Also known as a ribbon wall
or a crinkle-crankle
, a serpentine wall is a brick wall
built in a wavy
fashion. This enables plants, typically fruit trees
, to be grown in the alcove
They are also stronger than normal straight walls, because they buttress themselves. So they can be made with fewer bricks, since they only need to be one brick thick.
They occurred through the eighteenth and nineteenth century, especially the early nineteenth. In England they are associated mostly with Suffolk, which has almost 50, twice as many as in the rest of the country. Thomas Jefferson used serpentine walls in landscaping the University of Virginia.