The Wells, and associated outbuilding


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Shepperdine Road, Oldbury-on-Severn, South Gloucestershire, BS35 1RW


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Statutory Address:
Shepperdine Road, Oldbury-on-Severn, South Gloucestershire, BS35 1RW

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

South Gloucestershire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:


A former open hall house, built in the C15, extended in the C17 and altered in the C20; with a detached C18 outbuilding.

Reasons for Designation

The Wells, a former open hall-house of the C15, extended and ceiled over in the later C16 to the later C17, is listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest: * the house originated as a C15 open hall-house, with fabric of good quality and clear special interest, and demonstrating a good degree of survival; * the additional later C16 or early C17 range and a later C17 wing are also of good quality in construction and detailing, and add to its claims to special interest; * the C18 outbuilding demonstrates that the site was at one point probably a farmstead, and contributes to the legibility of its evolution.

Historic interest: * as a late-medieval house which shows clear evidence of its evolution in the following centuries, illustrating the social and economic changes which have taken place more widely since it was constructed.


The Wells appears to have originated in the C15 as a single-storey, three-bay open hall house, with a central open arch-braced, collar-rafter truss and windbraces to the roof; the timbers retain traces of smoke blackening. The location of the house, with water bounding two sides of its plot, indicates that it may have been on the island of a moated site; the area of the site is surrounded by an extensive landscape of medieval and post-medieval ridge and furrow, which appears to respect the boundaries of the plot on which the house stands, including the areas in water. The surrounding area is agricultural, and The Wells may have been used at some point in its past as a farmstead: it retains a probably C18 outbuilding to the south-east of the house, though no other buildings of this age remain on the site, and the former use of this building is not possible to ascertain from the fabric.

The house was extended in the late C16 or early C17 by the addition of a further, two-and-a-half storey bay to the south, and the main range divided horizontally, with the insertion of a chimney and large ground-floor fireplace. The new, southern bay included an attached stair tower to its rear, giving access to the new upper floors. Slightly later, probably in the C17, a two-storey wing was added to the rear of the main range, adjoining the stair tower.

In the C20, the northernmost bay was largely rebuilt; a portion of the former ground-floor wall survives at the rear, but the remainder of the structure dates from the C20; the 1841 tithe map shows that the range extended a short distance further north at that date, so this bay was slightly truncated in the C20 rebuilding. The portion of the winder stair within the tower rising from ground to first floor was removed, and replaced by a straight flight in the second bay; the second stage, from the first floor to the attic, was retained. A kitchen range was added along the northern side of the rear wing, and some windows and doors were replaced, partly in uPVC. The slope of both leaves of the roof was raised above the original timbers of the southern bay to give additional height; the roof of the two bays to the north was replaced, and dormers added. A separate staircase was introduced to reach the upper rooms at this end of the house.


A former open hall house, built in the C15, extended in the C17 and altered in the C20; with a detached C18 barn.

MATERIALS Stone, part rendered; brick stacks. Red clay Roman tile roofs.

PLAN The main range is linear, orientated roughly north-south, with an attached stair tower to the rear (west) of the southernmost bay, and a wing to the rear of the next bay to the north.

EXTERIOR The main (east) elevation is in four bays of diminishing heights from south to north. The southernmost bay, dating from the late C16 or early C17, is of two-and-a-half storeys, is built from blue lias stone with a cement-rendered south gable. At ground-floor level a large, eight-light oak king mullioned window survives in the east elevation, comprising seven fixed lights and one opening metal casement with spring catch, indicative of a date in the late C16 or early C17. To the first floor is a three-light timber mullioned window. The next bay, to the right, is lower, of two storeys, but with its upper floor lower than that of the neighbouring bay; this and the remaining bays are finished in painted render. The original eaves line of the building is indicated by a step in the walls above the ground-floor windows in this and the remaining bays. The ground floor has uPVC French doors, with a three-light timber casement window above. The final two bays are each of one-and-a-half storeys. The left bay has a pair of small, square casement windows to the ground floor, and a gabled dormer above; to the right bay, a small, gabled porch to the left and modern French doors to the right, with a gabled dormer window above.

The south gable end is cement rendered, with a modern entrance door to the left and paired windows to ground and first floor, and a single window in the attic; these are all uPVC replacements, probably for sash windows. Extending to the left is a full-height, square-plan stair tower, with three small fixed square lights. The roof extends as a wing from the main range. Alongside this tower and extending beyond it to the west stands the two-storey rear wing, with a small lean-to porch set in the re-entrant angle between the two. The wing is built in coursed rubble stone, with a window under a segmental brick arch to the ground floor, and a smaller window opening under the eaves above; both now with uPVC casement windows. The blind gable end is rendered. The inner face of the wing, which has a single upper floor window, is partly obscured by a rendered C20 kitchen extension with uPVC windows and a rear entrance. The rear of the main range has the same step in the walling as the main elevation, showing the raising of the height of the building; the northernmost bay was slightly lower than the adjoining two bays. The range has two dormer windows, a small first-floor window, a late-C20 door in the right hand bay and modern French doors to the left. The gable end shows the truncation of the range, with the original height wall extending as stubs beyond the plane of the wall, and supporting a late-C20 pentice roof to an outside store. The range has one window to each of the ground and upper floor.

INTERIOR The present entrance is through the C16/C17 bay, the hallway running axially along the bay, with a late C19 or C20 straight stair rising to the first floor. To the left lies the stair tower, the lower flight of winder stairs removed. The major part of the bay is taken up by a large ground floor room with a deeply-chamfered panelled ceiling with plastered infills. The small fireplace is of C20 date. The first floor of this bay has been subdivided. Doors of three planks with round-ended strap hinges on pintles lead to the rear wing and the adjoining bay. The attic room is lit by gable window. The roof structure has been painted but it appears to incorporate a mixture of reused timbers and some machine-sawn timbers. The next two bays represent the core of the C15 house, which also extended into the northernmost bay. The external walls to the ground floor show are pronouncedly battered to the interior. The ground floor of the first bay has a large inglenook fireplace at the northern end with a massive chamfered and stopped bressumer supported on monolithic stone piers, and a separate, chamfered mantelshelf above. A later, brick-built bread oven is inserted to the right-hand side. To the left of the fireplace, a low, wide three-boarded door within a four-centred arched door-frame, the jambs replaced later; the door has spear-headed pintle hinges and later battens. The room has a chamfered central ceiling beam with stepped stop running axially. The upper floor of this bay has an arch-braced collar-rafter roof truss, with trenched purlin socket rising from floor level on the north side of room, close to the present gable. A second collared truss rises from the floor level on the south side of the room, also with evidence of trenched purlins. At the base of the truss there is some indication of the foot curving, suggestive of a raised cruck, whilst in-filled sockets on the underside of the collar would suggest there may have once been a wattle and daub panel below the collar. Wind braces survive to both sides of roof structure but some have been removed, possibly when the roof height was raised above the original roof structure. The timbers are painted within the roof, but those visible above the ceiling, including a further curved windbrace and a purlin, show evidence of smoke blackening. The arch-braced collar-rafter truss has a chamfer to both sides of the brace, as well as on the blade and purlins, indicating the room may have extended further north prior to the insertion of the chimney breast and associated floor structure. The next bay to the north shows evidence of significant modernisation in the C20, but retains its battered walls to both sides of the ground floor. The joists have been replaced and a modern dogleg stair inserted to reach the upper rooms. The internal timberwork all dates from the later C20, and the roof structure appears to have been replaced in the same period. The northernmost bay has evidence of stone walling to the west (rear) with a slightly lower eaves line than bays 2 and 3. The wall construction appears to be a mix of historic and 20th century walling. The roof and internal partitions all date from the C20 alterations.

The two-storey rear wing has a single room to the ground floor, with a wide but relatively low inglenook fireplace to the gable wall, with a bread oven to the right and small recess to the left. A ceiling beam spanning the room is deeply chamfered, with a broach stop. The first floor is divided into two rooms. The visible elements of the roof structure show evidence of a mortice for a collar, and tenoned purlins.

The single-storey kitchen extension to the north side is wholly mid- to late C20 in character.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES To the south-east of the house lies a detached OUTBUILDING of two low storeys. Probably dating from the C18, this building is in coursed rubble stone with some brick patching, built in at least two phases. The long eastern elevation has full-height double doors at the very northern end, and a roughly central ground-floor pedestrian doorway; the southern gable end is largely rebuilt in brick, and has two doors at ground-floor level, with a taking-in door above, all the openings under relatively recent timber lintels. The long western elevation has a small opening, perhaps for machinery. Internally, the building is divided horizontally and vertically, with no access from the northern half to the southern. On one wall is mounted a set of cheese racks, likely reused. The roof structure is formed from A-frame trusses with lapped-on collars and two tiers of threaded purlins.




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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