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


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Statutory Address:

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

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SZ 00879 90359



SZ0090SE HIGH STREET 958-1/17/64 (North West side) 14/06/54 Old Town House (Scaplens Court Museum)


Merchant's house, now museum. Late C15-early C16, NW range added, and NE range late C16; restored 1986. Coursed Purbeck rubble incorporating various other stones, some Bath dressings, later brickwork, and a tiled roof with stone slate verges. L-shaped plan with left-hand wing, now enclosed round a quadrangular courtyard. 2 storeys and cellar; 4-bay range. The SE front has two 4-centre-arched doorways to the right, the inner with moulded surround and the flanking broken ends of a former porch; right-hand one-light window with chamfered surround and a one-light window with moulded surround and iron grille; late C20 left-hand windows with chamfered surrounds and full-height central canted bay with plate glass and lead-hung first-floor apron with date of restoration (1986). A passage from the entrance leads through a 4-centre arch to the courtyard. The SW range has corbelled eaves, a mullioned window, a W gable with stepped kneelers and tripartite first-floor C20 window. NW elevation has a 4-window range with sashes in exposed frames. The courtyard has on the SW side a shield of arms of Poole over the doorway inscribed WP 1554, and 1729; across the SE side is a C20 gallery with steps up to the first floor with a large external stack, on the NW side a 4-centre-arched doorway beneath a relieving arch and blocked window and a 3-light first-floor mullion window, and to the NE side a 4-light mullion window. INTERIOR: the original house contains C15 four-centre-arched fire surrounds to the SE range ground and first floors, and a good fireplace with a large cambered stone lintel in the SW ground-floor, and doorways with 4-centre-arched heads to ridge and batten doors. The SE range has a through passage with a left-hand hall and right-hand store. The SW range has a ground-floor parlour with compartmented ceiling of moulded beams in 9 square bays, the SW room has a surviving fragment of stud partition with laths and lime plaster, and a winder stair in the NE end to a C18 cellar; the roof has principal and secondary trusses with continuous arched braces to the collars, and 4 purlin registers with windbraces to each quarter. NW kitchen range has a late C15 fireplace, and an early C17 first-floor enriched plaster overmantel. C16 NE range has a blind mullion and transom window to the outer first-floor wall, and a collar truss roof with chamfered beams. HISTORICAL NOTE: reputed to have been the former Guildhall, possibly housed the George Inn in the C17, and was the home of John Scaplen in the early C18. Developed from an L-shaped plan into a courtyard plan, and is an outstanding example of a late medieval quayside merchant's house. Full analysis with plan in RCHME. (RCHME: County of Dorset (South East): London: 1970-: 206; Buildings of England: Pevsner N & Newman J: Dorset: London: 1972-: 306).

Listing NGR: SZ0087990359


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Inventory of Dorset II South East, (1970), 206
Pevsner, N, Newman, J, The Buildings of England: Dorset, (1972), 306


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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Date: 02 Feb 2003
Reference: IOE01/09538/16
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Simon Roberton. Source Historic England Archive
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