rearing supper. In an earlier document the verb to ‘raise’ probably had the same meaning: 1465-6 ‘To William Yonge labourer ... at the raising of the said house’, Hull.