Practical Earth Building: Humble Heritage Workshop

Practical Earth Building: Humble Heritage Workshop

A great opportunity to work hands-on with individuals who know a lot about earth buildings and to have a go at everything - delegate, 2014 Glorious Mud course

21/06/2019 - 22/06/2019
Course Type: 


Introductory, General Interest, CPD
Priorslynn Farm
United Kingdom
Required Equipment: 

Practical clothing for hands-on work; sturdy footwear(preferably steel-toe capped boots); work gloves


£200 for two days (includes lunch, tools and materials). Student discounts and bursary places are available.

Event details

21 & 22 June 2019, 09.30-16.30

Join us on the Scottish/English border for the first of our newly created 'Humble Heritage' workshops, a series of hands-on courses that explore and celebrate traditional buildings and the skills that go into creating and repairing them.

Over the two day course, participants will have the opportunity to gain practical, hands-on experience in a range of earth building techniques, including earth walling and clay plastering. Delegates will also leave with an understanding of the fascinating Clay Dabbin vernacular of the Solway Plain, and will have had a chance to discuss approaches and considerations towards the conservation of vernacular buildings in a wider sense.

Alongside the hands-on tutorials, the course will include lectures, a bonfire social in the evening (at a small extra cost to cover refreshments), and plenty of opportunity to get to know like minded vernacular building enthusiasts. A light lunch will be included in the course fee, and certificates of attendance are available for CPD purposes on request.

Places on this course are limited to allow for hands-on learning, so book early to avoid disappointment. We have two student places and one bursary place available on this course at half-price - if you are interested in finding out more, please contact us at

The course will take place at Priorslynn Bothy, a Grade A listed cruck framed, clay walled building in the village of Canonbie within the notorious ‘Debateable Lands’ on the Scottish / English border, which has it’s own unique history as a no mans’ land frontier.

The building is undergoing conservation works by earth building specialist and SPAB Fellow, Alex Gibbons, who will give a tour of the building and explain his approach to its conservation and repair. Alex runs a small workshop ,‘Stick in the Mud Conservation’, from the site, and the courses will be led by him and his team.

As well as providing practical and theoretical teaching in repairing earth buildings, the course aims to follow in the Solway tradition of  coming together to build with clay:

“...Upon a day appointed, the whole neighbourhood, male and female, assemble… Some fall to working the clay or mud by mixing it with straw… and four or six of the most experienced hands build and take care of the walls… This is called a ‘daubing’ and in this manner they make frolic...”
(Statistical account for Scotland II; 1791-9)

We hope that you will join us for this modern-day daubing!

Booking Terms & Conditions

Accessibility: please contact the SPAB before booking to discuss any special access requirements.

This course is being organised jointly by the SPAB and SPAB Scotland.

About SPAB Scotland

Members of the SPAB living and working in Scotland decided to form their own semi-autonomous group in 1995. Scotland has its own building traditions, architectural language and property laws, all of which are best dealt with locally. All members of the SPAB residing in Scotland are automatically members of SPAB Scotland.