172 High Street


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Elstow, Bedford, MK42 9XP.


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Statutory Address:
Elstow, Bedford, MK42 9XP.

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

Bedford (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 04932 47653


A timber-framed house with a thatch roof covering, thought to date to the C17 or earlier, later altered and extended

Reasons for Designation

172 High Street, Elstow, a timber-framed vernacular house believed to date to the C17, is listed at Grade II for the following reason:

Architectural interest: * as a timber-framed dwelling of probable C17 date which retains many traditional constructional and plan form details representative of the region's vernacular building traditions.


172 High Street, Elstow, Bedfordshire is a timber-framed house thought to date to the C17 or earlier. It later underwent alteration and extension, changes which altered its plan form, and then was further altered in the C20. The building was first listed at Grade I in July 1964. In 2018 the building was re-graded at Grade II to appropriately reflect the level of its special architectural interest.


A timber-framed house, thought to date to the C17 or earlier, later altered and possibly extended.

MATERIALS: constructed of a timber frame with a roughcast render covering to the street elevation, and weatherboarding to the north gable, brick infill elsewhere, and a thatch roof covering in which are located two brick ridge stacks.

PLAN: linear four-bay plan with an off-centre entrance unrelated to the principal hearth.

EXTERIOR: the house comprises four bays, three of which form the central and southern parts of the house and are of a single storey with attics. The remaining bay at the north end is of two full stories, and the roof is stepped at the junction to respond to the change in levels. The front (west) elevation has an off-centre doorway to the south of the two storey bay, with a painted plank door. To the left is a four-light and a two-light window, to the right a three-light window, all with side-hung casements. At first-floor level in the north-end bay is a two-light window with glazing bar casement frames. Further south beyond the doorway is a gabled dormer with a two-light glazing bar casement. The window openings mostly have plain surrounds of painted timber.

The rear elevation has exposed framing of mixed character with brick infill panels. The bay to the right of the south-end bay is roughcast, and has a plain doorway with narrow flanking, single-light windows. The next bay has a single-light and a three-light window set within the exposed framing, and above a gabled dormer with a two-light window with glazing bar casement frames. The dormer sits within an area of plain tiling set into the thatch cover. The north-end bay has a deep curved tension brace to the upper floor framing and a single window opening to both levels.

INTERIOR: the interior of the building, comprising four distinct bays of varying width, retains much exposed framing, most significantly in the south end bay, which is open to the ridge and provides the only clear access to the roof structure, which has a single tier of purlins. There is much smoke blackening visible in the upper part of the bay, affecting both wall frame members and roof timbers. The west roof slope incorporates a long curved wind brace and some smoke-blackened rafters, below which is a tie beam and wall post, offset from the face of a roughly-finished, internal, masonry wall that incorporates the building's principal hearth, located in the adjacent bay to the north.

The hearth is formed of brick and has a deep recess set below a plain, timber lintel, and incorporates an oven in the right-hand side and small shallow recesses in the rear wall. A chamfered spine beam with lamb's tongue stops, is set on a timber pad in the brickwork above the hearth lintel and carries exposed floor joists. The partition wall between this bay and the third bay has exposed studwork and a central doorway. The third bay forms the entrance hall to the house, and accommodates a C20 bathroom enclosed by half-glazed C20 doors. To the side of the bathroom area is a flight of C20 stairs giving access to the upper floor. The three upper-floor rooms all retain some exposed framing of modest scantling and tension braces to corners, with some visible wattle and daub infill panels to partition walling. There are tapered masonry hoods to the ground-floor hearths and in two upper-floor rooms, but these do not incorporate surrounds or fireplaces. All of the upper-floor rooms are ceiled, thus concealing the upper sections of the roof structure, but the taller north-end room has an exposed cambered tie beam.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


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

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