Churchyard Farmhouse, formerly listed as Church Farm House

Overview

Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II*

List Entry Number: 1053803

Date first listed: 01-Feb-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Jun-2018

Statutory Address: Churchyard Farmhouse, Churchyard Farm, Neenton, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, WV16 6RJ

Map

Ordnance survey map of Churchyard Farmhouse, formerly listed as Church Farm House
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

Statutory Address: Churchyard Farmhouse, Churchyard Farm, Neenton, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, WV16 6RJ

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

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Neenton

National Grid Reference: SO6371287696

Summary

A house, originating in the late C16 or early C17, altered and extended in the C17, C18, C19 and C20.

Reasons for Designation

Churchyard Farmhouse, a house originating in the late C16 or early C17, altered and extended in the C17, C18, C19 and C20, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* as a high quality example of an L-plan house with hall and cross wing, a late-medieval style of house layout which persisted until around 1700 and is on the cusp of the transition from the medieval to the symmetrical early modern house; * for the high degree of survival of historic fabric and the quality of the timber framing and elements of decoration; * for the exceptional survival of the 'Shropshire scroll' type decoration in the upper floor of the cross wing.

Historic interest:

* the building possesses a high degree of special interest as an example of its type, retaining a high degree of original and historic fabric and showing evolution over time.

History

The earliest known large-scale depiction of the farm is an estate map of 1796 which shows the landholdings of Mrs Mary Hudson. By 1838, this estate had passed to George Edwards and on his death to his widow Sarah. In 1843, Sarah lived at the farmhouse, together with the Good family, who were the farmers until 1902. By 1912 the farm was part of the Neenton estate owned by the lord of the manor, Lt-Col Armar Noel Lowry Corry, who offered it for sale that year. Churchyard Farm remained a working farm until 1987 when it was acquired by the present owners.

It was built in the late C16 or early C17 as an L-plan timber-framed building comprising what was probably a two-bay hall to the west and a three-bay cross wing adjoining to the north-east. Both were of two storeys over two cellar spaces along the north-west frontage. Originally, the house was jettied on at least three sides, to the south-west, the north-west and part of the north-east. Unusually, it had two doorways side by side, leading into the hall and the cross wing respectively. The original plan appears to have included a ground-floor hall, possibly with a smoke bay against the north-east wall, and a staircase enclosure or turret to the south-east. Above this were probably two smaller rooms, while the cross wing had two large rooms on each floor.

The first major phase of alterations dates from the late C17 or early C18. The most significant change to the plan form was the removal of the original stair and the potential smoke bay, and their replacement with the current staircase behind the former hall entrance. The partition to the west of the stair was completely rebuilt from ground to attic level but appears to have reused earlier timbers. At the same time, an additional cellar stair was inserted below the new stair. The whole south-west elevation was rebuilt in rubble stone and red brick, which included a new internal fireplace in the hall, suggesting it replaced the putative smoke bay as the hall’s main source of heating. At about the same time, or possibly slightly later, a single-storey stone-built range, possibly used as a kitchen, appears to have been added to the south-east of the hall. This extension gave the building its current plan form, which, however, is not reflected by historic maps. The first-floor north room was also subdivided around this time and a partition relating to the garderobe removed. The hall roof was remodelled, probably in relation to the removal of the smoke bay.

The alterations of the late C18 and early C19 appear to have been largely cosmetic and included the insertion of sash windows, six-panelled doors, and a fanlight over an external door. The cross wing’s north room on the ground floor was updated with reeded timber arches on fluted pilasters and, possibly, a (since lost) scheme of timber panelling. Further alterations were made in the late C19 or early C20. The south-east end of the cross wing appears to have been rebuilt in coursed stone around this time, which included the east end of the north-east elevation. An upper storey was added to the earlier kitchen range and the other two chimney stacks were rebuilt. A new dormer window was inserted in the south bay of the south-west elevation and a new attic stair was inserted on the first-floor landing.

The most recent phase of alterations occurred in the late C20 and early C21. A new kitchen entrance was created, and a former kitchen door turned into a window. Inside the kitchen, the former rear (south-east) wall to the main range was demolished. An enclosed walkway linking the house to the granary was built in about 1993. Due to structural problems, the north corner was rebuilt on the ground floor, which included the outer timber-framed walls, the floor structure and part of the ceiling. Numerous original features were uncovered, like the garderobe, the original hall door, several original windows, and the wall paintings.

Details

A house, originating in the late C16 or early C17, altered and extended in the C17, C18, C19 and C20.

MATERIALS: Timber framed on a stone base, with an external stone chimney, the original wattle and daub infill largely replaced in brick. The south-east, south-west and part of the north-east elevations have been rebuilt in rubble stone, with some brick in the south-west elevation. Brick chimney. The roofs are covered with handmade clay tiles. The modern link to the granary is of stone.

PLAN: The plan is irregular and nearly square, with a projecting chimney to the north-east and an L-plan lean-to link to the granary to the south. The original L-plan had a short hall aligned south-west to north-east and a longer cross wing, projecting to the south-east and flush with the hall to the north-west. The kitchen extension was built in the angle of the two, creating the current footprint.

EXTERIOR: The timber-framed north-west elevation was originally the principal elevation with separate entrances to the hall and cross wing. Both doorways survive, although that to the cross wing has been partly replaced, the hall door has been lost, and the cross wing’s door has been replaced. There are two modern cellar windows in older openings. The timber-framing on the ground floor is exposed but most of the first floor is rendered. The timber-framing of the cross wing’s ground-floor elevation is recent, but on the hall side original timbers survive, including part of an original, ovolo-moulded window. Part of a similar but smaller first-floor window is visible nearly directly above. The remaining windows are later insertions. The jetty bressumer and the principal rafter of the cross wing gable have double-ovolo-and-quirk mouldings.

The north-east elevation has a timber-framed section north of the stone chimneystack, which continues the moulded jetty. The ground-floor section has been rebuilt, but an original window with diamond mullions survives on the first floor. The large chimneystack is of rubble stone with Victorian brick chimneys. The integral garderobe is slightly corbelled out at first-floor level; it is roofed under a small catslide. The wall to the south of the chimneystack was rebuilt in coursed rubble stone, together with the entire south-east elevation of the cross wing. That elevation has sash windows on both floors and an external door with a fanlight and a later tiled porch roof. Beside it is the slightly projecting kitchen extension of rubble stone, which was later raised using coursed rubble stone. The kitchen has two ground-floor casement windows with segmental heads; the stack does not project externally.

The south-west elevation of the hall has been rebuilt using rubble stone and brick; it is rendered at attic level. The current entrance through the kitchen is recent, as is a first-floor casement window directly above. At ground-floor level, the south-west elevation of the kitchen is hidden behind the late C20 lean-to link to the granary. Beside the entrance door is a large C20 window and on the floor above is a later dormer with a casement window.

INTERIOR: There are two cellar rooms, each with separate stairs, under the north-west range, which are lit by windows to the north-west. The floor structure above both spaces has been rebuilt.

The ground floor has four principal rooms, with the main stair at the centre of the north-west range. Most of the doors on this floor are six-panelled. The west room in the former hall wing has been remodelled with C18 dado rail, cornice, and encased ceiling beams. The north room in the cross wing has exposed timber framing which on the external walls is a modern replica. The main traces of this room’s Georgian remodelling are the two reeded timber arches on fluted pilasters leading to the stairwell and the lobby to the north cellar stair. The ceiling beam has scrolled chamfer stops. The cross wing’s south room has a large fireplace of stone and brick with a plain bressumer. The two main ceiling beams have scrolled chamfer stops. The kitchen has a large brick fireplace with bressumer. The enclosure to the south cellar stair has a plank-and-batten door with strap hinges.

The first-floor plan largely mirrors that of the floor below but has more subdivisions. The first-floor room in the hall range has a brick fireplace. Several doors in the cross wing are of the plank-and-batten type with strap hinges. The cross wing’s north room has the remains of wall paintings of the late C16 or early C17, featuring white guilloche and foliate patterns with black outlines on a red background, in a design known as Shropshire scroll. The same room gives access into the small garderobe space. A small room to the west may have been an early attic stair enclosure. The fireplace in the south room is boarded up. The spaces above the kitchen contain two modern bathrooms and a corridor with a reset beam in the position of the hall’s original wallplate. The staircase landing has a ritual burn mark on a timber post, as well as marks indicating the position of the former attic stair.

The three-bay cross wing has a principal-raftered tie-beam roof with queen posts and raking struts. The hall roof has been altered by the removal of collar beams but now has similar trusses to those of the cross wing. It also appears to have smoke blackening which may relate to an original smoke bay.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: The GRANARY is a small, two-storey stone building with a tiled gabled roof. The identification of a first-floor granary over a coach house and a saddle room – a common combination – is confirmed by the description in the 1912 sales particulars. Originally freestanding, it is now linked to the farmhouse by an enclosed L-plan walkway built in about 1993. An external stone stair at the south-west leads up to the upper floor granary (not inspected). The low-ceiled ground-floor spaces are accessed from the north-west side, which faces the enclosed link. The granary is thought to date from around 1800 as it shares stylistic similarities with alterations to the house which date from the late C18 or early C19.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 16/07/2018

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 254874

Legacy System: LBS

Sources

Books and journals
Davies, K, Vernacular Wall Paintings in the Welsh Marches, 1550-1650, (2008), 171, 211
Moran, M, Vernacular Buildings of Shropshire, (2003), 337, 469
Pevsner N, , Newman, J, The Buildings of England: Shropshire, (2006), 439
Other
Roethe, J Churchyard Farm, Neenton (internal HE report) (2017)
Shropshire Archives, ref 1671/17/Map 5, 1838 plan by Thomas Good, showing the estate of the late George Edwards
Shropshire Archives, ref 1709/57/11 bundle 245, 1796 plan by Joseph Powell, showing the estate of Mrs Hudson
Shropshire Archives, ref 5586/5/8/35, 1912 sales particulars
The National Archives, IR30/29/233, 1844 tithe map for Neenton

End of official listing