Last edited 26 Jul 2021

Crinkle crankle wall


This crinkle crankle wall and curved gateway leads to private gardens. Inside this entrance there is a curved gate to match the wall.

Pevsner’s Architectural Glossary (second edition) was published by Yale University Press in 2018. It defines a crinkle crankle wall as: ‘A garden wall undulating in a series of serpentine curves, especially in Suffolk’. This type of serpentine wall is also referred to as crinkum crankum, sinusoidal, ribbon or wavy wall. The term crinkle crankle was used in the late 1500s to describe an object with bends; it became associated with wavy walls in England in the 1700s.

In addition to being found in gardens (where they were sometimes used for growing fruit), crinkle crankle walls may have defensive purposes or may demarcate property boundaries.

A form of construction incorporating alternating curves was used in Ancient Egypt. It was also used by Thomas Jefferson at the University of Virginia. The technique typically requires less material than a traditional, straight wall, as the walls do not use mass to achieve lateral stability.

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