HIGH DOWN HOUSE WITH BUILDINGS AND WALLS AROUND COURTYARD ON NORTH SIDE

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
I
List Entry Number:
1175442
Date first listed:
09-Jun-1952
Date of most recent amendment:
24-Oct-1988
Statutory Address:
HIGH DOWN HOUSE WITH BUILDINGS AND WALLS AROUND COURTYARD ON NORTH SIDE, HEXTON ROAD

Map

Ordnance survey map of HIGH DOWN HOUSE WITH BUILDINGS AND WALLS AROUND COURTYARD ON NORTH SIDE
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Location

Statutory Address:
HIGH DOWN HOUSE WITH BUILDINGS AND WALLS AROUND COURTYARD ON NORTH SIDE, HEXTON ROAD

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

County:
Hertfordshire
District:
North Hertfordshire (District Authority)
Parish:
Pirton
National Grid Reference:
TL 14395 30544

Details

PIRTON HEXTON ROAD TL 13 SW (North side)

1/156 High Down House with 9.6.52 buildings and walls around courtyard on N side

- I

Manor house. E range c.1600 (probably 1599 from plaque reset in S wing) for Docwra family on occasion of marriage of Thomas Docwra with Jane Periam in 1599 (VCH (1212)49), N range in courtyard has their names and '1613' on plaque over entrance gateway. Enlarged in mid/late C17 to a double-pile plan with new staircase. Alterations when sold to Ralph Radcliffe 1726 (but scheme by Robert Adam 1768 to rebuild as a Palladian mansion for John Radcliffe MP never carried out - plans framed in house). Probably in early C19 house 'turned round' by altering S wing to a spacious entrance porch and closing off the stair access from the N courtyard with panelling. Armorial and date panels set into new S 'porch' at this time, and probably also the plaque of unknown provenance set into the E gable of the N courtyard range with date 1504 and name of Sir Thomas Docwra, Prior of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and a shield with his arms with in chef the arms of the order, and their motto below. Squared chalk rubble largely concealed by render, the upper floor walls of mixed construction with timber framed inner walls like Aston Bury and Rothhamstead Manor. Steep old red tile roofs. N courtyard range has timber framed S wall to courtyard now roughcast. A picturesque irregular Jacobean courtyard house standing isolated on a hillside site. Taller 2- storeys and basements E range has kitchen below the hall, is entered at the half level from courtyard to N, and stair continues up to great chamber on 1st floor. 2-storeys S service crosswing has 2-storeys and attic short wing projecting to S, possibly a stair tower originally but now converted to main entrance porch giving access at the level of the principle rooms. Lobby in the angle of the wings extended to W as a parallel range with staircase and new parlour in mid C17 making the S range double-pile. Oak studded entrance door; and the E wing has 2 two- storeyed projecting gables of unequal size, the N one with full-height bay window, both gables with original pierced and moulded barge boards; at the N end of this wing is a large original chimney stack with rebuilt diagonal shafts. The N elevation to the cobbled courtyard has a ground floor bay window at the W end, stone, moulded, mullioned and transomed on the E elevation. The windows of the S elevation are C17-C18 insertions, leaded lights in wood frames. The E elevation is the most important one. There is another original chimney stack on the W side of the house, also with rebuilt shafts. The interior has a number of C17 features and some C18 and C19 alterations; there is a quantity of C17 panelling used as dados, 2 original stone fireplaces in the upper storey E rooms, and an archway with Tuscan columns at each end of the passage from the entrance porch. The back staircase has some original features. Great chamber spanned by an arch-braced collar-beam truss and ceiled at collar level. Lofty basement kitchen lit through base of canted bay window has wide 4-centred arched fireplace with relieving timber over. Water Cistern to RH of fireplace and brick cooking stove in base of window bay. Stone moulded 4-centred arched fireplace in dining room. NE room on ground floor has cast iron fireplace exhibited at 1851 exhibition with scallop surround to circular opening. 2-storeys ranges on W and N sides of courtyard with wall on E. N range older and pierced by entrance carriageway near W end, has lodgings or dormitory accommodation on 1st floor reached by stair at W end in courtyard. 2-bays ground floor room at W entered from carriageway and with original W gable fireplace. 5-bays stable to E of carriageway. Upper floor has 3-lights casement leaded windows, clasped-purlin roof with curved braces to tie-beams from jowled posts in S wall. Wide 4-centred chamfered brick entrance archway in rectangular frame with shield plaque over and panelled double gates. (RCHM (1911)163-4: VCH (1912)46: Pevsner (1977)271: RCHM Typescript).

Listing NGR: TL1439530544

Legacy

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

Legacy System number:
163166
Legacy System:
LBS

Sources

Books and journals
Doubleday, A, The Victoria History of the County of Hertford, (1912), 46
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, (1977), 271
Other
Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Hertfordshire, (1910)

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

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