Poverty Cottage


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Statutory Address:
Spout Lane, Shirl Heath, Kingsland, Leominster, HR6 9RN


Ordnance survey map of Poverty Cottage
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Statutory Address:
Spout Lane, Shirl Heath, Kingsland, Leominster, HR6 9RN

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

Location Description:
County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:


A squatter cottage of C17 or C18 date with a largely complete timber-frame built in the vernacular traditions of the area.

Reasons for Designation

Poverty Cottage, Shirl Heath, Herefordshire, a timber-framed dwelling of C17 or C18 date is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural and historic interest: * as a legible example of a rural vernacular cottage, which reveals regional structural framing techniques and has a distinctive two-room plan; * the cottage is of note as an example of a humble dwelling of the rural labouring class. Modest in its form and its provision of facilities, it survives unusually well for a building of this type.


Poverty Cottage is a modest ‘squatter’ dwelling of probable C17 date; retaining only basic facilities. A building is shown on the site on the 1840s tithe map with an addition to the south corner. By the Ordnance Survey Map of 1887 the addition appears to have been removed and the bread oven attached to the north-west end of the building is illustrated. In the C20 there were further alterations including the covering of the roof in metal sheet. The building was derelict by the early C21 and from 2013 was restored using new and reclaimed materials, including two new brick stacks, replacement windows and interior joinery including a stair rebuilt of historic timber planks. In 2018 the building is unoccupied.


A cottage of C17 or C18 date with later alterations.

MATERIALS: box-framed in oak above a stone cill with plaster infill to the walls and oak first floor and roof structures. The chimney to the north end is constructed of rubble stone with C21 brick stacks. The ground floor is stone-flagged to the north end with brick hearths and a brick bread oven. There are some brick repairs to the walls at the north-west end. The roof is covered in modern metal sheet.

PLAN: single storey with attic, the cottage is a two-unit plan with an historic stud wall between the ground floor rooms. The closed roof truss separating the attic room has an historic inserted door opening.

EXTERIOR: exposed box framing to each elevation except the north end which has a projecting chimney. There is some modern replacement and modification to the framing, with the north-east wall appearing to be the most complete. Some C17/18 braces and assembly marks are in situ across the building. The plaster infill panels are at least partly modern replacements and the window frames are adapted and reused from elsewhere. To the north end the stone chimney has a bread oven to the left and two C21 red brick stacks, one obscuring an attic opening. The south end has rebuilt window openings to each floor within extant box-framing including an oak brace to the ground floor right. The entrance to the cottage is in the south-west elevation.

INTERIOR: the principal ground-floor room has an inglenook with a bressumer and a brick bread oven to the right. There is a stopped and chamfered oak beam of large scantling and its north end has been adapted. The beam is in-line with a similar beam to the south room of the building, with a pegged stud cross-wall between them. The floor of the north room is stone flagged and in the west corner is a stone sink on a brick stand. The door to the south room is ledged and has strap hinges. The wall at the south end has been partly rebuilt and the end of the chamfered beam has been secured with a metal brace. The ceilings to both rooms have substantial joists that appear to be in their original configuration. The stair to the first floor is of C21 date re-using historic materials. There are modern partitions around the head of the stair. The roof structure is partially exposed and divided by a closed truss with a pegged apex and an historic door opening inserted. Single purlins are in situ but both gable ends have had some replaced framing and there are modern decorative timber insertions.




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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