The George And Dragon

8 Aug 2004
The George And Dragon, Speldhurst Hill, Speldhurst, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN3 0NN
Photograph (Digital)
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This information is taken from the statutory List as it was in 2001 and may not be up to date.

TQ 55 41 SPELDHURST SPELDHURST HILL (south side), SPELDHURST 12/584 The George and Dragon 20.10.54


Public house, former house. Late medieval, probably late C15, with major late C16/early C17 improvements some C18 work, minor C19 and C20 modernisation.

Exposed timber-framing on coursed sandstone footings, west end and rear is hung with peg-tile. Brick stacks, the late C16/early C17 stack with sandstone base, brick chimneyshafts. Peg-tile roof.

Plan and Development: Public house facing north north west, say north, towards the church. The main front block has a 3-room plan with a wide entrance hall left of centre containing the main staircase. Large axial stack between the centre and left (west) end rooms serves back-to-back fireplaces and the right (east) end room has a projecting end stack.

The present layout is the result of successive modernisations to the original house which still survives substantially intact. It began as a 3-room-and- through-passage plan open hall house. It had 2-storey bays each end of the central 2-bay hall which was originally open to the roof and probably heated by an open hearth fire. The right (west) end was the inner room end with principal bedchamber or solar above. Passage through the lower left hand side of the hall. Left end was the service end and originally divided into two by a central axial partition; probably buttery, dairy, pantry and the like.

Another bedchamber above. In the late C16/early C17 the main axial stack was inserted and the hall was floored over. The lower end was probably left unaltered. In the C18 it was upgraded. The axial partition was knocked out and the end stack inserted. The present stair probably dates from the same time.

2 storeys with attics each end and, various C19 and C20 service extensions to rear.

Exterior: Irregular 1:1:2-window front, all C19 and C20 casements with glazing bars, several iron-framed. Passage front doorway a probably late C19/early C20 Tudor arch containing a plank door with coverstrips flanked by side lights. Contemporary 2-storey gabled porch in Tudor style. Outer Tudor arch and timber framed first floor. Exposed framing of 5 uneven bays. It does include a great deal of early framing but less so towards the right end where the gabled end bay looks to be mostly C19. Tall and steeply-pitched roof is half-hipped to right and hipped to left.

Interior: Early carpentry is well-preserved and most of it is exposed.

However there are some problems of interpretation at the inner room (west) end. Was there a smoke bay this end before the stack? The joists in the inner room may date from the insertion of the axial stack.

If evidence from the inner room end is somewhat confusing in a brief survey such as this it is not from the rest of the house where late medieval carpentry can be easily seen. Wall framing of large scantling timbers with large curving tension braces. Crosswalls either end of the former hall also have large curving tension braces. Double doorway to former service rooms from the passage (one blocked by the C18 staircase). Both are Tudor arch doorways with moulded surrounds and sunken spandrels. Moulded beams each end of hall, both with brattished crests are part of the open hall arrangement.

Large scantling joists in the former service end (the east end) with evidence for the original service partition in the mortises along the underside of the axial beam. Good late medieval roof over the hall between the closed trusses each end. Central open truss has a cambered tie beam with large curving arch braces. Crown post above has chamfered corners and moulded cap and base.

Large scantling A-frame common rafter trusses with lap-jointed collars.

Because the roof is now open it is not possible to prove that the timbers were smoke-blackened from the open hearth fire.

Hall floored in the late C16/early C17 and its axial beam and joists are chamfered with step stops, so too are the joists over the passage. The arrangement of these beams and joists prove that the passage has been this wide since at least the late C16/early C17. Contemporary hall and parlour fireplaces are sandstone with low chamfered Tudor arch lintels. C18 fireplace in the former service end is brick with curving back and plain oak lintel.

The Goerge and Dragon is a good and well-preserved example of a late medieval hall house with good quality late C16/early C17 improvements. It is also one of a good group of listed buildings in the vicinity of the Church of St Mary (q.v.).

Listing NGR: TQ5538441388


This is part of the Series: IOE01/0255 IOE Records taken by Neville Broadbent; within the Collection: IOE01 Images Of England


© Mr Neville Broadbent. Source: Historic England Archive

This photograph was taken for the Images of England project

People & Organisations

Photographer: Broadbent, Neville

Rights Holder: Broadbent, Neville


Sandstone, Tile, Timber, Medieval Cross Passage House, Tudor Monument (By Form), House, Domestic, Dwelling, Open Hall House, Hall House, Timber Framed House, Timber Framed Building, Public House, Commercial, Licensed Premises, Eating And Drinking Establishment, Recreational