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Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

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

East Hertfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


TL3524SE 829-1/9/48 08/05/50

WARE TOWN BLUECOAT YARD (East side) Nos.19-22 (Consecutive) Place House (Formerly Listed as: BLUECOAT YARD No.21 Place House)


Manor house, incorporating aisled hall, subsequently used as school, now subdivided with community hall (Place House), office suite (No.20) and 2 maisonettes (Nos 21 and 22), following restoration. Late C13, altered and extended late C15/early C16, C17 and C18, restored 1977-78 (architect Gilbert Williams). Timber-framed, plastered, pebbledashed and colourwashed, part red brick casing, multiple gabled old tiled roofs, hipped over rear of Nos 21 and 22, brick chimneystacks. 2 bay aisled hall, with cross passage and service wing to right (east). EXTERIOR: 2 storeys with attics above service wing (part Nos 21 and 22). South front facing garden has projecting 2 storey C17 gabled porch, with recessed entry beneath heavy late C13 chamfered pointed timber arch, with pair C20 half-glazed doors, into screens passage. Room above, with 2-light casement window with divided glazing. Roof concealed by 4 coped gables; between first 2 from left is rainwater head dated 1718. To left, first floor has two 2-light casement windows with small panes; twin gables above, with parapets concealing roof. At left C17 rendered chimneystack with offsets, and brick stack above, rebuilt 1977. Ground floor has one pair of C20 French casement doors with divided glazing, set beneath a segmental arch and one 2-light casement window. To right of porch, one 3-light mullion and transom windows, that on first floor with small panes, and a recessed sash window lighting attics above. Rendered C17 chimneystack, with brick stack above, at right. Left hand side elevation (west) faces Bluecoat Yard. Main block 2 storey, with restored multi-light mullioned windows lighting upper part of hall and roof structure within. Rendered chimneystack with brick shaft at right. In centre is early C19 doorway, with 5 panel door, 2 flush panels at bottom, 2 fielded and raised panels in centre, and upper panel glazed as 3 lights, in architrave surround. Doorcase with slim reeded pilasters, capitals with paterae, Adam style frieze with garlands, reeded cornice, and projecting 2-panelled flat door hood with lead flat roof. To left on ground floor is early C19 canted bay window with brick base, sashes with glazing bars, and concave lead canopy roof; on first floor one 4-light mullion and transom casement window with glazing bars. Structure cased in red brick, C18, Flemish bond, with brick stack, offsets, and brick upper shaft at left. Beyond is outbuilding rebuilt 1977, single storey and attics facing Bluecoat Yard, one 2-light C20 casement window on ground floor, C20 gabled dormer in old tiled roof. Rear (north) elevation has recessed centre, encased in red brick, Flemish and irregular bond, 2 storeys, with entrance door to No.22 (maisonette) reflecting position of cross passage. 2-panelled door recessed in early C18 architrave surround, with fanlight of 2 fixed lights, each divided into 4 panes. C20 window with top-hung opening casement, all small panes, below segmental brick arch, and at right twin-leaved half-glazed early C19 doors, beneath segmental brick arch, now forming entrance to No.20 (first floor office suite). Two 2-light casement flush windows at first floor, beneath half-brick flat arches, and one small, one large brick gable with parapets concealing roof. Rainwater head dated 1718 at right. At left is projecting service wing, 2 storey and attics, plastered, pebbledashed and colourwashed over timber frame, projecting further north is single storey C18 outbuilding, altered 1970s, brick with old tiled roof. INTERIOR: the major element of Place House is the aisled hall, of 2 unequal bays, with spere truss and screens passage to the east. Octagonal columns with square pads, moulded bases and moulded capitals. Arch-braced tie-beams with intermediate struts - the arch braces in the centre were restored in 1977 to a more slender section than indicated by the mortices. The tie-beam is cambered and has twin bold roll mouldings, carried round the hall as a cornice, and at the west end across a tie-beam, now removed, beyond which was a 3 bay cross-wing, the position for whose tie-beams are indicated by dovetail housings in the wall plate. Mortices in the east arcade post at first floor level within No.20 indicate the original existence of a further bay to the east. 2 bays of the south aisle survive; in the C18 a fireplace was inserted in the north aisle. Crown post roof, with central octagonal crown post, with moulded base and cap, fore and aft bracing to collar purlin, and lateral bracing to collars. Square crown post at west end, and above tie-beam which marks screen position. Archaic splayed and tabled scarf joint in arcade plate to the east of the central truss has been stated as confirming C13 date of the original structure. The spere screen, originally removable, dates from early C16, and has 2 octagonal posts with moulded bases and caps carved with pomegranates and Tudor roses, and is divided into 12 panels, plain below and ornamental above in 2 rows, with urns, flowers and heraldic motifs. The half-rose with half-pomegranate was a badge used by Mary Tudor Lady of the Manor in 1550, and it has been suggested that the shield with 3 motifs, shows well-heads, and is the badge of her steward, Richard Welles. The date 1637 painted on is later than the construction. The corner fireplaces were inserted late C17, when the building was adapted by Christ's Hospital for use as Bluecoats School. The rear ground floor room behind the hall contains reset C17 panelling, and a mid C18 fireplace surround with moulded architrave. East of the screens passage the service wing was constructed early C17, and the ground floor room east of the hall, the parlour, was decorated with painted-on panelling as a wainscot, with florid scrollwork above. The remaining ground floor rooms were service rooms including the kitchen and buttery. Above were 4 rooms, with access from a close string newel staircase with bobbin balusters to first floor and 'S' splat baluster in flights to attics. Service wing is now shared between Nos 20, 21 and 22. HISTORICAL NOTE: Ware Manor was held by Hugh de Grentmesnil in 1086. Place House was probably constructed during the tenure of John Wake, 1285-1300. Joan of Kent, widow of the Black Prince, mother of Richard II held the Manor between 1352 and 1384. The Manor descended by marriage to Richard III, and was granted by Henry VII to his mother, Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond in 1487, who held it until 1509. Between 1575 and 1587 the Manor was acquired by Thomas Fanshawe, who built Ware Park, and leased out the Manor House. Humphrey Packer who leased part of the Manor in the mid C17 may have rebuilt the east wing. Christ's Hospital acquired the property with the remainder of Bluecoat Yard in November 1685, and remodelled Place House by demolishing the west wing, adapting the hall as a large classroom by extending it northwards, demolishing the north aisle. The south aisle was heightened to 2 storeys and the corner fireplaces were added. The east wing was adapted as the schoolmaster's house. The Bluecoat School at Ware closed in 1761. An upper floor was inserted in the schoolroom in late C18, and removed in 1977. Place House returned to educational use in the mid C19, which ceased by 1880. In the early 1970s Place House, which had deteriorated, was acquired and restored by the Hertfordshire Building Preservation Trust Ltd., architect Gilbert Williams, and was re-opened in 1978 by HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The building is one of the most important early medieval timber-framed structures in the County. (Hunt EM: The History of Ware: Hertford: 1986-1946: 1-10; The Buildings of England: Pevsner N (rev. Cherry B): Hertfordshire: Harmondsworth: 1977-: 25, 379; Smith JT: English Houses 1200-1800. The Hertfordshire Evidence: London: 1992-: 13/4,25/6,143,177/8; Smith JT: Hertfordshire Houses. Selective Inventory: London: 1993-: 195-7; Ware 25" to 1 Mile. Surveyed by the Ordnance Survey Department: 1851-; The Victoria History of the County of Hertford: London: 1912-: 381, 385-92; Forrester H: Timber Framed Buildings in Hertford and Ware: Hitchin: 1964-: 30-1; Christ's Hospital Archives Map 1685: 1685-; Rowe V Dr: The Bluecoat Children in Ware 1564-1761: Ware Society: 1983-; Hewett CA: English Historic Carpentry: Chichester: 1982-: 122-3 FIG252/330/356).

Listing NGR: TL3592214357


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

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Books and journals
Doubleday, A, The Victoria History of the County of Hertford, (1912), 385-92
Doubleday, A, The Victoria History of the County of Hertford, (1912), 381
Forrester, H , Timber Framed Buildings in Hertford and Ware, (1964), 30-1
Hewett, C A , English Historic Carpentry, (1982), 122-3
Hunt, E M, The History of Ware 1986-1946, (1986)
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, (1977), 379
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, (1977), 25
Smith, J T, English Houses 1200-1800 The Hertfordshire Evidence, (1992), 25-6
Smith, J T, English Houses 1200-1800 The Hertfordshire Evidence, (1992), 143
Smith, J T, English Houses 1200-1800 The Hertfordshire Evidence, (1992), 177-8
Smith, J T, English Houses 1200-1800 The Hertfordshire Evidence, (1992), 13-14
Smith, J T, Hertfordshire Houses Selective Inventory, (1993), 195-7
'Ware Society Newsletter' in Ware Society Newsletter, (1983), 143


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: 17 Dec 2006
Reference: IOE01/15563/03
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr A. Gude. Source Historic England Archive
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