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Listed Building
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Ordnance survey map of OLD TONG FARMHOUSE
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Statutory Address:

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

Tunbridge Wells (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 67490 39735



10/190 Old Tong Farmhouse (formerly listed as Tong Farmhouse 20.10.54 II*

Former farmhouse. Circa mid C17 with early C20 alterations and incorporating a probably C18 former farmbuilding at the rear. The main block is of framed construction, the first floor tile hung, the ground floor partly underbuilt in brick and partly - on the front elevation - clad with imitation framing. Rear outshut brick on a ragstone base; old kitchen wing weatherboarded on a ragstone base; former farmbuilding weatherboarded above a handmade brick base. 2 brick chimneystacks, one dressed ragstone stack, the masonry brought to course, all with brick shafts; peg-tile roof.

Plan: West facing; overall L-plan. The main block is a 2-cell plan, the hall to the right heated from an end stack with a smaller, originally unheated room to the left with a rear outshut. The rear right wing, probably the C17 kitchen, is heated from an end stack and incorporates a stair cell. The evidence of an earlier stair, adjacent to the stack, was found during renovations (information from owner). Beyond it, to the east, a former farmbuilding, has been converted to the present kitchen. The chamber over the hall, although now subdivided, was originally a high status heated room and preserves remnants of an elaborate C17 scheme of painted decoration. The position of the original front door is not clear. At present the entrance is an early C20 doorway direct into the hall but an early C18 map of the farmstead shows a doorway on the east side for which there is no evidence now. The same map shows the house as a single block, without the rear kitchen wing. Alterations of the earl C2O probably include the existing main stair as well as the attic stair and re-fenestration. The quality of the C17 detail suggests that the house might have been larger at one time.

Exterior: 2 storeys and attic with separate cellars below the main block and the wing. The former farmbuilding to the east is single-storey. Symmetrical 4-window jettied front with a central early C20 plank and cover strip front door. The close studding of the ground floor has been applied to the earlier frame in the early C20. 2 4-light early C20 ground floor casements. The first floor has 2 small one-light coeval casements in the centre and 4-light transomed metal-framed outer casements; 2 gabled attic dormers. The remarkable feature of the front elevation is the moulded C17 fascia to the jetty wtih an order of foliage carving above an order of egg-and-dart decoration. Brackets to the left and right are also elaborately carved. The massive stone stack on the right return is shown on an early C18 map. It has a moulded cornice and 3 diagonally-set shafts, one false. The left end stack is probably C19. The catslide roof of the rear left outshut appears to have involved the partial blocking of a 5-light transomed ovolo-moulded mullioned stair window, which has one-light only below the transom. There is a second, probably C20 entrance on the left return, directly into the old kitchen.

Interior: The hall has a rather unusual arrangement of scroll-stopped ceiling beams and exposed joists: 2 cross beams form narrow bays at either end, the centre bay as 2 axial beams. The hall fireplace preserves the remains of moulded brick jambs and a chamfered lintel. Wider-spaced stone jambs are said to survive behind the wall plaster where the existing lintel has been hacked back when the fireplace was reduced to its present size. 2 3-light ovolo- moulded mullioned windows are preserved in the wall framing of the front elevation, they are blocked externally. The rear kitchen wing also preserves scroll-stopped ceiling beams and exposed joists; the fireplace has brick jambs and a chamfered lintel. The stair has a first floor balustrade of probably re-used C17 turned balusters. The chamber over the hall has plain ceiling carpentry, probably always intended for plaster, and a fireplace with chamfered brick jambs and a slightly cranked lintel. The chamber has been divided into 2 rooms and the unheated room preserves 2 sections of wall- painting. A decorative grid design is divided into tiers with alternating bands of a lace-like design and panels containing painted cartouches in ochre, red and green. One of the sections of painting is faded, the other is well- preserved. Fragments of more painting are visible on the jowled wall posts of the framing in both rooms. The chamber over the smaller room in the main block has plain ceiling carpentry.

Roof: 3 bays of tie beam with queen struts and clasped purlins, the queen struts very tall and giving ample space for accommodation in the attic. The roof over the single storey former farmbuilding is 3 bays, the southern bay narrower and built round the old kitchen stack. The design is also tie beam and queen strut with clasped purlins, crudely nailed together. The whole roof is heavily sooted, including the stack.

The house is said to have belonged to the Robarts family in the C17. In the C20 it was part of the estate owned by the architectural historian, Christopher Hussey, and is said to have been the bailiff's house (information from the owner).

An interesting vernacular house with high quality features. The surviving paintwork is an especially rare survival.

Listing NGR: TQ6749039735


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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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