The Boiler House, Chimney, Sawmill and Joiner's Shop, Englefield Estate Yard


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
The Street, Englefield, RG7 5ES


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Statutory Address:
The Street, Englefield, RG7 5ES

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

West Berkshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:


A grouping of estate buildings fulfilling a variety of functions and dating from the mid-C19 to the early C20.

Reasons for Designation

The boiler house and its chimney, engine house, saw mill and joinery shop Englefield, an estate building of about 1853 and later, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* the saw mill and joinery shop is logically designed, and makes a clear demonstration of the need for light and an uninterrupted flow of activity in its functioning; * the buildings have a high degree of original survival in their built fabric; * the inclusion of a boiler and engine from about 1900, with associated chimney and equipment, show clearly how the mill would have functioned.

Historic interest:

* the survival of a working saw mill which includes its original layout and retains some significant original machinery is a rarity.

Group value:

* with other listed estate buildings including 4 and 5, and 10 The Street Englefield and Englefield Post Office (all Grade II).


Englefield Estate Yard is associated with the estate surrounding Englefield House, a C16 and C17 house built and adapted for the Englefield and Norreys families and subsequently altered and extended again for Richard Benyon (1769-1854), who employed Soane in 1806. Further work was carried out on the house for other members of the Benyon family by Thomas Hopper and Richard Armstrong in the C19. The house suffered a fire in 1885 and was subsequently restored by Armstrong.

The Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England for 1860 (see SOURCES) published details of the buildings found in another yard on the Englefield estate, at Chalk Pit Farm, roughly half a mile to the north. This included stabling for 16 horses, loose boxes, cow houses and yards for cattle, as well as piggeries. The buildings also included facilities for ‘thrashing, grinding, pulping, bruising, chaffcutting etc. on the upper floor’. This northern yard at Chalk Pit Farm would seem to have accounted for the majority of the estate’s needs as far as animal husbandry was concerned, leaving the southern Englefield Estate Yard to concentrate on other estate requirements.

The Ordnance Survey map of 1879 clearly shows that the two most prominent features of the Englefield Estate Yard at that date were the saw mill with its associated timber yard, and the gas works which presumably produced gas for the village and the mansion. Other than these, the yard now contains a group of buildings ranging in date from the mid C19 to the early C21. The earliest (C19) buildings define two roughly rectangular enclosures. The terminology throughout this report corresponds to that in the Initial Historic Assessment prepared by Adam Architecture (which is, in turn, based upon the Estate Map) even when the original function of the building is likely to have been different. The yard to the east consisted of the combined saw mill and joinery shop with the former gas works adjoining to its north, the garages (former Stables), the blacksmiths’ workshop and the building now identified as a storage barn. The Ordnance Survey map of 1878 also shows buildings to the east of the saw mill which an estate map of 1908 calls 'Timber Sheds', but these have now been demolished. To the west, another loose rectangle is made up of the buildings which now function as the vehicle workshop and glazier’s workshop together with the tractor shed. Additions since 1879 have fallen into two date ranges of pre-1908 and post-1912 according to Ordnance Survey map evidence. Several are additions to pre-existing buildings. The largest exception to this is the late-C19 carriage shed, which was built in the middle of the eastern yard. The machinery of the saw mill, which was originally driven by steam, was partly electrified in the 1940s. In the 1970s the original machinery was restored including the boiler and steam engines. The boiler failed its safety test in 2016 and is now (October 2018) partly dismantled, awaiting repair.


A boiler house and its chimney, engine house, saw mill and joinery shop of C19 date, recorded as operational in 1853, form part of a grouping of estate buildings fulfilling a variety of functions and dating from the mid C19 to the early C20. The former gas house, to the north of the saw mill and joinery shop, together with the timber store and the estate museum, which also adjoin the northern side of the saw mill and joinery shop, are not of special architectural or historic interest and are excluded from the listing.

The collection of buildings is grouped within an L-shaped, walled yard around two roughly rectangular spaces with a further range of flanking buildings to the west of the entrance. The yard forms part of an approach to Englefield House through level farmland, along the village street which includes estate cottages, also built in the C19, and the parish church, which dates back to the C13, but which was considerably restored by G G Scott between 1857 and 1868.

MATERIALS and PLAN: the building is of one and two storeys with English bond brick to the ground floor and timber-framing to the first floor joinery shop and angled pantiles covering the hipped, pantile roof. The ridge is oriented east-west.

EXTERIOR: the southern, yard front has ten bays defined by brick buttresses at ground floor level and timber posts to the first floor. Between these there are constant horizontal bands of glazing to the upper half of the walling with many having the original arrangement of tiered panes set between vertical glazing bars. The lower walling is of brickwork at ground-floor level and tarred horizontal boards to the first floor. To near centre is an external staircase, approached from the right, with brick body and renewed concrete treads, which leads to a first floor entrance to the joinery shop.

The eastern end is clapboarded and has wide taking-in doors to both floors. The western end has a similar arrangement of doors, with the ground floor door set to the right of the front and a small window at left. To the left of this is the single-storey engine room and boiler house range with brick walls built in a combination of English and Flemish bonds. Openings have plank doors and horizontal-sash windows and there are indications in the brickwork that this range has been altered. There is a sliding door to the southern end of the range.

The north front is entirely of brick and has the projecting western wing to right, housing the engine room and boiler, with a half-hipped roof and boarded gable end. Its eastern flank has a large opening to the side which allows for covered storage. The square boiler chimney is attached to the western flank of this western wing.

INTERIOR: both floors consist of one big, uninterrupted space. At ground floor level this allows tree trunks to enter at the eastern end and to be sawn into planks which are then removed to storage at the western end. A modern electric Stenner band saw sits in the middle of the floor and has replaced the original saw which would have been driven by bands from a steam powered engine, housed in the engine house which is adjacent to the western end of the north side. The shaft and principal wheel driven by this engine project into the sawmill space and are encased by wooden partitions. Shafts and wheels for drive bands are suspended from the ceiling joists on the northern side of the space. The Stenner band saw is served by a raised runway with rollers which aids the movement and positioning of the baulks of timber. In the west wing which projects north is the engine room. This contains a steam engine, installed in 1900, made by Randsom Sims and Jefferies of single cylinder, reciprocating type. The next room to the north contains the Seimens boiler, made of Butterley iron and of Cornish type (which was partly dismantled before October 2018). The building also contains a second steam engine built in 1863 by Clayton and Shuttleworth of Lincoln and moved to this site from another farm on the estate in 1900. The engine and boiler rooms have brick walls and fire-retardant, vaulted ceilings.

The first floor joinery shop has glazing to three sides. Trusses have arched braces beneath tie beams which support angle braces that rise to connect with the exposed purlins. In the south-west corner is an overseers’ office with wooden partitions and glazed upper walls and door.


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Bradley, S, Tyack, G, The Buildings of England: Berkshire, (2010), 291-295
Spearing, J B , 'On the Agriculture of Berkshire' in Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England , , Vol. II, (1860), 1-46
Englefield Estate Yard, Initial Historic Assessment, Adam Architecture, October 2018


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

The listed building(s) is/are shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building but not coloured blue on the map, are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act. However, any works to these structures which have the potential to affect the character of the listed building as a building of special architectural or historic interest may still require Listed Building Consent (LBC) and this is a matter for the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to determine.

End of official listing

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