Pair of cottages, thought originally to have been a single house, dating from the C17. Refronted and converted to cottages, probably in the early C19. Both cottages were extended in the late C20.
Reasons for Designation
Numbers 1 and 2 Mill Pond Cottages, a C17 house converted to cottages in the early C19, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* as a lobby-entry timber-framed house of the C17, converted to two cottages and re-fronted in brick in the early C19, the development of the building remaining legible in its fabric;
* for the survival of features including chamfered beams and other elements of framing, the roof structure with carpenters’ marks, and the central stack.
* the conversion of the house to cottages, providing accommodation for agricultural labourers, contributes to its historic interest.
* with Malmains Cottage to the south-west, and with Malmains to the north-east.
The building now known as 1 and 2 Mill Pond Cottages is believed to have its origins in the later C17 as a timber-framed lobby-entry house (one in which the main entrance opens into a lobby in front of the stack). The building was refronted in brick and converted to two cottages, probably in the early C19.
The building appears on the Pluckley Tithe map of 1838, at which time the cottages, owned by Sir Edward Dering Cholmley of Surrenden House, were occupied by agricultural labourers. The cottages were sold in 1928 as part of the sale of the Surrenden Dering Estate, and were afterwards owned for a time by a local coal merchant’s firm.
In 1984 number 2 Mill Pond Cottages was extended to the west on the same plane and in matching materials; in 1991 number 1 was extended to the east in the same manner. The building has seen further alterations and additions, both internal and external, in subsequent years.
Pair of cottages, thought to have originated as a single house, dating from the C17. Refronted and converted to cottages, probably in the early C19. Both cottages were extended in the late C20.
PLAN: the cottages are set on a west/east axis, with number 1 to the east and number 2 to the west. The entrance is to the north. There is a single-storey rear lean-to, possibly part of the original construction, or an early addition. To either end of the building is a late-C20 extension. The early-C21 conservatory attached to the east end of number 1 is excluded from the listing.
MATERIALS: red brick, laid in Flemish bond. The original part of the building has a rubblestone plinth which originally supported a timber frame; elements of the frame survive within the building. The hipped roof is plain-tiled, and there is a brick stack. The windows are replacement timber casements.
EXTERIOR: the original building is of five bays, the central bay being composed of the double doorway, with a single window above. The stack rises from the centre of the building, above the entrance. The doorway was enlarged at the time of the refronting to accommodate two entrances, cutting into the stone plinth, with brick now framing the opening. The doorway retains its early-C19 form, with a timber hood on moulded brackets, but the frame and bracket to the western part (number 1) have been renewed. The hood is now covered with lead. The boarded door to number 2 with its simple iron furniture is probably original; the door to number 1 is a replacement (the furniture re-used). The ground-floor windows have cambered arches; the first-floor windows have flat arches, immediately below a dentil eaves-cornice. The windows to either side of the central bay are tripartite; those to the original outer bay are narrower, as is the one above the door. To the rear, the roof descends in a catslide over the outshut. There is evidence of alterations to the ground-floor windows in this part of the building, and to the two small dormer windows above. The eastern and western extensions each enlarge the building by one wide bay, with a window equivalent in size to the outer windows of the original building on the front elevation. Though the brickwork and tiled roof continue in the same manner as in the original building, the stone plinth is not continued. To the rear, each extension has a large tile-hung dormer.
INTERIOR: the original entrance lobby has a framed partition inserted to create separate lobbies serving the two cottages. In both cottages the ground-floor room is open, with a chamfered transverse beam. The joists are now exposed, but show evidence of lath and plaster. In the both cottages the brick of the stack is now exposed, with a sturdy timber bressumer across the opening. Evidence of blocked bread ovens survives within the chimney openings. The original position of the stair is not clear, but a likely position would have been in the outshut behind the stack. In number 2, the stair is now in a partition within the south-east corner of the main room; in number 1, the stair is in the eastern extension. In both parts of the building, the end wall has been removed at ground-floor level, linking the original space with the extension. The original framing is partially visible in the rear wall, with some timbers removed and others inserted to create new openings. The scantling (or timber size) is relatively slight, consistent with a later C17 date. At first-floor level, the plan has been considerably altered. At the front of the house, the space above the lobby belongs to number 2, with a corresponding space to the rear belonging to number 1 – an arrangement reflecting the conversion of the building. The original common rafter roof structure survives well overall, with collars and purlins; there has been some replacement of timber over number 1. The rafters are pegged at the apex, the trusses identified by carpenters’ marks. (Usually the pegs would be hammered through from the side with the carpenters’ marks, or ‘fair face’, but here they are the other way round.) Over number 1, fragments of lath and plaster remaining on the rafters at low level, and corresponding plaster to the brickwork of the stack, suggest that the ceiling below was raised at some stage. The roof structure has seen some alteration at the eastern and western ends, to accommodate the new roof over the additional bays.