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Windows are a great clue if you are trying to find the answer to the question - how old is my house. Sash windows are first believed to have been used in the late 17th century. Earlier than this heavy casement windows were the norm. In the early eighteenth century the superiority of the sash window meant that sash windows became predominant and in fact some owners of houses of earlier dates, replaced their casement windows with sash windows. This can lead to 16th and 17th century houses being mistaken for Victorian.


Some of the very earliest sash widows did not have weights and pulleys, rather the lower sash was held up using wedges. An intermediate development in the Georgian period was of the single sliding sash, followed later by designs where both sashes could be raised and lowered.

The window tax of 1746 was repealed in 1851 and as a result house builders started using more windows.

In the Georgian period, smaller panes were used in the sashes. Typically this was 6 panes over 6 panes, although larger widows would have utilized more panes.

During the Victorian period with the development of polished sheet glass in 1838, the use of larger sheets of glass became possible, with fewer glazing bars. This coincided with the use of "horns" to strengthen the frame. During the 1870's four paned windows became the norm, followed by 1 over 1 sashes. A late revival in the use of smaller panes took place at the end of the 19th century, along with the use of multipaned upper sashes over single paned lower sashes. (See picture below). It is not just the style of window but the window surround that can give a clue to how old a house is. Victorian window surrounds were particularly influenced by Victorian architect Elliott Rae.

The turn of the century was the hayday of the box sash, but by the time of World War 1 the casement window was again becoming more prevalent.





These 6 over 2 sash windows indicate a late Victorian house. In this case a house dated 1891.