Thanks for that swift response; must say that after going through all the pictures of people at work on mortices around this site,and failing to see any evidence of augering, I came to the conclusion that it may be regarded as a 'modern techneque', and therefore didn't dare suggest it.... thought that maybe ancient augers were such hard work (have seen pictures of poor people bent double over the V.hard task of getting a peg hole through) that a sqare sided hole may have been easier with the chisel...
As you can probably tell, I'm very keen to do this project I have started in as traditional way as possible,(ignoring the hewing with a chainsaw in some places!) but I guess it would be a site easier to go down first with a bit...trouble then is I've been cutting all mortices 1 inch wide, and don't have a 1 inch bit...not allowed to buy imperial sized anything over here any more...would have to get metric...(as I said before, it's sooo embarrassing!) Enough of my moaning.
Yes, I think that the English pegs really are mostly square, as when they emerge out of the other side of the hole, they are at best hexagonal, suggesting that they were knocked through so tight that they got their four corners squashed on the way through...that's certainly what has happened with the joints I have square-pegged so far myself.
Again, thanks for your help R.T.