Fourche in the architectural sense seems to be unique to Anglo-Norman: there is no trace of it in the other dictionaries of French, although FEW (3,886a) has a range of attestations under the gloss “Stütze” (“support”) which are not that far removed from it semantically: “afr. fourche ‘partie de l’armature d’une tente’; mfr. fourchel ‘poteau fourchu dont on se sert dans la vigne’; (occ.) fourquèlo ‘étai fourchu pour faire monter la vigne’”, etc.. There are cognates in both medieval British Latin and Middle English; in English, fork is one of three words (the others being cruck/crutch and sile) which can designate this piece of the structure of a timber-framed building. The oldest DMLBS quotation is from the 10th century (Harley Glossary: “furcas: columnas”). On the subject of cruck construction, see N.W. Alcock, Cruck construction. An introduction and catalogue (London, The Council for British Archaeology (Research Reports, no. 42), 1981). Despite what is there asserted (p. 36, n.10), there are no quotations illustrating fourche in France in Bernard Édeine, La Sologne. Contributions aux études d’ethnologie métropolitaine (Paris/Den Haag, Mouton, 1974) pp. 288-293, but only of paufourche (cf. Gdf 6,44c; FEW 3,886b sub fŭrca. It is possible that the absence of the word with this meaning in France is because this construction method was not deployed there; more likely, though, is that this is a case of incomplete evidence. There are cruck houses in France which date back to c. 1520 (Limousin): cf. Meirion-Jones in Alcock, op. cit., 1981, 42-48 (p. 42) and it seems a little improbable that the technique emerged only after the Middle Ages. Timber-framed construction with wooden posts set in the ground is a type of building which is unlikely to leave lasting archaeological remains and the absence of precise descriptions of building methods in contemporary documents is well known. Moreover, the existence of the compound paufourches in France seems to imply that the simplex form was known with this meaning.
The exact sense of the word in any language is however uncertain. DMLBS defines it as “3 crutch-post, forked timber used as support; alo cruck, pair of carved timbers, sts. [=sometimes] a forked tree w[ith] trunk split and joined at the branches, to form arch which supports roof”. The quotation from the Chanson de Guillaume (v.3412: “E totes les furches en ad acraventés”) is translated by Wathelet-Willem (ChGuillW) as “charpente entière a tout démolie”; McMillan does not comment on the word. The simpler “crutch-post” is however also possible (despite the plural?), especially given the apparently rudimentary nature of he dwelling which Rainouart demolishes (“vit un bordel ester”, i.e. a cottage or hut, cf. AND bordel).