House dating to the C17 with a late C17 or early C18 extension.
Reasons for Designation
The Old Post Office, a house dating to the C17 with a late C17 or early C18 extension, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* it is a good example of a vernacular dwelling dating to the C17, illustrating the building materials and practices used over three centuries ago;
* it retains a legible plan form with an unusual central service bay;
* a significant proportion of the original fabric survives, including the openings and substantial bressumers for two wide inglenooks, the roughly chamfered bridging or spine beams and joists in all the ground-floor rooms, and numerous doors dating to the late C17 or early C18.
* it has played a significant part in the history of Edwalton, serving as its first Post Office in the late C19 until the Second World War.
* it is prominently located on a corner of the main village street, diagonally opposite the Grade II* listed Church of the Holy Rood and its Grade II listed lychgate, with which it has strong group value.
Little is known about the early history of the Old Post Office but it appears to have originated in the C17 as a three-bay dwelling with a cross wing, possibly with a central service room plan. During this period, unheated service rooms were generally placed at one end of the house but in some instances this room was placed in the middle of the house between the two principal heated living rooms. It is not clear where the original entrance was located or whether the staircase between the second and third bay is in its original position. A two-storey extension was built at the rear on the west side of the crosswing. It is said that that the beams used for the ceiling came from the church at the nearby Flawforth, which was demolished in the 1770s. By this time however, plaster ceilings had more or less replaced exposed ceiling beams so it is likely that the extension dates to the late C17 or early C18. On the first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1884, the building is shown to be divided into two dwellings. One dwelling consisted of the first bay, the service room in the central bay, and the rear extension; and the other consisted of the third bay, the staircase in the central bay, and the cross wing. The staircase providing access to the first floor in the former dwelling has been removed. The map also shows a large outbuilding to the north-east.
In the mid-1860s, several years after the introduction of the Penny Post, a letter box was placed in the wall of the house to receive the mail for the residents of Edwalton. It was then the home of William Taylor, the parish Clerk, and his wife Ann. After their deaths in the 1880s, it passed to Tom Cook, a coal dealer, who became the first Sub Postmaster of Edwalton when the first village post office with the status of Country Sub Office was opened in 1891. In 1910 he was succeeded by his daughter Annie Cook who was Edwalton’s Postmistress for 30 years, still working from the house. It is thought that the first bay of the building was used as a post office. After the Second World War, the post office moved elsewhere in the village.
At some point before 1953 a fire broke out. Some of the burnt rafters were replaced and the thatch roof covering was replaced by clay tiles. In the second half of the C20, the front door and ground-floor WC were built; a wide bay window was inserted in the rear extension; and the east side of the crosswing was opened up and a lean-to extension added in order to create a larger kitchen. The house has been unoccupied since 2017 and is in a state of disrepair.
House dating to the C17 with a late C17 or early C18 extension.
MATERIALS: red brick laid in stretcher bond, rendered in roughcast on the front and gable ends, and painted white on the rear elevations. The roof is covered in pantiles, except for the rear extension which is covered in plain clay tiles; none of the tiles are original.
PLAN: the Old Post Office is situated on the corner of Village Street and Hallfields and faces south onto Village Street. It has an approximately rectangular plan consisting of a three-bay range with a rear crosswing at the east side. Adjoining the crosswing on the west side is a late C17/ early C18 extension and on the east side a small late C20 lean-to has been added.
EXTERIOR: the main range and crosswing has one storey and an attic under steeply pitched roofs with kneelered, brick-coped parapets at the gable ends and between the first and second bay. Square brick chimney stacks rise through the ridge between the second and third bay of the main range and at the west (left) gable end, and through the gable end of the crosswing. The rear extension also has one storey and an attic under a pitched roof with an external square chimney breast at the west gable end. The fenestration consists of casement windows of various sizes with wooden glazing bars, mostly of late C19 or early C20 date.
The south elevation, which faces onto Village Street, has irregular fenestration. The first bay is lit by a three-light window on the ground floor; the second bay by a two-light window on the ground floor and three-light window above; and the third by a large three-light window. A brick wall, rendered in roughcast, extends from the east (right) side for c4m. The west gable end is lit by a small two-light window and a three-light window above. The east gable end has a projecting three-light window under a tile-clad pentice roof, and a two-light window above.
To the right of the east gable end is the late C20 single-storey, lean-to extension which adjoins the east side of the crosswing. The crosswing is lit by a square-headed dormer positioned across the eaves. The gable end is blind, and the west side has a small window which lights the inglenook. The rest of the west side is obscured by the late C17/ early C18 extension. This has a multi-pane glass door on the left, followed by a wide six-light bow window of six lights; and two windows above, all of C20 date. Against the west gable end is a single-storey lean-to with a bricked up doorway. On the west side a C20 vertical plank door has been inserted.
INTERIOR: this is arranged as three bays along the main southern range with a rear single-bay cross wing, and a late C17/ early C18 extension on the west side of the crosswing. The ceiling structures in all five of the ground floor rooms are intact and consist of substantial spine or bridging beams with shallow, roughly hewn chamfers, and more slender joists, typical of the C17. Numerous doors of probable C17 date also survive. In the first bay, a small glazed opening on the north wall into the rear extension is thought to be a remnant from the building’s use as a post office. In the central bay, the floor of the corridor is laid in C19 red and black quarry tiles. The two-plank and batten door to the service room, which has strap hinges on pintles and ventilation holes along the bottom, is likely to be C17. The service room itself has a shallow arched brick bench on the south side, and a solid brick bench on the east side. It opens on the east side into a small room under the stairs which has an exposed reed and daub ceiling. In the third bay the chamfered bridging beam has simple moulded stops. The bressumer of the inglenook at the west end has been truncated at one end and is supported by a square post. A brick hearth of much later date has been inserted beneath a timber hood supported on brackets with an ovolo and roll moulding. The inglenook in the crosswing has a substantial bressumer, and an aga has been inserted in the opening. In the extension, the bridging beams have mortices on the underside, indicating that they have been reused from another building. The plank and batten door has wide planks, a lock case, latch, and spearhead strap hinges which were common from C16 to the mid-C18. The pintles to the outside door survive, although the door itself has been replaced. In the north-west corner is a small ornate cast-iron fireplace decorated with a sunflower motif, suggesting a late C19 date.
The closed well staircase is between the central and third bay and leads up to the landing in the central bay. It is possibly in its original location but the stairs themselves are not original. The first bay in the attic has a plank and batten door with long delicate strap hinges, a lock case and latch, of probable C17 date. The chimney breast has a tiled fireplace of interwar date. In the cross wing the chimney breast projects from the north wall but the fireplace has been boarded up.
The wall plates are partially exposed, as are the roughly hewn purlins, above which the roof is ceiled over. In the cross wing the purlins have been painted black to cover the smoke damage, and a small area in one purlin has been strengthened by concrete infill. In the third bay, a small section of plaster has been removed from the ceiling revealing that some of the rafters have been replaced, probably after the fire. It is thought that the trusses were not replaced.