Ice house at Ascott House, 190m north west of Ascott Farm

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020969

Date first listed: 16-Jul-2003

Map

Ordnance survey map of Ice house at Ascott House, 190m north west of Ascott Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Oxfordshire

District: South Oxfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Stadhampton

National Grid Reference: SU 61220 98214

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Icehouses are subterranean structures designed specifically to store ice, usually removed in winter from ponds and used in the summer for preserving food and cooling drinks. Thousands of icehouses have been built in England since the early 17th century. These were initially built only by the upper level of society, but by the end of the 18th century they were commonplace. They continued to be built throughout the 19th century, when huge examples were established by the fishing industry, as well as for use in towns. Icehouses only became obsolete after the introduction of domestic refrigerators in the early 20th century. Of the thousands originally built, some 1500 icehouses have been positively identified through a combination of archaeological and documentary research. Although a relatively common class, most recorded examples with surviving remains will be considered to be of national interest and appropriate for consideration for either scheduling or listing. They are also generally regarded as a significant component of local distinctiveness and character.

The ice house at Ascott House, 190m north west of Ascott Farm is notable on account of the early date of the building and unusual because of its two storey construction and dual purpose, serving two functions which are more commonly accommodated in separate buildings. It retains many internal features and although restored, has not lost its archaeological integrity. The structure shows a carefully planned strategy for storing food stuff: grain throughout the winter and perishable goods throughout the warmer months of the year. It provides a fascinating insight into the household management of Ascott House, and into how the developing tastes and expectations of its inhabitants could be met by the technology of the period.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes an early and unusual combined ice house and granary situated close to a later dovecote within the grounds of Ascott House. The ice house, which is a Listed Building Grade II, was constructed in the 1660s as part of a planned layout including a house which unfortunately burned down before completion. The finished ice house was retained and incorporated into later phases of the park's design. The structure is octagonal in plan and stands two storeys high with the lower floor occupied by the ice house and the upper floor by the granary. The ice house chamber measures 7.5m high internally beneath a domed roof which forms the support for the granary floor above. The chamber floor is partly subterranean and is entered by means of a passageway with doors at the internal (bottom) and external (top) ends, linked by a flight of eight steps. The ice chamber contains a central drain 1m in diameter, built into the floor and fed by a gulley, both of which are constructed of brick. The granary above has an identical floor plan to the ice house but includes a series of vents set in the walls below the roof line. The roof is supported by a wooden frame and is thatched. The building was restored in 1975.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 30849

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Hansell, P, Hansell, J, Doves and Dovecotes, (1988), 208
Other
OXFORDSHIRE 2, O.A.U., MPP Ice House Assessment, (1997)

End of official listing