Fair Meadow House and Itteringham Village Shop


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Wolterton Road, Itteringham, Norwich, NR11 7AF


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Statutory Address:
Wolterton Road, Itteringham, Norwich, NR11 7AF

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

North Norfolk (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


House dating to the late C17 or C18 with a C17 cross-wing that possibly originated as a purpose-built shop.

Reasons for Designation

Fair Meadow House and Village Shop, a house dating to the late C17 or C18 with a C17 cross-wing that possibly originated as a purpose-built shop, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* it is a good example of a vernacular dwelling that has evolved over several centuries, illustrating the architectural fashion for gentrifying dwellings in the Georgian period;

* the plan form consisting of the central hall with rear staircase and flanking rooms with fireplaces on the end walls is clearly legible, and the C18 principal rafter roof is also intact;

* a significant proportion of the original fabric of the house survives.

Historic interest:

* the long and continued use of the cross-wing as a shop, for which there is documentary evidence dating back to at least three centuries, adds considerable social and historic interest.

Group value:

* the clear association with the Robins family, who built the Grade II*-listed Manor House opposite, further enhances the historic interest of the building, and gives it strong group value.


A shop selling grocery goods has been on the site of the present house and shop since at least 1637. The first known grocer of Itteringham was Richard Bell who had married Anne Hardwin in the parish church in 1633. Fair Meadow House and village shop, which consists of a principal south-west facing range (the house) and a north-east cross-wing (the shop), has a multi-phase history of which little is known. The earliest part seems to have consisted of a small timber-framed building which is located in the north-west corner of the cross-wing (currently used as a kitchen). The original south-east and north-west external walls of this building, which are now internal walls, are formed of square timber-framed panels with brick infill.

In 1712 the shop was acquired by Thomas Robins who had just finished building the manor house (Grade II*) on the opposite side of the road. His brother Clement was by that time a grocer and he may have been leasing the shop since 1698. The shop may have been purpose built based on the evidence of its brick-floored cellar, ideal for cold storage, which runs underneath it. It has been suggested that Thomas built the adjoining house around the same time for his brother as the initials TR appear in the form of tie plates on the south-east gable end of the house and the north-east gable end of the cross-wing. It is possible however that the house has an earlier origin as the two reception rooms have the wide openings typical of C17 fireplaces, and, along with the cross-wing, it retains bridging beams with lamb’s tongue chamfer stops which are usually associated with the C17. Whilst wide fireplaces and exposed timber beams may still have been found in smaller houses in early-C18 rural Norfolk, it is perhaps more likely that the house was refaced in brick or partially rebuilt by Thomas Robins in the early C18 when he acquired the property; and he subsequently marked this work with his initials.

When Clement Robins died in 1737, the Drake family took over the tenancy and by the early C18 it was being run by Edward Sims. Numerous tenants occupied the premises throughout the C18 and C19 until 1908 when the Fairhead family came to Itteringham and ran the shop for most of the C20. In the Finance Act 1910 valuation book the house is described as having two rooms upstairs, two attics and loft, three rooms downstairs, a scullery and shop with a warehouse and carpenter’s shop. During the mid-C20 it is known that the cottage at the rear of the shop (in the cross-wing) was separately occupied. In 1994 the Itteringham Community Shop Association was formed which has been running the shop ever since; and the house is let out as a holiday home.

Numerous alterations have taken place to the building over the years. The 1839 Tithe Map of Mannington and Itteringham shows the house with the shop forming a rear cross wing. By the first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1886, the south-eastern half of the shop front had been built out to the road. A photograph from 1908 shows the shop with two large multi-pane windows on either side of a double-leaf door with a flight of steps flanked by iron railings. A photograph dating from the 1960s shows that the door, windows and steps had since been replaced, and the railings removed. In the late 1990s the house was divided from the shop, windows were added to the attic space to provide more rooms, and a bathroom was installed on the first floor. A small extension was also added to the north-west gable end of the house to provide a WC.


House dating to the late C17 or C18 with a C17 cross-wing that possibly originated as a purpose-built shop.

MATERIALS: brick laid in an indeterminate bond and painted white overall with pantile-clad roofs. The former cottage in the cross-wing contains the remnants of timber-framing.

PLAN: the building consists of a south-west facing house with a small late C20 extension on the north-west gable end, and a cross-wing facing south-east onto Wolterton Road. The cross wing consists of a shop and a former cottage in the north-west corner.

EXTERIOR: the house has two storeys and an attic divided into three bays under a steeply pitched roof with brick parapets at the gables. Red brick chimney stacks rise through both gable walls. The first floor is demarcated by a brick plat band. The centrally placed front door is of late C20 date and flanked by twelve-pane wooden casement windows. The first floor is lit in each bay by eight-pane casements and the attic by two flat-roofed dormers wholly within the roof space. All the windows are of late C20 date. On the right return (south-east gable end) there are five cross tie-plates and, in the gable head, two smaller, ornate tie-plates that form the initials TR for Thomas Robins. Against the left return (north-west gable end) is a single-storey projection, probably a former service room, the roof of which has been extended to form a log store as part of the late C20 renovations. A small extension on the gable end with a mono-pitch roof also dates to this period. The rear of the house is lit on the right hand side by a window on the ground and first floors. The rest of the elevation is taken up by the cross-wing.

The cross-wing has one storey and an attic under a steeply pitched roof which extends into a catslide on the rear (north-west) side with tumbled-in brickwork. The main south-east elevation is the shop front which has a projecting frontage. The central front door is reached via a flight of steps and is flanked by large plate glass windows which retain their external blind boxes. The door and windows are of mid-C20 date, as is the flat-roofed dormer in the attic. On the left-hand side of the left window is an inserted red post box. To the right of the projecting shop front is a plank and batten door under a segmental brick arch, followed by another large plate glass window which lights the tearoom. The right return (north-east gable end) is pierced in the gable head by a C20 window, above which are two tie-plates in the form of the initials TR. The rear (north-west) elevation of the cross-wing has, from the left, two small windows in wooden frames of probable C20 date, followed by a wide plank and batten door with long strap hinges which predates the C19, and another plank and batten door of usual width. The right-hand end of the cross-wing is the former cottage, possibly the oldest part of the building. It has a steeply pitched roof with a brick eaves cornice, and a parapet at the left gable end through which rises a tall red chimney stack. It is lit by a four-pane wooden casement which is followed by a plank door in a plain wooden frame, all of late C20 date. The roof is pierced by a sloping dormer.

INTERIOR: the plan of the house consists of a narrow central hall with a quarter turn stair at the end, with a room on each side on both floors and in the attic. Very few historic fixtures, fittings and items of joinery remain but the main structural ceiling timbers are intact, some of which bear carpenter’s marks. A spine beam spans the length of the house: it is boxed in in the hall but exposed in the flanking rooms, along with the ceiling joists. The spine beam is chamfered with lamb's tongue stops at both ends. In the south-east room (on the right) the south-east end of the beam is tenoned into a tie beam which also has lamb's tongue stops at the junction of the beams and at both ends. On the north-west wall in this room are two posts but this is the only exposed wall framing in the main house and may relate to the timber-framed cottage in the cross-wing which adjoins this part of the house. In both ground-floor rooms there are wide fireplace openings which have lintels of reused timber and log burners. Leading off from the south-west room is another room, now used as a utility, which retains two very roughly hewn cambered tie-beams. On the first floor there are exposed tie-beams at each end of the house and one between the two bays. At the intersection of the south-east tie-beam and spine-beam there are lamb's tongue chamfer stops on the spine-beam. In the south-east room the wide brick chimney breast has been altered to accommodate a small cast iron hobgrate with decorative front panels in a plain unpainted wooden surround. The chimney breast in the north-west room has also been altered to form a brick opening with reused timbers on either side. A dogleg stair in between the two rooms leads to the attic which has a principal rafter roof with cambered collar beams and two butt purlins which are chamfered where they are tenoned into the principal rafters.

The north-west corner of the cross-wing is occupied by the former timber-framed cottage, now used as a kitchen to the house. The south-west and south-east walls have square panel framing with brick infill, all painted white. A wide opening for a fireplace or range is now filled by an oven. The attic space, which has been converted into a bathroom, has a principal rafter roof with collar beams and butt purlins. It is very similar to the roof over the house so it may have been renewed when the house was built. The rest of the cross-wing is occupied by the shop and tearoom along the south-east side and a store in the rear lean-to on the north-west side. The lean-to retains a roughly hewn cambered tie-beam, painted white. A chamfered spine-beam spans the length of the shop and tearoom with three chamfered tie-beams with lamb's tongue stops in the same arrangement as those described in the house. The tea room is open to the roof and has a mezzanine. The exposed roof structure is of machine-sawn timbers of recent date. There is a cellar under the shop which has a brick-lined floor and a door with gauze panels. The chamfered tie-beam also has lamb's tongue stops which may indicate that it has been reused, as a decorative chamfer stop would not be used for a room that would not be seen.


Books and journals
Morrison, K, English Shops and Shopping An Architectural History, (2003)
Pevsner, N, Wilson, B, The Buildings of England: Norfolk: 1 Norwich and North-East, (2002)
Maggie Vaughan-Lewis, Itteringham Village Shop (Itteringham History, 2012)
Tithe Map of Mannington and Itteringham, 1839


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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