Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


Ordnance survey map of 173, HIGH STREET
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Statutory Address:

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

Dacorum (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 99163 07817



SP 9907 NW HIGH STREET 814/1/10019 173 19-MAY-01


Shop. Late C13, altered C17, re-fronted C19, and with further alterations in progress at time of inspection (January 2001). Timber framing on brick plinth, rendered to street frontage. Steeply pitched roof in Welsh slate now hipped to right-hand side but originally with gable-end to the street.

PLAN: Originally a C13 crown-post roof structure now and probably always of 2 bays aligned end-on to street, jettied and with evidence of medieval shop front; the lack of smoke-blackening suggests that the building was always floored throughout with a chimney bay probably inserted C17.

EXTERIOR: High Street elevation of 2 storeys with attic. Mid C19 display windows incorporating recessed entrance to centre. Flanking bay windows below fascia bearing shop name. First floor bay window to centre with blind panels on either side, below shallow parapet with brackets. Inserted dormer.

INTERIOR: Building now stripped to reveal structural members. Curved braces to wall posts at centre of framing divide the building into front and rear bays with wall framing extant in front bay. Large mortise to soffit of central joist at street frontage end suggests sub-divided facade possibly indicating original shop front. Brick staircase at cellar underneath front bay, the cellar re-lined in brick but possibly medieval undercroft. Winding brick steps with wooden risings to cellar. Arched brick niches with shelving below facade windows. Ceiling joists with carpenter's marks arranged in cellular pattern. Well (approximately 24' deep) in rear bay lined in flint 6' deep from mouth. Ground floor sole plate extends 3/4 length of the building on right-hand side, and rake extends the depth of the front bay at both sides. End posts and wall posts with mortises and curved braces to rake at both sides of front bay. Two studs extant at right-hand side and none evident at left-hand side where in-filled with brick. Centre wall post to left-hand side has curved brace to tie beam but only a mortise remains at right-hand side. Rake extends over end posts at front now supported by diagonal brace and brick in-fill. Ceiling joists in ground floor front bay. First floor wall plate at both sides extends through rear bay with scarf joints. Several studs remain at both sides in first floor front bay, in-filled with brick at left-hand side and wattle and daubed with puddle chalk at right-hand side. 1 stud in front bay at right-hand side carries detailed carving of capital with similar mouldings to surviving crown post. Curved braces from centre wall posts to severed tie beam. Extant timber framing at both ground and first floors for C17 insertion of chimney bay (stack removed) with wall posts (jowled at left-hand side ground floor) and curved braces to tie beams. Evidence of stair at right-hand side ground floor and stair present at first floor. Roof structure remains include common rafters with one complete pair of rafters with collar, damaged crown post with mouldings of C13 form and section of collar purlin with two diagonal braces and a single surviving curved down-brace. Dendrochronological analysis (October 2000) has dated two timbers to 1277-1297 and the building has been recorded by BEAMS.

HISTORY: Building likely constructed in late C13 as a shop or workshop with chamber above. Site of commerce suggested by its location in the urban centre, its original jetty, the undercroft and the well. Re-fronted in C19 for a millinery/drapery and a chemist used the building for much of the C20. Rows of shelving provided storage space on the ground and first floors and it was the removal of this that revealed the C13 frame protected through the centuries by the adjacent structures and the addition of interior layers.

SOURCES: Dendrochronology report, Dr. Bridge, UCL, October 2000; BEAMS report, Adrian Gibson, 2000; David Clark, "The Shop Within?: an Analysis of the Architectural Evidence for Medieval Shops," in Architectural History Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, 43: 2000.

Listing NGR: SP9916307817


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

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Books and journals
Clark, D, The Shop Within?: An Analysis of the Architectural Evidence for Medieval Shops, (2000)
Adrian Gibson, [Report on 173 High Street, Berkhamsted, Herts.], 2000,
Bridge, Dr, Dendrochronology Report [173 High Street, Berkhamsted, Herts.], (2000)


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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