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A Study in plaster

In the ceiling of the parlour on the ground floor, the plaster moulding in one corner does not follow the line of the wall but encloses a square part of the ceiling about 92 cm [36 in.] across. We think that this square was once part of an access to the first floor from the parlour via a steep staircase; almost a ladder. It would have been put in when the west extension to the house was built, sometime after about 1550.