Cupola House

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1038264
Date first listed:
07-Aug-1952
Date of most recent amendment:
19-Jun-2019
Statutory Address:
CUPOLA HOUSE, 7 THE TRAVERSE, BURY ST EDMUNDS, SUFFOLK

Map

Ordnance survey map of Cupola House
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Location

Statutory Address:
CUPOLA HOUSE, 7 THE TRAVERSE, BURY ST EDMUNDS, SUFFOLK

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

County:
Suffolk
District:
St. Edmundsbury (District Authority)
Parish:
Bury St. Edmunds
National Grid Reference:
TL8528264268

Summary

Town house built in the C17, altered around the 1680s, and extensively rebuilt and restored after a fire 2012-2017.

Reasons for Designation

Cupola House, a town house built in the C17, and partially rebuilt and restored after a fire 2012-2017, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* despite the considerable loss of original fabric from fire damage, historic fabric survives and conveys the historic form and character relating to its architectural status in the C17, and it has a well-proportioned, architecturally refined façade.

Historic interest:

* it forms a significant element in the historic centre of Bury and makes an important contribution to its sense of place and rich architectural character.

Group value:

* the majority of the buildings along The Traverse are listed, including the Grade II listed Corn Exchange and the Grade I listed Market Cross, so Cupola House has strong group value with its surrounding buildings.

History

Cupola House originated as two timber-framed properties before being converted into one private dwelling with a large shop on the ground floor by Thomas Macro, a prosperous apothecary and member of the governing elite in Bury St Edmunds. It was extensively altered by his son, also called Thomas, after it came to him on his marriage to Susan Cox in 1679. Thomas increased the height of the building and added numerous Baroque-style features, including a wrought-iron balcony, the paterae on the eaves cornice, and the cupola, by which name the property has been known since the late C19. Celia Fiennes recorded in her diary that the cupola was a distinctive landmark in the town and that the house was ‘the new mode of building, 4 rooms on each floor, pretty sizable and high’.

The house remained in the Macro family’s ownership until the mid-C18 by which time their apothecary’s shop and business had ceased to be. It was purchased in 1750 by Thomas Moyle who sold it in 1757 to Robert Hockley, a member of Bury Corporation and a substantial grocer. His widow Anne sold the family business in 1791 to Stephen Brooks junior who carried on the liquor trade established by Hockley which continued into the C19. During the tenancy of Benjamin Jennings from the early 1850s to 1882 the grocery line was phased out entirely and, for a while, part of the premises was known as the Victoria. In the early C20 Cupola House passed into the ownership of Clarke’s Brewery which, in 1917, amalgamated with Greene King who retained the property until 2002. It was then purchased by the Romaine family who renovated and restored the building, and opened it to the public as a bar and restaurant. In 2006 Cupola House was again sold and continued in use as a restaurant.

In June 2012 a fire broke out and destroyed a considerable amount of the building’s historic fabric. The two front rooms on the ground floor remained reasonably intact, along with parts of the two first-floor rooms at the front. Almost all of the façade remained up to eaves level, including the jetty and balcony, and the majority of the carved soffit brackets survived, as well as some of the paterae. The rear elevation was destroyed however, as was almost all of the second floor, attic and roof, leaving the south chimney stack and fireplaces up to roof level. The original panelling on the second floor and the open well stair, which was regarded as the finest of its period in the town, were also lost. Cupola House was subsequently rebuilt and restored to its former appearance. The surviving fabric was largely retained and a steel frame was inserted to provide structural support. It opened as a restaurant in 2017 but is currently vacant (2019).

Details

Town house built in the C17, extensively altered around the 1680s, and partially rebuilt and restored after a fire 2012-2017.

Given the extent of fabric that was replaced after the fire, the description of the exterior and interior of Cupola House is mostly of replica fabric and features unless it is clearly stated that these are original.

MATERIALS: lime based render on oak timber frame construction, with a variety of wood and expanded metal lath (to the west elevation). Steel framework too. Lime based render on block cavity wall construction to the north, east and south elevations. Part of the south gable wall, and the gable wall for the cupola staircase enclosure are hung with clay tiles. Roof covering of plain red clay tiles.

PLAN: the building is located in a terrace facing west onto The Traverse and has an approximately square plan.

EXTERIOR: Cupola House is in an ornate Classical style with three storeys, an attic and cellars. It has a double-pile plan with a valley gutter running between the front and rear ranges, and ornate tile-cladding in the apex of the south gable end. The wide modillion eaves cornice is enriched with flower paterae on the soffit. The first floor is jettied and both upper floors have chamfered stucco quoins. The symmetrical west-facing façade is five window bays wide with a central doorway reached via three stone steps with iron railings consisting of stick balusters and slender twisted newel posts with ball finials. The double-leaf door has three panels – the upper two glazed – and is set within an original doorcase with pilasters, bolection capitals and a dentilled cornice. This is flanked by original small paned bow shop windows in mid-C18 style with bracket supports and dentilled cornices. The upper floors are lit by six-over-six pane sash windows set in flush cased frames, except for the central bay on the first floor which has an eight-over-eight pane sash. The central bay on the second floor is lit by a French window with a semicircular transom light and radiating glazing bars. It opens onto a balcony supported by enriched console brackets and has cast iron railings with ball finials. The three dormer windows, which are wholly within the roof space, have two-light casement windows, cornices and pediments, the central one being segmental. A central octagonal and domed, lead-covered cupola rises above the ridge. This has a cornice which breaks forward over pilasters, and alternate faces lit by semicircular headed sashes with glazing bars. The dome is surmounted by a ball finial and a weather vane bearing the date 1693 and initials TMS, commemorating the end of the extensive works carried out by Thomas and Susan Macro. There are three large red brick chimney stacks which have plain rectangular shafts.

The rear (east) elevation to Skinner Street has two gables to the roof. It is four window bays wide, lit by six-over-six pane sashes set in flush cased frames. A panelled door with glazed upper panels, set within a pedimented doorcase with pilasters, is approached by three stone steps with slender iron handrails and stick newel posts.

INTERIOR: the plan form of four rooms occupying the corners of each floor with a central staircase is still partly legible although some partition walls have been removed, notably along the front of the ground floor. The conversion into a bar and restaurant has introduced industrial kitchens and WC facilities.

Due to fire damage very little of the original fixtures, fittings, joinery or plasterwork remains, and much of it has been restored with high quality replicas, including the two-panelled doors in moulded frames, cornices, bolection moulded fireplace surrounds, panelled dados and full-height panelling with horizontal lower panels and tall upper panels. The rooms along the front of the ground and second floors survived the fire reasonably intact, although the panelling here was reproduction.

Some salvaged materials have been re-used, notably a late Georgian hobgrate and a C19 round-arched cast-iron fireplace inset on the second floor, and a small number of the ornate console brackets against the newel posts on the oak staircase. This replicates the original open well stair which rises the full height of the house and leads to the cupola. It has barley-sugar twist balusters, closed moulded strings, panelled dados and hanging finials with a carved floral motif on the soffit. The octagonal cupola has a panelled dado, a heavy moulded plaster cornice and a bench around all seven of the closed sides. The original brick vaulted cellars retain the wine storage with slate shelves.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number:
467579
Legacy System:
LBS

Sources

Other
Cupola: The High House of an Apothecary, P E Murrell, 2004

Legal

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 30 Aug 2004
Reference: IOE01/12829/18
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Richard Storey. Source Historic England Archive
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