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Pargeting on the upper wall of the County Museum, in Clare, Suffolk.

Pargeting (or sometimes pargetting) is a decorative or waterproofing plastering applied to building walls. The term, if not the practice, is particularly associated with the English counties of Suffolk and Essex. In the neighbouring county of Norfolk the term pinking is used.[1]

The Ancient House in Ipswich shows a particularly fine example of pargeting, depicting scenes from the four continents. When the hall was built in 1670, Australia and Antarctica had not yet been discovered, and the Americas were considered a single continent.

Pargeting derives from the word 'parget', a Middle English term that is probably derived from the Old French 'pargeter' / 'parjeter', to throw about, or 'porgeter', to roughcast a wall. (Source: Webster.) However, the term is more usually applied only to the decoration in relief of the plastering between the studwork on the outside of half-timber houses, or sometimes covering the whole wall. The devices were stamped on the wet plaster. This seems generally to have been done by sticking a number of pins in a board in certain lines or curves, and then pressing on the wet plaster in various directions, so as to form geometrical figures. Sometimes these devices are in relief, and in the time of Elizabeth I of England represent figures, birds and foliages. Fine examples can be seen at Ipswich, Maidstone, Newark-on-Trent.[citation needed]

The term is also applied to the lining of the inside of smoke flues to form an even surface for the passage of the smoke.


  1. ^ Gillian Darley (1983). Built in Britain. George Weidenfeld and Nicolson Ltd. p. 56. ISBN 0 297 78312 2. 

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