EATON UNDER HEYWOOD
1312-1/10/113 WOLVERTON MANOR
(Formerly listed as:
Farmhouse, formerly a manor house, with late C15 hall range and several phases of addition and alteration spanning the later C16 to mid C17.
MATERIALS: Largely timber-framed core with elements including two-tier crucks, a spere truss and aisle posts; rendered and whitewashed walls; tile roof; three brick chimney stacks, rebuilt in the C20 above the roof line.
EXTERIOR: Wolverton Manor is a long, one-and-a-half and two-storey building with an attenuated T-plan. It comprises a long hall range of c1475 with an originally detached cross wing of c1581 at the south end. Most of its numerous windows and doors are C20 replacements which are not of interest, nor are the upper sections of its three chimney stacks, nor a screen wall off its north end which conceals oil tanks.
INTERIOR: The two-bay hall,originally open to the roof, may have been built against an existing structure later demolished. The hall employs two-tier crucks and has a spere truss whose aisle posts and other elements are moulded and trefoiled. The roof (like the spere truss largely now exposed) has comparatively plain trusses and two tiers of cusped windbraces. In the later C16 when the cross wing was built, the hall's lower bay was converted to a smoke bay and a finely-detailed, moulded, chequerboard-pattern timber ceiling was inserted in the hall's upper bay. Decorative bosses were removed in the mid C20 and replaced by replicas (not of special interest) in the late C20. The main stack was built in the smoke bay c1660, and the elaborately moulded beam over the fireplace may originally have been over the dias. The hall is separated by a former screens passage from a two-bayed service unit at its north, now the kitchen. North of this is the rear entrance hall, and beyond this an added C17 bay, its rooms now used as a utility room and an office.
About 1600 a link, now the main entrance hall, was built between the hall and the cross wing, and a cellar excavated beneath the cross wing. The main room in the wing is that to the west, which has panelling on the lower part of one wall, and exposed square framing and heavy ceiling joists. Behind is what is now the dining room, again with exposed joists and framing. A solid-treaded timber stair rises to the first floor where the original roof structure is exposed in a landing down the north side of the wing.
HISTORY: Wolverton was originally part of the manor of Eaton-under-Heywood, which lies in Apedale in rural south Shropshire. Before 1255 it was subinfeudated by the prior of Wenlock and became, in effect, a separate manor. Its descent can be traced in detail from the early C17, at which time it was owned by the Jenkes family who were armigerous; at that time they traced their family's tenure of Wolverton back to before the early C14. It descended in the family and by marriage until sold in the late C18 to the Becks, who in the mid C19 had 306 acres at Wolverton. The property has changed hands numerous times since then. During the C20 numerous utilitarian alterations were made to the house and most of the timber-framing was covered up; it was revealed in a gradual restoration in the late C20.
SOURCES: VCH Shropshire 10 (1998), 327; M. Moran, 'Two Early Timber-Framed Hall-Houses in Shropshire', Trans Shropshire Arch and Hist Soc 68 (1993), 72-92; E Mercer, English Architecture to 1600: The Shropshire Experience (2003), 120-1, 151.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION: Wolverton Manor Farm is listed at Grade II*, for the following principal reasons:
* It is a fine example of a rural manor house whose development between the late C15 and the mid C17 can be seen in its fabric, a high proportion of which is original.
* It has a late C15 hall with two-tier crucks and a spere truss whose aisle posts and other elements are moulded and trefoiled: such decoration is unusual and notable.
* Much of the rest of the house is of the late C16 to mid C17 when the house was transformed from a medieval manor house with open hall to a large and comfortable gentleman's dwelling. Much of the detailing here, notably of the inserted ceiling, is very fine.