Ash Manor and Old Manor Cottage
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
- Statutory Address:
- Ash Green Road, Ash Green, GU12 6HH
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- Statutory Address:
- Ash Green Road, Ash Green, GU12 6HH
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Guildford (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SU 90118 50418
The building is a moated manor house thought to have C13 origins and with multiple phases including those of the C16 and C17. It was divided into two houses in the mid-C20: Ash Manor to the west and Old Manor Cottage to the east.
Reasons for Designation
Ash Manor and Old Manor Cottage, Ash Green, Surrey a moated house with medieval origins and C16 and C17 phases is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* as a building with its origins as a high status moated dwelling with substantial post-medieval adaptions and phases of evolution; * for its retention of a number of unusual structural and decorative features, such as evidence of a meat smoking chamber, the remains of a built-in dresser and an carved stair balustrade; * for the legibility and archaeological value of its structural evolution, including at least three phases of timber framing.
* in its reflection of evolving building traditions and patterns of domestic life in rural England; * as a site of habitation believed to have C13 origins, retaining part of its square moat and associated C16 to early C19 farm buildings.
* with Oak Barn and The Oast House and Ash Manor House (all listed at Grade II)
The Manor of Ash is believed to have been part of a holding left to Chertsey Abbey by the major Saxon landowner Azor on his death in the C11. The Abbey held the land until the Dissolution, when Ash became property of the Crown. Shortly after the accession of Edward VI in 1547, it was granted to St Mary’s College Winchester (Winchester College) which owned it for nearly 400 years.
It has been speculated that Ash Manor may have originally been Henley Manor, a residence recorded as a royal palace in the C14. However, this claim is unsubstantiated.
The site of Ash Manor (now Ash Manor and Old Manor Cottage) is believed to have been occupied since the C13, although no standing fabric of this date has been conclusively identified. Part of a square medieval moat survives, as well as some medieval fabric within the house itself. The house was leased to a Nicholas Stevens in the C17, and the initials S N and the date 1657 appear on the front of the building. Stevens was presumably responsible for the re-fronting in brick of the earlier house, thus it bears his initials and date, and possibly also for the addition of a parlour cross-wing to the west, served by a large ridge stack and stair tower. The linear extension of the house to the east may be earlier, possibly C16.
To the south of the building are various agricultural buildings, now converted to residential use, which formed part of the farm associated with the manor. These include an C18 oast house, stables and a barn of probable C16 date. The farm is labelled on C19 maps as Manor Farm.
Records reveal a number of leaseholders for Ash Manor, or Manor Farm, during the C19, including William Spode, grandson of Josiah Spode. Winchester College sold Ash Manor in 1925, and it was sold again in 1934 to Maurice Kelly of Kelly’s Directories. Following Kelly’s bankruptcy and suicide in 1948, the house was divided into two: Ash Manor and Old Manor Cottage, and both were sold on.
The house was recorded in 1987 by the Domestic Buildings Research Group (Surrey) (DBRG(S)).
The building is a moated manor house thought to have C13 origins and with multiple phases. There is some surviving medieval fabric, and the subsequent major structural phases are possibly C16 and mid-C17. It was divided into two houses in the mid-C20: Ash Manor to the west and Old Manor Cottage to the east.
MATERIALS: the building is timber-framed, clad and in-filled in red brick of several phases, and with some chalk stone. The roof is covered in clay tiles and the windows are timber-framed with metal casements; the doors are timber and of various date.
PLAN: the house is surrounded by the remnants of a square moat. The west side of the moat is complete, and approximately half the north and south sides still have water in them. Their full extent however, and therefore the exact location of the east side, is unknown. The house is orientated with its main roof running east to west, with a cross-wing to the west, and the principal elevation facing south. The roofs are pitched with gable-ends and there is a catslide to the rear. There are three stacks: two end-stacks and one ridge stack.
There is an irregular arrangement of bays, with the two central bays believed to be the earliest part of the house, possibly medieval. These are thought to have always been floored so may have been service rooms beneath a solar. To the east of these two bays, in-line with but separately framed, are a further two, slightly wider, bays, with the main door to Old Manor Cottage in the first of these, and a very substantial external end-stack at the far end. It is on the upper floor and within the roof space of the most easterly bay (adjacent to the end stack), that the framing is indicative of there having been a meat smoking chamber, as suggested by the DBRG(S) report. An outshot runs across the back of the four linear bays, and contains a narrow stair which gives access to the first floor of Old Manor Cottage.
To the west there is a narrow half-bay and a two-storey cross-wing with attic, possibly of mid-C17 date. The main entrance to Ash Manor is in the half bay, which internally is occupied by a massive ridge stack, with an arched passageway running through the middle of it from the building’s entrance. Behind this stack is a stair tower, giving access to the first floor of Ash Manor. The cross-wing is two rooms deep, with a C19 or early-C20 external stack added to the rear gable end.
Later additions to the building include a single-storey, single-cell, attached red brick building to the far north-east of the building’s footprint. Probably of C18 or C19 date, this has a pitched roof open to the underside internally; accessed from the outshut this is likely to have been a kitchen or servants' hall. There are two further small extensions in this area: a late-C20 conservatory and a two-storey C20 extension to the rear of the catslide. At the far west end of the building is another C20 conservatory.
EXTERIOR: the four bays which form the linear range to the east are faced in brick of two phases. The two bays of the early house (in the centre of the plan) are one phase and bear the initials and date S N 1657, and the brickwork of the two other bays - which includes a decorative use of burnt blue headers - is a different phase, probably dating from the C18 or early C19. The door to Old Manor Cottage is in this later brickwork. The half-bay and cross wing have exposed timber framing with brick nogging on the first floor and gable-end (where it is laid in a herringbone pattern), and are faced in brick on the ground floor. The large ridge stack between the cross-wing and the main roof has been rebuilt above the ridge and has four flues and stepped over-sailing brick caps. Beneath the stack, Ash Manor has an open-fronted brick entrance porch, probably a late-C19 addition. The windows across the whole of the south front have timber frames and mullions, and cast iron casements with square leaded lights.
The east end of the building is dominated by the large external stack which is of semi-dressed chalk-stone construction with ironstone galetting up to approximately tie-beam height, above which it is of narrow brick. The stack has been rebuilt above ridge height and to either side it has been widened: to the south this takes the form of a brick extension at ground floor with a tiled pitched roof and an internal chamber accessed from a wooden hatch door in the south front. On the other side of the stack the stonework of the chimney is the full depth of the building at ground floor, but it has been widened in brick on the first floor. This is speculated by the DBRG(S) to reflect the enclosure of a stair which started internally next to the hearth and rose to the outside of the building at first floor, where a door in the building’s gable end would have given access to the meat-smoking chamber.
The rear of the building is characterised by the deep catslide roof of the outshut which runs across the four bays to the east, with two inserted pitch-roofed dormer windows. The far east end of the catslide is interrupted by the small two-storied C20 range and the attached single-cell building, now extended with the timber and brick conservatory. The west end of the building is formed of the back wall of the stair tower, with an elongated stair window, and the rear gable end of the cross-wing, with exposed timber framing, brick nogging and the later external stack. At ground floor there is a later brick lean-to store. The west elevation of the cross-wing has a C20 brick and timer conservatory.
INTERIOR: the interior division of the building into two houses in 1948 places one of the two early bays (at the centre of the plan) into each house. The bays have been irregularly subdivided towards the rear and partly opened up to the outshut, meaning the very substantial rear bay posts are partly or fully exposed. Wide floor joists, exposed in both houses, run into a cross-axial timber between the two bays, now marking one of the party walls. Early C20 sales particulars, prior to the house's division, show the two bays open to one another at ground floor and serving as a dining room.
ASH MANOR As well as the more westerly of the two early bays, Ash Manor contains part of the rear outshut, the large internal stack, stair tower and cross-wing. The house is entered through the passageway within the internal stack, which opens into a hall with the stair to the rear. The flooring here is of square clay tile. Two rooms open off the hall to either side: the front and back room of the cross-wing to the left, and the early bay and outshut (the latter now a kitchen which includes part of the early bay) to the right; a similar arrangement (excluding the outshut) is repeated on the first floor.
There is exposed timber-framing throughout the interior, indicating various phases and types of construction and some having carpenters marks. The chimney breasts and fireplace openings have cleaned, exposed, brickwork and have undergone some level of restoration or remodelling. The stair has a dog-leg arrangement, with an unusual balustrade on the upper flight and across the landing. The angle of the balustrade is mismatched to that of the stair, indicating that it was taken from another house. The newels and balusters are of square section with square chequer-board indentations on each face. The newels have elaborate carved hollow finials and there is a heavy, moulded, handrail.
The doors are generally C20, but an early plank door gives access under the stair; the space now housing a WC. The roof structure of the cross-wing has queen-post type trusses, but with the collar cut in the centre and jointed into full-height posts with a raised tie, thus allowing unimpeded access between the two bays. The attic space is lit at either end by a five-light moulded-mullion window with fixed leaded lights; that to the north is partially obscured by the later external chimney stack. There are remnants of a wattle and daub screen separating the roof space of the cross-wing from the early bay. The roof structure of the two early bays is discussed below in the description of Old Manor Cottage.
OLD MANOR COTTAGE Old Manor Cottage is three structural bays wide: to the west is the second of the early bays, and to the east of this is the two later bays of possible C16 date. The house opens through the central bay into a large room formed of the east bay and approximately half of the central bay. The floor-frame is exposed and is comprised of a substantial cross-axial beam, marking the division of the two bays, and two axial beams supporting the floor joists. The beams and joists are chamfered and stopped. At the east end of the room is a large inglenook fireplace with a timber bressumer. To the left of this is an unusual seven-panel door with strap hinges, speculated by BGRG(S) to be the access point of a stair to the upper-floor smoking chamber, now a cupboard. The rear wall-frame of this room is partly exposed, with the sole plate raised on a masonry plinth. Cuts in the framing suggest the position of early furniture, in particular a shelf resting on the sole plate to the east end is probably the lower part of an early dresser. This dresser is drawn by the DBRG(S) in their report but it is presumed to be partly speculative as the upper shelves of the dresser are not visible in a photo of this room in the sales particulars of the 1930s.
To the west of this large room two small inter-connected rooms are formed of the rest of the central bay and the early bay. Here the ceiling framing shows where the frames of the two phases abut. The three ground floor bays are floored in red brick. To the rear of the three bays is the outshut, divided into two rooms and with a quantity of framing exposed. The east room houses the kitchen and gives access to the single-cell building and later extensions, and the west room a stair and bathroom. The stair is narrow with a quarter turn. The risers and treads are later but a square newel at the bottom, with a primitively carved newel, may be contemporary with the outshut.
On the upper floor there are three principal rooms, reflecting the three bays of the house. A stud partition of small, rough, scantling creates a hall along the back of the central bay and gives access to the rooms at either end. The floor and ceiling of the early bay are higher than to two later bays, and the tie beams where the framing abuts has been partially cut into to create a doorway from the hall. Exposed framing in the first-floor rooms offers further clues as to the house’s evolution, including evidence of the ceiling height having been raised. There are several areas where the floor is boarded in very wide timbers. In the east end bay the floor joists rest on an axial beam which stops short of the chimney breast and is jointed into an additional tie beam. It is thought that this marks the original end of the room, beyond which the narrow remaining part of the bay, which is adjacent to the chimney breast, would be the meat-smoking chamber, open to the underside of the roof.
The roof structure above the two later bays has queen post trusses and smoke blackening above the smoking chamber. Remnants of a lath and daub screen between the smoking chamber and the rest of the roof survive, although while the studs are blackened, the daub is not. A second screen survives between the two bays. At the junction between the early and later bays, the separate framing is in evidence. The early roof structure is of a clasped purlin type with rafters added to either side of early ones, altering the pitch of the roof. There is some evidence of light smoke blackening on the timbers of the early bay where it meets the later one.
Throughout the building there are planked doors of various dates, a number having forged iron strap hinges.
SUBSIDIARY STRUCTURES To the east of the house a brick wall runs south to The Oast House (now separately occupied as a house and listed Grade II). The wall is heavily covered in vegetation but appears to be C19 or earlier.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Jenkinson, S, Ash and Ash Vale: A Pictorial History, (1990)
A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3 originally published by Victoria County History, London 1911, accessed 25 August 2017 from https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/surrey/vol3/pp340-344
Ash Manor, report number 3578 by Surrey Domestic Buildings Research Group, August 1987
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