The Anchor Public House
The picture shows a beam at The Anchor Public House (http://www.theanchordanbury.co.uk) in Runsell Green, Danbury, Essex.
These burn marks were caused by reed or tapers. (Candles) burning into timber about three centuries or so ago.
The taper was fixed to the beam, normally in the darkest area of the room by a piece of damp clay. After the taper had burnt away and lightly burning the beam as can be seen here, it was replaced in the same place. The risk of fire was low due to the density (close grain of the oak).
If you wet your finger and gently rub on these marks the soot on your skin will be 300 years old!
After the low pressure blasting of beams with these burns evident it shows how sympathetic we are when cleaning timbers of this age.
Blastit Limited carried out blast cleaning for Galliford Try in 2012 in what was called the Powder Rooms which is now the Serpentine Sackler Gallery .
The brickwork and timber beams can be seen there today.