900 year old craft

Conversations with Henry and John Russell and Gabriel Langlands, our OB craftsmen, take you into a world of wood, oak above all, of dowel joints and grain. Hearing them talk about their work, instruct me and the students working to prepare the oak skeleton currently lying in the Barnyard that will become the Sam Banks Pavilion, is a reminder of how timeless this craft of vernacular green oak building is. OK, some of those robust Saxon techniques and customs, such as always using an axe, rather than a saw (“Saws are for sissies, son, here’s an axe…”) have been overtaken, and, yes, the Normans had some half decent ideas about constructing with wood, but most of the techniques we are using are a good 900 years old. With Badley Celebration Weekend imminent, this is a great way to be reminded of how central making and doing need to be to our school’s lives.

By Keith Budge, Headmaster Bedales Schools


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music school. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.