Tallow Court


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Tallow Court, New Inn Yard, Wisbech


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Statutory Address:
Tallow Court, New Inn Yard, Wisbech

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

Fenland (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


Granary or warehouse possibly built in the C15.

Reasons for Designation

Tallow Court, a granary or warehouse possibly built in the C15, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: it retains a significant proportion of its early fabric, including a moulded jetty rail, bridging beams, close studding at first-floor level on the north and south walls, and a queen-post roof of probable C17 date; * Historic interest: it is thought to be the last remaining timber-framed granary or warehouse of such an early date (possibly C15) in Wisbech and is a testament to the town’s notable mercantile past; * Group value: it has group value with numerous listed buildings in the Market Place and along Nene Quay, particularly the late C17 warehouse to the rear of 27 Market Place to the east, and the early C17 coaching inn at 23 and 24 Market Place to the south.


The Fenland town of Wisbech stands on the River Nene and grew in the Middle Ages as an inland port and market town. In the C17 the inhabitants resisted the draining of the Fens but this resulted in the town becoming a prosperous port. On either side of the river at the west end of the town are the North and South Brink, two well-preserved Georgian streets of merchants’ houses and warehouses, including the notable Peckover House which is now owned by the National Trust. The town has two market places and a sophisticated planned development called The Crescent which was built on the site of the castle in the late C18. Trade continued to flourish, especially after the Nene outfall to the Wash was improved with a new channel in 1827-30, and shipbuilding brought further wealth to the town.

Tallow Court is possibly the last remaining C15 timber-framed granary or warehouse in Wisbech. The earliest documented date in its history is 1651 when it was referred to as both a stable and a barn in the Crane bequest to Wisbech Charities. John Crane was a wealthy Cambridge apothecary who was born in Wisbech, and his bequest included the Black Bull Inn (later the New Inn) with its oil mills, barn, stables, shops and oil house. These buildings were eventually sold in the C17 in order to realize the capital, and the barn or warehouse then suffered a long period of neglect. In 1981 the Wisbech Society raised the money to purchase it and carry out urgent repairs. Subsequently the barn was purchased by Elgoods Brewery who currently use it for storage. The building has undergone some alterations in the C20, including some external cladding and the insertion of three large double-leaf doors. The western end has been converted for domestic use.


Granary or warehouse possibly built in the C15.

MATERIALS: timber framed with a rendered brick ground floor and pantile roof covering.

PLAN: the building is rectangular on plan and forms part of a long line of buildings running east-west between Nene Quay and the High Street.

EXTERIOR: the two-storey building has a pitched roof and was originally jettied. The moulded jetty rail is still partially exposed at the north-east corner of the building, along with seven floor joists, but otherwise the ground floor has been extended outwards in line with the upper floor. The principal north elevation has, at the eastern end, a rendered brick ground floor with an off-centre large, C20 double-leaf timber door. The upper floor is close studded, with exposed rafter feet at the eaves, and has two vertical plank timber doors. The middle section of the building has a brick ground floor with a large C20 double-leaf timber door. It is not clear whether the timber frame survives on the upper floor as it has been clad in weatherboarding. The next section, at the western end, has a large C20 double-leaf timber door and a weatherboarded upper floor pierced by a small C20 window.

The east gable end has a plank and batten door and a weatherboarded upper floor. This has a small opening with a vertical plank door. The ground floor of the rear elevation bears evidence of considerable repair/ rebuilding with three phases of brickwork. The upper floor is clad in corrugated iron, as is the central section of the roof.

INTERIOR: the building is divided into two main sections. The western end has been converted into domestic use and was not available for inspection; and the eastern section used for storage has been divided into two rooms by a C20 partition of timber panels. The eastern side of this has an inserted ceiling and one substantial bridging beam set diagonally across the ceiling. The western side has a chamfered bridging beam supported by posts, one of which is jowled, and substantial joists, some of which appear to have been replaced. The westernmost joist has mortices on the soffit indicating a former wall partition.

The upper floor is accessed via a hatch in the eastern side which was inaccessible during the site visit so the description is based on photographs taken in June 2015. These show a Queen post roof truss with purlins strengthened by wind braces. This type of truss is not commonly found until the C17 so it is likely that the roof has been rebuilt. Some of the rafters have been replaced and strengthened with slender timbers. Close studding with brick infill is exposed on the north and south walls, the former also has a tension brace, but it is not clear if any framing survives on the east and west gable walls.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 03/12/2015


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Bradley, Simon, Pevsner, Nikolaus, The Buildings of England: Cambridgeshire, (2014)
The Wisbech Society and Preservation Trust Ltd , accessed 21 July 2015 from http://www.wisbech-society.co.uk/


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

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 01 Jul 2001
Reference: IOE01/04159/12
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr John Giles. Source Historic England Archive
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