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.

Stevenage (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 25275 24829

Reasons for Designation

Fairlands farmhouse has been designated for the following principal reasons. * It retains significant elements of a C17 timber-framed lobby entrance house including a common coupled rafter roof, floor framing, large stack and winding stairs from ground to attic level. * It retains significant fixtures and fittings of the C17 including doors, door furniture and a distinctive fireback of 1588. * It demonstrates the evolution of domestic building from the C17 and is indicative of the social and economic history of the area.


733/0/10021 FAIRLANDS WAY 14-JAN-09 Fairlands Farm

II A former farmhouse of the C17, remodelled in the C19.

MATERIALS The building has gable roofs covered with tiles and is encased in mid C19 red and purple bricks laid in Flemish bond on the north, west and east elevations, and in red brick in stretcher bond on the south elevation

PLAN Fairlands comprises a double range with that to the west dating principally to the C17 and that to the east being of mid C19 date.

EXTERIOR The present façade is to the north and comprises two gables with an off-centre part-glazed porch. On the ground and first floors of each range is one 6-over-6 light sash window with segmental brick head and a smaller window opening at attic height, blocked in the east range. The east elevation has a projecting wing to the south with a bay window at ground floor and 6-over-6 light sash windows. The south elevation has a central projecting gable which incorporates the C17 interior build. On the ground floor there is an off centre C19 door and door case and a canted bay to the left with 6-over-6 light sash window. Above are two pairs of 4-over-4 light sash windows at first floor and a smaller 6-over-6 light sash at attic height. To the west are single storey additions. To the right is the projecting wing with large external stack laid in English bond. To the left of the stack at first floor height are timber studs which may be the remaining elements of the earlier projecting wing associated with the C17 house with later infill panels of brick laid in stretcher bond. The west elevation has projecting single storey additions to the south and an outshot with pent roof to the north.

INTERIOR The western range incorporates the floor framing, roof structure and internal arrangement of a C17 lobby entrance house. The entrance on the north elevation leads into a room to the north of a large in-situ stack constructed generally with thin hand made bricks of C17. This room has a large inglenook fireplace with bread oven, settle positions and a substantial bressumer which may be original although the brackets which support it are not. Attached to the stack is an iron fire back with the date 1588, letters IHC and anchor motifs. To the right of the stack is a C17 timber battened door with small inserted glazed opening. The door has a strap hinge and door latch which are probably C17. A timber battened door to the left of the stack has been remodelled, but also has a latch and hinge which may be C17. A chamfered axial bridging beam with delicate lambs tongue stops is cut away at the north end by the C19 wall. A parallel beam to the east has been encased with modern materials, but may mark the position of the original front wall of the C17 house, now removed. The stack is located within its own bay with a winding stair with reset treads to the rear (west). Another fireplace on the south side of the stack indicates that this space, remodelled in the C19, was once another room in the C17 house. Another axial chamfered bridging beam with delicate lambs tongue stops spans from the stack to the south wall of the house where it fixes into a midrail, but other elements of the external wall of the C17 house have been removed by the encasing.

The first floor of the western range is accessed by the winding stair to the rear of the stack and by a mid C19 stair in the projecting wing to the east. Sections of the wall plate, jowled and straight wall posts and part of a tie beam are probably the remnants of projecting wing of C17 date which have been incorporated into the C19 projecting wing. As on the ground floor, the internal layout focuses around the stack. To the east and west, corridors with chamfered and stopped arched door surrounds access the room to the north which has in situ wide oak floor boards, and two timber battened doors, one with an HL hinge. A C18 hob plate has been inserted into the south of the stack, and the rooms to the south have been remodelled, but both first floor rooms have axial chamfered bridging beams with lambs tongue stops. In addition the wall plate is apparent to the west and east. An in situ, contemporary winding stair to the rear of the tapering stack leads to the attic where a common coupled rafter roof, pegged and jointed, with side purlins, bird-mouth collars and windbraces appears to survive substantially intact.

Both the ground and first floor of the eastern range incorporate built in cupboards, window shutters, 4 panel doors and simple cornices typical of mid C19 houses. Some C19 fireplaces remain. A corridor runs north-south through the ground floor house from which a door leads to a cellar.

HISTORY Documentary evidence dates the farmhouse or its predecessor, to at least the C16 when several generations of the Hyde family were known to have farmed in the valley. In 1685 an inventory of the farm, then owned by William Tyttmus, valued the building and goods at £815, a very considerable sum at the time. By 1731 the Manor of Fairlands was part of the estate of the Lyttons of Knebworth and was tenanted by a number of families until the land was compulsorily purchased as part of the new town development in the 1950s. Such longevity of use has resulted in a farmhouse which has evolved through time. The earliest form, a lobby-entrance house, was probably timber framed and dates at least from the C17. Timber-framing on the first floor suggests that a wing to the east was added shortly after the building was constructed. A drawing of 1804, from a sketch by G. Oldfield, probably shows the west elevation in use as the polite entrance with a central stack and an end stack to the south and a rear wing at the south end. The elevation has a central door with late C18 doorcase and mullion and transom windows. The farmhouse was encased and extended in the C19, when an additional range was added and the elevations radically altered. The principal entrance appears to have been moved to the north, and bay windows were added to the east and south. A dairy, and other ancillary extensions, were made to the west and the interior was remodelled. Nevertheless, the internal arrangement of the lobby entrance farmhouse is legible and C17 floor frames, interior doors and a number of fixtures and fittings remain.

SOURCES The Stevenage Society for Local History, forthcoming, 'Historic Buildings of Stevenage'.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION Fairlands farmhouse is recommended or designation for the following principal reasons. * It retains significant elements of a C17 timber framed lobby entrance house included a common coupled rafter roof, floor framing, large stack and winding stairs from ground to attic level. * It retains significant fixtures and fittings of the C17 including doors, door furniture and a distinctive fireback of 1588. * It retains a legible internal layout of the C17 house. * It demonstrates the evolution of domestic building form the C17 and is indicative of the social and economic history of the area.

Listing NGR TL2527724830


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

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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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