English architect and expert on timberframed (especially cruck) construction. Considering the ‘patina of time’ and the ‘layering of history’ were unimportant, his approach to restoring old buildings was somewhat draconian, and thereby raised hackles. When he proposed shifting condemned timber-framed buildings in Coventry to one site (Spon Street), he ran foul of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB): the final result was perhaps unconvincing, but had they not been moved, the buildings would have been destroyed. More successful among his interventions, perhaps, were Bear Steps, Shrewsbury, Salop., Boring Mill Cottage, Ironbridge, Salop., and the Ancient High House, Stafford. He was also a key figure in the formation of the Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, Worcs., and his reconstruction of the C14 Bredon Tithe Barn, Worcs. (for the National Trust after a disastrous fire (1980), which changed the Trust's attitude to making good damaged buildings), was of considerable importance. His Medieval Cruck Building and its Derivatives (1967) was influential, but his main published legacy is Conservation of Timber Buildings (1984), written with his second wife and architectural partner, Mary. His son, Martin (1940– ), is the well-known architectural photographer.
F. Charles (1967, 1984, 1997);Martin Charles ;The Times (12 Sept. 2002), 37